The Coach's Record

David Fess Walker, a physical education teacher at Parkway Middle School, joined Dade County Public Schools in 1984 as a gym teacher at Charles R. Drew Middle School. A year later the district learned that, in 1983, while an employee of the Fulton County school system in Atlanta, Walker had been arraigned on charges of child molestation, child abuse, and drug possession.

Those charges were dropped. But more would follow. In fact they were the first of a slew of scars on Walker's record, both within the school system and outside of it. A spin through Walker's district personnel file reveals:

*March 9, 1985, he was arrested for involuntary sexual battery by Metro-Dade County Police. Charges were dropped and the record was later sealed.

*June 13, 1985, a student accused Walker of pushing him into lockers, bruising his back and elbow. A school police investigation substantiated the allegation; Walker was given a written reprimand.

*November 13, 1985, he was arrested for aggravated assault by Metro. Again charges were dropped and the record sealed. The district held a "conference for the record" (an official disciplinary hearing) about the arrest.

*May 9, 1990, his then-wife Dawn Boyd Walker, also a teacher, accused him of harassing her by ramming her car with his and threatening her life. She later dropped the charges. The district held another conference for the record and forwarded information about this case, and Walker's previous cases, to the Florida Department of Education (DOE).

*May 23, 1991, the DOE filed an administrative complaint against Walker, citing the above cases as examples of "gross immorality or an act involving moral turpitude," and asked a state commission to impose an "appropriate penalty" upon Walker. That could be anything from a reprimand or a fine to a permanent revocation of his teaching certificate.

On March 9, 1992, the DOE withdrew the complaint.
*On three occasions in 1992 Metro police wrote reports on incidents between Walker and his ex-wife Sharon Walker, two involving alleged phone threats made by Walker. No charges were filed. On October 6 the principal at Poinciana Park Elementary, where Sharon Walker taught, reported to school police that David Walker "allegedly threatened to kill the victim [Sharon Walker]. [He] told the victim that he was going to go to the school and kill her." An internal investigation found these allegations unsubstantiated. Despite holding another conference for the record, the district took no action against David Walker.

*On November 6, 1993, Metro police arrested Walker for disorderly conduct. The case was closed March 10; the court withheld adjudication and fined Walker $105. The district reported the arrest to the DOE, but otherwise took no other action.

*On December 19, 1994, Walker was accused of pushing a student at Charles R. Drew Middle School to the ground. A school police investigation found the allegation to be substantiated. Walker was given a verbal warning.

*On January 19, 1999, Walker was accused of sexually harassing a student at Parkway Middle School. School police found the allegation to be unsubstantiated. Walker was assigned to the Region 2 office during the investigation, but returned to school on March 29 when he was cleared. "He's in good standing, 100 percent," Henry Fraind, deputy superintendent of schools says.

-- Ted B. Kissell


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