Local News


Questions surround Henderson teacher's past in Michigan

Posted at 11:42 PM, Mar 15, 2019

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Michigan school says a Henderson man arrested on child pornography charges Monday had previously been relieved of his duties as principal after an investigation into concerns about a relationship with a student.

A letter from the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent said the move was made out of an abundance of caution even though an investigation "did not find evidence to charge Mr. Russell criminally."

James Russell was hired by the Clark County School District as a teacher for the current school year and assigned to Sandy Miller Elementary.

Henderson police say Russell had more than 50 images of a nude child in poses officers identified as child pornography. That child later identified as his son.

Advocates raising concerns about how he got through the hiring process.

"This is about keeping predators away from children, about preventing the abuse of children in the first place," S.E.S.A.M.E. President Terri Miller said.

S.E.S.A.M.E (Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation), works to prevent teachers accused of sexual misconduct from slipping through the cracks.

Her group is working to pass the S.E.S.A.M.E. Act across the country to make sure schools get accurate background information.

That law passed in Nevada two years ago.

"The S.E.S.A.M.E. Act mandates a thorough employment review," Miller said.

The law requires applicants to disclose any investigations, resignations or firings for sexual misconduct.

Those requirements apparently not flagging Russell's investigation acknowledged by the Michigan school Thursday afternoon, three days after his arrest in Henderson.

"There is a lot of questions that still need to be answered on who CCSD communicated with and what kind of information they garnered from the previous employers," Miller said.

In a statement CCSD saying, "We obtained references from this employee's previous employers, and no concerns were reported on the reference forms or the disclosure release regarding the employee's previous interactions with students."

Miller said there needs to be more research needs to be done on why Russell's previous investigation was not disclosed.

She said any parents have issues with their students teachers can reach out toS.E.S.A.M.E.