School Teacher Loses License Over Internet Porn

School Teacher Loses License Over Internet Porn
Tod Hunter
PERU, N.Y. — A primary school teacher caught viewing porn on classroom computers has had his teaching license revoked by the New York State Education Department.

Second-grade teacher Luther Stephney — who has been on paid administrative leave with the school district — said that no children were present when he viewed the pornography.

School officials began an investigation in March 2004 after software revealed Stephney had viewed porn sites while at school. After being caught, Stephney admitted viewing the sites two or three times, but an examination of his classroom computers revealed that in one month he viewed porn six times on all three computers. He viewed the sites for 50 minutes once and 54 minutes another time.

Stephney stressed that he made sure his second-grade students were at lunch, in art and music classes or dismissed for the day when he viewed the sites.

The school board suspended him with pay and began seeking his dismissal, preferring administrative charges including insubordination; neglect of duties; searching for and viewing inappropriate, immoral and obscene images on the Internet; and violating the district's Internet policy.

Stephney has said he understood there must be consequences for his actions, but he felt revoking his license would be too harsh a punishment.

Stephney did not return a message left on his home phone by reporters seeking comment Monday.