DeKalb Schools: Teacher on leave after ‘80s New York rape allegations

Photo courtesy of DeKalb County Schools

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Photo courtesy of DeKalb County Schools

A teacher was removed from the classroom this week after allegations surfaced that he raped a student in New York in the 1980s, DeKalb County School District officials said Thursday.

Stone Mountain High School teacher Rodney Alejandro was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.

“DCSD has been made aware of an allegation of misconduct against an employee at Stone Mountain High School that was made decades ago out-of-state, before the employee joined the district,” a district statement said Thursday. “The employee is certified to teach in Georgia and has passed the necessary criminal background checks to do so. As this is a personnel matter, the district has no further information to share at this point.”

Alejandro has taught at the DeKalb County School District since September 2013. He previously taught at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Alpharetta.

Alejandro faces punishment up to and including termination. District officials would have to report the teacher to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission if they were to fire him based on the rape allegations.

A New York Post article from 2016 detailed the allegations brought by a former student, who said the abuse started in 1988 when Alejandro was a biology teacher at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, N.Y., and lasted more than a year. The woman reportedly told another former student she became pregnant twice, but was forced by Alejandro to have abortions both times.

Efforts to reach the victim were not successful. Her name is being withheld because she is an alleged sexual assault victim.

Superintendent Steve Green has said efforts are being made to improve the district's hiring process after several instances where checks and balances faltered.

One teacher was forced to resign last fall after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution informed district officials that an Ohio school district had fired her for allegedly assaulting students. The district also had rehired a French teacher forced to retire in lieu of termination in 2016 after students of color said she made disparaging comments on immigration after Donald Trump was elected president. Both teachers deny the allegations that led to their initial dismissals.

District officials said principals are expected to review a candidate's employment history, certifications and references, as well as performing an internet search on candidates. Once the candidate is recommended to human resources, the hiring manager also is supposed to complete an internet search.