A teacher acquitted last month in a case involving inappropriate contact with a student has been allowed to start teaching again.
According to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Johnny Gray Watson’s teaching credential has been cleared after having been placed on suspension last year after Watson was arrested for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to a student.
However, the Kern High School District said Watson is still on unpaid administrative leave and has not yet been allowed to return to work as a teacher at the Regional Occupational Center.
“The Kern High School District is evaluating its options at this time,” said Public Information Officer Erin Briscoe.
Watson’s attorney, Kyle Humphrey, had said in a previous interview with The Californian that he thought the chances of the district hiring Watson back are slim.
"We live in a society based on fear. I wouldn’t expect people to be kind," he said. "Presumption of innocence doesn’t mean as much in our society as it used to."
The CTC said that while Watson's credential is valid again, that is only because the criminal case was resolved. The commission does its own investigation into any misconduct and can take its own disciplinary action. The investigation is ongoing.
Watson, 51, was arrested last March after a 17-year-old student came forward to police about inappropriate messages Watson had sent to her, including asking her to have sex with him. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Watson was acquitted in the case last month by a Kern County Jury after his accuser admitted to working with another student to obtain evidence to frame him, Humphrey said.