Ferguson-Florissant School District puts teacher on leave over abuse allegations in Hazelwood

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A former teacher’s assistant in the Hazelwood School District charged with sexually abusing a young boy has now been suspended from his current job in the Ferguson-Florissant School District.

Deonte Taylor, 35, was arrested and charged Wednesday with three counts of statutory sodomy.

The alleged incident happened in November 2015 when Taylor was a teacher’s assistant at Lusher Elementary School in the Hazelwood School District.

Investigators said Taylor allegedly took the 7-year-old child from his classroom to another classroom, where he sexually assaulted the boy. Taylor’s DNA was allegedly found on the child.

Kevin Hampton, a spokesman for the Ferguson-Florissant School District, said Taylor was in his second year of teaching at Walnut Grove Elementary in Calverton Park. He was teaching about 25 kids in fifth grade this year.

But Hampton said Taylor was suspended with pay when district officials learned about the charges against him.

Hampton said there is no indication that any kind of wrongdoing has happened at Walnut Grove.

But as a precaution, the school notified all parents of what was taking place with Taylor. Administrators then personally reached out to the parents of the kids in Taylor’s class.

Hampton said the district conducts background checks during the hiring process and that Taylor’s criminal and child abuse/neglect background check came back clear with no indication of prior criminal history. Since these charges just came up, they wouldn’t have appeared on the check conducted before Taylor was hired for the last school year.

The district would not knowingly hire a potential employee who had a record of or had committed crimes against children, Hampton said.

Hampton also said parents are being asked to report any concerns to the Children’s Advocacy Center.