In November of 2016, yours truly wrote this, for another publication, about a former Marysville, Kansas public school teacher who moved to the Wichita area and got arrested in Butler County, Kansas for sexual abuse of a child.
"A brilliant special education teacher and basketball coach by the name of Mike Melcher has been arrested in Butler County, Kansas for the electronic solicitation of a child under the age of fourteen, and for inappropriate physical contact with a child under the age of fourteen. Mr. Melcher was a special education teacher and basketball coach in Marysville, Kansas, from 2008 to 2014. His first appearance in court was November 28.
This is not the first time Kansas has run into problems through the lack of background checks for teachers. Since 2002, Kansas has required criminal background checks for teachers, but any teacher who was hired before 2002 is not required to undergo a background check. This effectively "grandfathers" any and all teachers with criminal records who were hired before 2002. According to KSN, a teacher named Mike Burgan in St. Johns, Kansas, who taught for USD 350, was found to have a criminal record for indecent solicitation of a child, dating back to 1988. It was determined that Mr. Burgan had lied, numerous times, to the school board and the Kansas Department of Education. Can anyone see how easy it is to teach in public schools in Kansas with a criminal record?
The other problem which afflicts Kansas is cronyism and cover-up. How many child predators have enjoyed lengthy criminal careers because others have failed to report crime? The fallout from Mr. Melcher's arrest and subsequent court dates will hopefully yield more information concerning background check procedures for the El Dorado School District and the Marysville School District."
There is now an update. Mike Melcher entered a guilty plea. He will be sentenced in May. While he has been on leave from his teaching position, he was still listed, on Monday, March 6, as an employee of the El Dorado school system. Hopefully, there will be no efforts among school boards in the state of Kansas to rehire him, because he has lived in Kansas all his life and has a lot of friends in Kansas.