March 21, 1998 in City

Deer Park Suspends Wrestling Coach X-Rated Card, Nude Picture Found In Files; Pittz Nearly Lost Certificate In 1992

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A Deer Park wrestling coach says he has been suspended because someone looking in his files found an X-rated greeting card and a slide of a nude student teacher.

Superintendent Glenys Hill refused to say why Monte Pittz was suspended but said he’s been on paid leave since Feb. 23.

Pittz nearly lost his teaching certificate in 1992 after students said he made sexual advances and gave them alcohol.

Pittz, who has coached and taught in Deer Park schools for 25 years, said he was surprised with the most recent suspension after returning home from a state wrestling tournament.

While he was gone, Pittz said, someone shuffled through his files and found a novelty card with a naked man on the front - a gift a female friend bought at an “X-rated store.”

“I did not take it home. I put it in a file and forgot about it,” said Pittz, 48, now a teacher at Deer Park Alternative School.

Also uncovered was a photo slide given to him by another woman when she was a student teacher at the school 17 years ago, Pittz said.

“I tossed it in that file,” he said. “I don’t even remember her name. I was shocked. She was married. I was married.”

School officials also kept another card he received from a former female student - “just a positive card to me,” Pittz said.

Pittz called last month’s suspension “ridiculous” and said he expects school officials to invite him back soon.

“There’s no pictures of kids,” he said. “They were all adults - 32, 33 years old at the time.”

Hill refused to comment on details of the district’s investigation. “We’re taking it very seriously,” she said. “We want a very complete, thorough investigation.”

In 1992, the state Office of Professional Practices, a division of the state education office, moved to revoke Pittz’ teaching certificate.

According to the proposed order of revocation, Pittz made sexual advances to students under his supervision and supplied alcohol to minor students.

Allegations against Pittz first surfaced when student Michelle Bratton successfully sued former teacher Trey Calkins for seducing her. Bratton also sued the school district for allowing it to happen.

In court sessions, six former teachers and coaches were accused of everything from making suggestive statements to sleeping with students.

Students testified Pittz bought alcoholic beverages for female students during a ski trip to Montana. A substitute teacher testified Pittz raised another student’s skirt and pinched her thigh.

In February 1992, Pittz won an appeal of the revocation proposed by the Office of Professional Practices.

During the appeal, the student who was allegedly pinched said it never happened.

Of six Deer Park teachers investigated by the state after the Calkins trial, only one had his license revoked.

At the time, Pittz said he was “a scapegoat for a district that received a negative court judgment.”

, DataTimes

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