LEE COUNTY, Fla - Students at Gateway Charter School in Fort Myers say they were shocked when a teacher was cited for locking a puppy in the trunk of a hot car.
After that allegation, WINK News dug into Matthew Emans' past and we found more to the story. Emans was a teacher in Collier County, but he did not stay there long.
We got a hole of his personnel file, which reveals allegations of racist jokes and even a racy video.
A spokesperson for Gateway Charter School says it is not standard practice to look at a prospective employees file from a previous job. In fact, the only red flags that would come up during the hiring process would have been a criminal background or if his license had been revoked.
Emans admitted to shooting a Harlem Shake video inside his classroom at Gulf Coast High School in February. It was made just three weeks before Matthew Emans resigned from the district.
The principal reprimanded Emans for his involvement. A letter in Emans file said, "you allowed students to produce this video during school hours, in your classroom during lunch and you were the cameraman." The letter says the video is, "depicting a student of CGHS in pink girls' underwear with a bare chest and lower body, doing a suggestive move."
It was the second time the Collier County teacher was written up in three months. The first time was in December 2012. Another letter of reprimand said, "you made several anti-semitic comments towards a student and his religion. numerous students reported you made inappropriate remarks such as:
-Judaism is stupid
- Shut up ugly
-Calling students "gay"
-You once made a Nazi sign towards "blank" when he left the classroom.
We spoke to a former Gateway High School teacher who worked with Emans. He says Emans was a nice guy who kept to himself, but had this to say about the charter schools hiring process. "They don't really care. They just want a teacher in there."
We asked Gateway Charter School how Matthew Emans ended up in another classroom. "We don't have access to any employees personnel file prior to them working for us, it's just not available," says Colleen Reynolds, a spokesperson for Gateway High School.
She says the school checks references, certification, and does background and fingerprint checks, the same as public schools, but because of employment laws, the schools hands are tied particularly when it comes to details in a personnel file.
"Charter Schools USA hired about 5,200 people last year and it's not common practice to ask for a personnel file," say Reynolds. "If you ask for references, they can tell you when the person started and when the person finished. They don't go into anything else because of employment laws."
Gateway Charter would not tell us if Emans is still employed. We can tell you though, Emans was not fired for either instance at Gulf Coast High School. He resigned shortly after the Harlem Shake video.
After both instances Emans was ordered to review the code of ethics, complete an online training course and in the case of the anti-semitic comments, he was ordered to read "Night" by Elie Wiesel.
We asked the school district about its disciplinary practices and all anyone would say is disciplinary action is determined on a case by case basis.