The S.C. Board of Education recently suspended a Lady's Island Middle School teacher's educator certificate based on the teacher's admission of "inappropriate advances towards [SIC] a female colleague," according to an April 10 disciplinary action report filed by the agency.
Lady's Island Middle School gym teacher and athletic director Donald Martz admitted to attempting to kiss a co-worker and making sexually suggestive comments to her and other female staff members, the state education department's order said.
On Nov. 3, at a football game, Martz grabbed a female teacher's arm and tried to kiss her, according to the order. The female teacher said she "clearly told Mr. Martz 'NO!'" and notified school administrators Nov. 6. District officials placed Martz on leave Nov. 9, the report said.
According to the report, the district's internal investigation uncovered other instances of harassment:
- The same female teacher described Martz's attempt to kiss her in a school gym storage area in July.
- The teacher also said Martz made comments to her about her "weight loss and her attractive appearance."
- Martz made inappropriate comments, some sexually suggestive, toward other female staff members.
Martz has more than 20 years of teaching experience. He resigned from the district Jan. 1, the report said.
The certificate's suspension lasts for one calendar year. Before his educator's certificate can be reinstated, Martz is required to complete state-approved "professional boundaries in the workplace" training, according to the report.
Beaufort County School District lacks a written policy on hiring back employees whose certificates were suspended and then reinstated.
"We consider each applicant individually, and the hiring process is the same for every prospective teacher," district spokesman Jim Foster wrote in an email. "... If an applicant’s teaching certificate has been suspended by the state for some reason, we certainly would explore the reasons for that suspension and take those into consideration."
Reached Wednesday, Martz said he had no plans to return to education and that he wants to move on with his life.
Kelly Meyerhofer: 843-706-8136, @KellyMeyerhofer