Va. woman indicted on heroin charges gets new job teaching first grade

Posted at 12:40 PM, Dec 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-16 12:40:20-05

FRANKLIN, Va.  -- Parents at S.P. Morton Elementary school said school leaders should have done their homework, after hiring a woman following her arrest for distributing heroin.

Thirty-six-year-old Elizabeth Ferguson was indicted on two felony charges of Distribution of Heroin on Sept. 22, according to court documents.

Then just one week later, on Sept. 29, Ferguson was hired as a first grade teacher with Franklin City Schools.

"I`m mad," said grandmother Ernestine Manley. "Nobody ever told me as a grandparent that this actually happened."

Franklin City Schools spokesperson Kelvin Edwards said parents didn't know because school officials themselves had no idea.

"Did we know about her charges? The answer is no, we did not," he said.

That's because Edwards said in Ferguson's case, she was hired with a background check pending. Meaning she was teaching before her results came in.

"It should have never happened. You are careful with the system, why did the system fail that time?" Manley added.

Ferguson's mother answered the door and said she believes her daughter was innocent and that Ferguson didn't know there were even charges against her when she applied as a teacher. Ferguson was suspended with pay until Monday morning, which is when she officially resigned.

Edwards said her resignation was immediately accepted.

Parents tell WTKR she should have never been hired in the first place.

"It's very scary," said upset mom Lamanesia Boone.

Edwards said he wouldn't be surprised if changes in school policy begin at the next school board meeting.

"It's something we definitely need to look at," Edwards said. "We can always look at revising policy because there is always an opportunity for improvement."

Ferguson is expected to be back in Suffolk Circuit Court in January.