Gloucester Twp. Special Education Teacher To Start 1-Year Suspension This Week

Nelson Evans Jr. was accused of improperly coaching students and rewording questions during a state achievement test.

Gloucester Township School Administration Building
Gloucester Township School Administration Building
A Gloucester Township special education teacher is scheduled to start a one-year suspension this week after a ruling from the state Department of Education.

The department's state board of examiners ruled that Nelson Evans Jr. should be suspended on Jan. 1 after determining there was a "preponderance of the credible evidence" that he improperly coached students and reworded some questions during a New Jersey ASK achievement test.

The state board of examiners originally reviewed the case in Sept. 2011. After more than two years of appeals and a ruling from an administrative law judge, a final decision was agreed upon this month.

"The board voted to adopt the initial decision and suspend Nelson Evans Jr.’s Teacher of the Handicapped certificate for a period of one year," according to the final state decision dated Dec. 6

The administrative law judge, Lisa James-Beavers, said Evans had "violated the test security agreement by interfering with the independent work of students and that this breach constituted conduct unbecoming a teacher. That interference undermined the integrity of the test, to the extent that Evans’ students had their scores discarded." 

Evans argued that he had administered the NJ ASK for two consecutive years after the test breach before he was told the state was bringing charges against him. He told investigators he would not be able to return to the classroom until the 2014-2015 school year, with "no guarantee to return back to my district at that point," according to a the state board of examiners ruling.

Seven of 11 township schools did not meet state achievement standards in results released this year.

Mattie December 30, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Maybe, just maybe this "special education" teacher knows best how to get "special education" students to understand certain questions on this test?? Did his rewording REALLY change the question or the answer the students needed to get to? Maybe the problem was with the question(s) in their original form on the test? Is it fair to stick to such inflexible rules when it comes to special education students and testing? There is a HUGE range of special needs and comprehension being dealt with here... This punishment (one year suspension) is extremely harsh, IMO.
Gina Sinisi December 30, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Mattie, I totally agree with you.
Chris L December 30, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Here is my question. Why would they start his suspension now and not in september? tax reasons? wouldnt it make sense to start it in the new year that way his students wont be missing out on a teacher (or getting a new teacher back if he comes back)? No no no, forget the students, lets just make this work for political reasons
Melissa Gregg December 30, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Makes me feel so much better about not putting my 4 year old with a form of autism in school yet. I know I can't hold off forever but he needs consistency and a special person to teach him and I am not sure what he needs exists. School boards (I feel) are not looking out for the best interests of special needs kids. We need to rephrase everything we say to him so he will somewhat understand.
Kristi Simpkins December 30, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Whether his intentions were good that is all irrelevant to his improper & inexcusable actions. He is a teacher & is supposed to conduct himself as one. Therefore he or anyone else can't change the wording on any test. Because they feel &/or believe the test is not fairly worded. He cheated. That's wrong. More importantly he cheated his students. If the tests given are in fact not "fair", then he should have gone through the proper channels to see what could have been done to make them fair. People however can't resort to cheating & do what he did. What does that do? What is the lesson being taught by his actions? Of course rules can be changed. So too can tests. However people especially teachers need to do things the right way first & foremost. This man is really lucky that he's only been suspended. I'm actually very surprised that he wasn't fired because of his inappropriate behavior.
Beachie December 30, 2013 at 03:22 PM
if theses kids are special ed then they should be getting different tests. my daughter is SE in HS and they put her into a separate room and make it so she can can the test according to her IEP
Mattie December 30, 2013 at 04:58 PM
I agree Beachie... if the range of abilities is so varied in any single special ed class (and believe me, they usually are), why are they using such rigid and inflexible tests that can't be adjusted according to levels of comprehension, etc? Another question to ask; if these kids are more than just slightly "developmentally disabled" (the most PC word I can think of right now), why is this testing so *important* anyhow? Seriously- Whats the point?
Jenny cartenale December 30, 2013 at 07:02 PM
It isn't stated what type of special ed students they are. They could be developmentally, emotionally, or behaviorally disabled. No matter what type, he was wrong in doing what he did. No excuses.
Bea Coyle December 30, 2013 at 08:52 PM
From what Teachers and Parents who knew him are saying it seems He was just not a good fit for Special Needs Children for MANY reason. It is rumored that they tried for a number of years to dismiss him from this classroom. However, that is just not easy to do and it seems this issue with the test was a means to an end that the School felt was in the best interest of the children. Sometimes there is a lot more to a story than what is reported.
Schu January 01, 2014 at 11:49 AM
I spoke with my niece and nephew last night, they remember this joke as rude, on his cell phone, let the BD kids play xbox, he is not a good teacher. There is a lot more to this story we've just heard the tip of how awful of a teacher is but our GT administrators have kept him in the classroom.
Bea Coyle January 01, 2014 at 06:00 PM
It was over a year ago when I heard from some Parents concerns about how he needed to be removed because of how he interacted with the Special Needs Children in his room,how he was not handling problems and issues well. It had nothing to do with test scores. I know the Principal and higher ups were aware but nothing was ever done.You would think that with all the money the Administration pays Wade,Kennedy& Long they could have helped find some legal means to remove him.
Schu January 04, 2014 at 06:12 PM
Knowing how GT operates, my guess is he'll be suspended for one year then in 2015 he'll be back to work doing as little as possible collecting a nice big taxpayer funded check.


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