Maryland Inspector General Uncovers Flaws in Teacher Vetting Process

A recent investigation by Maryland’s Inspector General has revealed significant gaps in the state’s teacher vetting system. The probe centered on Mark Planamente, a former Baltimore County teacher now serving a five-year prison sentence for child sexual abuse.

The investigation questioned how Planamente was hired by two schools after allegations of misconduct arose at his previous job. Maryland law requires former employers to disclose if a teacher was disciplined or asked to resign due to child sexual abuse or misconduct allegations.

In Planamente’s case, Baltimore County School District checked ‘no’ on this question, later claiming the allegations “did not constitute sexual advances nor were they sexually explicit.” This was despite Planamente allegedly messaging female students inappropriately.

Planamente subsequently worked at Catholic High School and Sister’s Academy before pleading guilty to child sexual abuse in 2023.

Dr. Tekemia Dorsey, a former educator and current consultant, expressed concern about the oversight, stating, “What we’ve seen is people are willing to overlook things and check ‘no’.”

The Inspector General is now recommending changes to the state’s school administration to improve the identification of problematic educators. This case highlights the critical importance of thorough background checks and honest reporting in the education system to protect students’ safety.