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Charge Dropped Against Teacher Accused of Biting Student

John Hickey has been reinstated as a Harford County Public Schools teacher and reassigned to a different school.

A teacher one of his students has since been cleared of an assault charge and reinstated with Harford County Public Schools.

, a lawyer for former teacher John Hickey, issued a release this week announcing the outcome.

On June 10, 2011, Hickey was falsely accused of biting a 10-year-old female student on the wrist and was immediately placed on administrative leave, according to the release.

Hickey, a Jarrettsville resident, was issued a criminal summons on a second-degree assault charge in August 2011 based on the allegation. Later that month, recommended Hickey be fired, and the teacher was placed on leave without pay, the release states.

Criminal charges were dropped by the on April 17.  But Hickey, his family and lawyer said it wasn't enough to have the charges dismissed.

"Those assault charges should never have been brought in the first place. That's why we petitioned, and succeeded, in having the charges EXPUNGED," Carey said in the release.

A phone call seeking comment from the state's attorney on why the charge was dropped was not immediately returned.

An independent hearing examiner recommended the school board reinstate Hickey. On June 25, the school board approved the recommendation and restored Hickey's back pay, benefits and seniority, according to the release.

"That was just about as complete an exoneration as we could have wanted. It will never, of course make up for what John Hickey and his wife and family underwent in the past year," Carey said in the release.

Hickey will not return to Fountain Green, but instead teach third-grade at Deerfield Elementary in Edgewood during the coming academic year.

Terri Conley Ferguson August 08, 2012 at 09:32 PM
It's about time! I support John Hickey 100%. As the mother of a child who was in his class last year when these accusation emerged, I NEVER doubted his innocence. He is a FANTASTIC teacher and the students at Fountain Green Elementary have suffered a great loss! Congrats to the 3rd graders at Deerfield, you will LOVE him!! Congrats to John Hickey and his family..this has been ONE TOUGH year, but you survived and came out on the winning end!!
Stacy Rawlings August 08, 2012 at 10:09 PM
John Hickey was my daughter's teacher at Fountain Green Elementary School (she is now 22 yrs old) and I was his room mother at the time. I knew when I read about this horrid allegation, that it could have never happened. This man has been an educator for his entire adult life, exhibited nothing but professionalism in and out of the classroom for all the years I was associated with that school. I am so deeply sorry that this happened to him and his family, nothing can replace the year from hell that they have had to endure. It's a shame that our system's process is so sluggishly slow that it has taken until now to publicly exonerate him. I also believe that the States Attorney's Office needs to quit ignoring questions about this debacle and make some sort of public statement about nearly destroying a mans life... being unavailable for comment is a low and unacceptable way of handling their part in this. I dearly hope it hasn't dampened his previous spark to teach in a way only he can do. Of all her teachers throughout her school years, Mr. Hickey is the one she remembers most endearingly and whom she says taught her more in one year than any other year of her education. Congratulations to Mr. Hickey and his family... there should be a bonus check thrown in there somewhere for all the pain and suffering they had to live with over the last year plus... Bless them!
Old Skool August 08, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Now, if we can get rid of the current principal at FGES life would be great. Congrats Mr. Hickey and good luck on your new assignment.
HarCoMom August 08, 2012 at 10:47 PM
It's a disgrace that the superintendent recommended his firing without any evidence of Mr. Hickey's guilt.
pbcointoss August 09, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Finally there is justice! My sons were both blessed to have been taught by him.
artfxus August 09, 2012 at 02:57 AM
So how is the county going to deal with the "victim" who caused this man and his family so much hardship? It's great that Mr. Hickey is getting back pay but it doesn't make up for the absence of a paycheck for the past year not to mention what must have been unbearable stress, a year of unending embarrassment and the temporary (thankfully) loss of their good name. I realize the "victim" is a child who is obviously disturbed but nonetheless...just as she and her family expected (and unfortunately received) immediate consequences for Mr. Hickey's "actions" so should there be consequences for hers.
SnakeSkin August 09, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Could mr. Hickey sue the family for defamation of character?? I think there should at least be an apology letter somewhere from the victims family. Mr. Hickey went through so much and while he did get his job back, I feel the victims family needs to step up and say I'm sorry!!! What do you think??
Arthur Cyr August 09, 2012 at 01:29 PM
THIS IS WHY PATCH.COM NEEDS TO ADD THE TOWN & STATE under every masthead! We have NO IDEA where "Harford County Public Schools" are, but it is VERY close to HarTford County Public Schools as in Hartford Connecticut. and BTW, thank goodness the teacher was cleared. This is not the first case of false charges costing people their jobs.
Sandra Conway August 09, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Someone deserves to be severely punished, and its not the teacher, who is the only one that seems to have been punished. I cant imagine the STRESS he and his family have gone through. The child should be suspended from the county schools for a year. This is unacceptable bullcrap another child has caused. I always wanted to be a teacher, but changed my mind halfway through college. Teachers HAVE to walk on eggshells w kids nowadays. No encouraging hugs or a pat on the back, because, that may be considered innappropriate or perverted. I chose another major b/c theres no way im walking on eggshells my whole career. Its a shame. I feel horrible for this teacher & what he has had to deal w for over a year!
M Brady August 09, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I don't want to start a tangent here but we are very involved with FGES and find the principal to be very involved and impressive.
Leslie Schildgen August 09, 2012 at 01:53 PM
He should have punched her in the face AND bit her on the wrist for all the havoc she has caused this man and his family for NO REASON WHATSOEVER!!!
Jamie dickey August 09, 2012 at 02:17 PM
My son was lucky enough to have Mr. Hickey two years in a row when he moved up to fifth grade. My son struggled for years with math. Mr. Hickey made math fun and did it in a way that the kids understood. Mr. Hickey was there for the kids. He was at every school function and generally center stage whether it was calling bingo or chorus concerts. It's a shame that there aren't more teacher like Mr. Hickey. And I agree with the issues with the current principle. She could have easily diffused this situation. But because Mr. Hickey wasn't one of her favorites she threw him under the bus Here are major dynamic issues going on at FGES, now thanks to Stacey Gerringer. And here is still hoping that Stacey learns to dress her age and business like.
blessed August 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Settle down, people. The child and her family never wanted this. The school administration took it and ran with it. Thank God there is justice. Mr. Hickey is one of the best teachers out there.
Terri Conley Ferguson August 09, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Without knowing all of the facts, you can not blame the 10 year old. Let's look at the people behind this....the ADULTS who were responsible for trying to destroy this WONDERFUL man's career and life! Thank you God for giving John and his family the strength to get through this challenging year. Jamie Dickey, you hit the nail right on the head!! Oh, Arthur Cyr, Harford County is in Maryland!
MVPHKR August 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I second that! The superintendent owes Mr. Hickey a sincere and public apology for wanting to fire him based only on an unproven accusation. That was nothing more than CYA bureaucrat politics at its worst.
Dadof2 August 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I'm glad Mr. Hickey has been reinstated with full benefits, yet that doesn't quite make up for the very challenging year. I would like to think he could sue Harford County Public Schools. And, I'll add that I'm NOT a fan of Dr. Tomback.
Colin August 09, 2012 at 07:10 PM
he used to bite the erasers off my stepsisters pencils
Kirsten Dize August 09, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Harford County Public Schools are located in Harford County, Maryland which is north of Baltimore. Trust me, Word and Google often think mean Hartford, CT. What a shame our location comes out as a spelling error :) Thanks for reading, and sorry for the confusion!
stephen getz August 09, 2012 at 09:20 PM
The truth is this entire unfortunate incident would never have occurred if the principle had any common sense and set up a teacher/parent meeting that very day. Her incompetence caused ALL the following hardships to My Hickey. I agree she should be fired.
Melissa Grubowski August 10, 2012 at 12:15 AM
John. Hickey is the most upstanding teacher and person. My children went to FGES and my oldest was fortunate enough to have him in 4th grade. He was funny, knowledgable, attentive, and always had time to listen. To this day she still talks of her 4th grade year and how much Mr Hickey helped her that year. We have run into him over the years and he always took the time to ask about my children by name. I was so impressed with him that year I wrote him a letter thanking him for being. So wonderful at his job. I heard about this last June and my immediate response was I didn't believe the allegations. I feel so relieved that he has been exonerated and can only hope he and his family can someday. Put this behind them. Love ya Mr Hickey. The Grubowski Family
Hickey Supporter August 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM
The principal escalated this unfortunate incident by becoming judge, jury & executioner without gathering any information. This is not the 1st incident with the principal and her lack of judgement. My son had Mr Hickey & absolutely adored, respected & flourished in his classroom. I am sad my daughter will not be able to have him as a teacher! Congrats Deerffield for getting Mr Hickey!
famfirst August 13, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I think that Mr. Hickey should have gotten his former job back at FGES. Why should he have to travel so far much further from home and start over at a brand new grade level? Hmmm, but I'm sure that would cause a conflict with the current administrator (prefer not to use the term, "principal", as the definition implies a high level of character, which she does not exhibit). So here's an idea - how about reassigning Mrs. Gerringer to another school? Her lack of professionalism and good judgement caused this problem to begin with. I wonder if she was just a tad self serving in attempting to use the experience as an opportunity to further her steady march to the top (watch out Mr. Tomback). Mrs. Gerringer has had NOTHING but a toxic effect on the school since she arrived. I vote for Hickey in, and Gerringer out.
Didiem August 24, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Sounds as though the superintendent of Harford County Schools was really out there supporting one of his own.....not.

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