NJ calls teacher a ‘failure’ for smoking weed, touting God, showing nude video
HAMILTON (Mercer) — A teacher who resigned his position after facing tenure charges for inappropriate conduct in the classroom has had his teaching certificates suspended by the State Board of Examiners.
Joseph T. Mahon, who had been employed as a middle school social studies teacher in the district, resigned in December 2014 after tenure charges were drawn up for "a lengthy history of poor performance and unsatisfactory evaluations," according to the state. Multiple media reports identified Mahon as a teacher at Crockett Middle School.
As part of the case against Mahon, it was also noted that he had been placed on administrative leave "numerous times," including once for tested positive for marijuana.
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In addition to a variety of issues with filing and executing lesson plans, the district also said Mahon had been reprimanded for using a cell phone in front of students, and said that he "repeatedly" made inappropriate comments about different races, religions, and sexual orientation, among other topics. According to the district, Mahon had also shown a video with nudity and explicit language to students.
Comments Mahon made included that "everyone should be a Christian and believe in God," according to the board, and naming a family in the district he said he hated.
In response to the charges, Mahon said he had received observations of "above satisfactory without a single reprimand" before Principal Roger Bigos arrived at the school. Mahon also claimed that Bigos said he would "get me with tenure charges."
As for the drug test, Mahon said he had tested positive for marijuana in 2012 but had followed a course of random drug testing with all results coming back negative. He also said after being written up for using his cell phone in class he stopped doing that.
Mahon also contested the assertion that he had made inappropriate comments about religion, adding that he had taught about the topic for a decade "without being accused of something so ridiculous until my last year." The board said he also provided statements from former students on his character and approach in the classroom.
"In this matter, Mahon engaged in a myriad of behaviors that evidence his failure as a role model, including, but not limited to, using derogatory language about various religions and homosexuality and testing positive for a controlled dangerous substance," the board said in its June 15 decision. "However, given his prior positive record in the district the Board therefore concludes that the appropriate response to Mahon's breach is a two year suspension of his certificates."
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