The two candidates for governor who were the subject of last evening’s post, Republican Ray McBerry and Democrat Carl Camon, have responded today – each in his own way.
According to state records, two candidates for governor — one Republican and one Democrat, both trained as high school educators — have had their teaching certificates suspended for misconduct involving female students.
Camon, the mayor of Ray City near Valdosta, attached a comment to the post that included this:
I was accused of making inappropriate comments to students, but not one ounce of evidence in my case has been proven. Twenty-five or more fellow teachers, in which I have worked with at the same school, in the same classrooms, in the past, wrote statements supporting my innocency, including all teachers in which I shared a collaborative classroom (at no time was I ever alone with any of the students who made these false accusations; another teacher was always in the classroom with me).
…..The Professional Standards Commission has a history of not telling the “whole story”. Even the worst prepared attorney in our state could take my case and win, if they had all the evidence. I wrote letters to the Governor about my case and to the Attorney General, regarding laws that were broken, and I was ignored.
The McBerry campaign this after noon e-mailed a five-paragraph statement, which can be viewed in full here. Here’s the meat:
Ultimately, the teenager’s stepfather made accusations against Ray for counseling his stepdaughter without his “authorization” and sought to have Ray’s teaching certificate revoked and legal charges brought against him for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” (a much less substantial charge than what had originally been implied). Upon hearing the accusations and all of the testimony against Ray, the local magistrate did not even wait for Ray to take the stand in his own defense before ruling that no evidence had even been given that a crime was ever committed; and the magistrate refused to even allow charges to be brought in the case.
In the attempt to have Ray’s teaching certificate revoked, again, the stepfather was unsuccessful because he was unable to persuade anyone in the investigation that his allegations and inuendo had any basis in fact. After nearly a year and a half of Ray refusing to sign a statement admitting any such behavior, the state ethics commission suspended his teaching certificate for one week when school session was out in the middle of July for the stated reason above and nothing else.
In trying to help the student who seems to have become attached and emotionally dependent upon Ray at the time, and then having to deal with a stepfather whose motives Ray had questioned, it seems that the old adage “No good deed goes unpunished” is founded once again. Today, Ray still possesses a valid teaching certificate in the state of Georgia which can be renewed at any time of his choosing. He has owned his own successful business in radio and television now for nearly seven years and enjoys the benefits of leisure time and much higher pay than he did as a teacher. When asked about his view on what happened nearly eight years ago, Ray commented, “It was unfortunate, at the time, that it happened. I did not understand how someone asked to help could become the target, himself, of suspicion. However, today I see that the Providence of God used the incident to open new doors of opportunity for myself and my family which have made my life much more enjoyable than it was when I was teaching and barely able to provide for my family. As a former educator, I understand and greatly respect, personally, the sacrifices that our teachers make, particularly in receiving such low pay and assuming such great risks all for the purpose of helping young people.”
The e-mail was followed by a phone call from McBerry. But the candidate declined to answer questions about matters not addressed in his press release – such as his reasons for resigning his teaching post at Patrick Henry High School in Stockbridge in January 2003, less than a month after the girl’s mother filed a complaint.
McBerry’s press release also does not address the female student’s statement to investigators that her relationship to McBerry had progressed to a physical one. Read the case summary by clicking here.
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