WHITLEY CITY, Ky. (WKYT/WYMT) - Joyce Kidd has lived in McCreary County her whole life. She was a school board member in the county for eleven years. Her term ended a few years ago, but her interest in school news remained high because her two granddaughters attend the high school. "We're trying to protect our children and grandchildren," Kidd said.
Word spread quickly through the district that a new teacher was in town. Brent Sexton teaches English at McCreary Central High School. In 2008, while Sexton was teaching in neighboring Wayne County, the school district claims they found inappropriate text messages exchanged between Sexton and a student at Wayne County High School while he was teaching there.
WKYT obtained documents from the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board where the Wayne County superintendent said text messages were sent to a student from Sexton that said, "Do not be upset. If you are upset, cry on my shoulders." And "The future Mrs. Sexton must be strong." The documents also alleged Sexton and the student met on two separate occasions at night at a Wayne County nursing home. Sexton resigned amid the allegations and his teaching certificate was suspended from 2008 to 2010. Now, he's back in the classroom, in McCreary County.
A parent, who didn't want her identity known, said she doesn't understand why Sexton would even apply for a teaching job in the same area. "Wayne County is not another world. People here have family there. They travel to Wayne County a lot. We are going to to find out. This is a pretty well-investigative community when it comes to our kids," she said.
The parents WKYT spoke to are now going to the McCreary County school system demanding answers. "My hope is that somehow it has slipped through the system. I was hoping that no one would hire him knowing this," a parent said.
WKYT obtained a copy of Sexton's teaching certification. At the bottom, under disciplinary actions, in bold print, it said 'suspended'.
Kidd went to the first school board meeting of the year last Thursday looking for answers. "I said I do have one question, Mr. Wright, were you aware of this gentleman's background? And he said, 'No, no I wasn't,'" Kidd said. We asked for a video copy of that board meeting. Administrators told us there were technical difficulties at the beginning of the video, therefore, they were not able to record Kidd's question. WKYT made multiple attempts to reach McCreary County's Superintendent Arthur Donnie Wright by phone to find out if he knew about Sexton's alleged activity, however, he never returned our calls.
Sexton was never charged with a crime during the 2008 allegations. In his agreed order with the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, Sexton maintained his innocence but acknowledged that the evidence regarding the reported charges could result in penalties to his teaching certification. We reached out to Sexton through the high school, he did not return our call.