Tulsa Teacher Arrested After Altercation

Tuesday, September 12th 2006, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

A 62-year-old Tulsa Public School teacher was arrested Monday on charges he assaulted a student.

It happened at the Tulsa County jail, where David Birkes was teaching classes for incarcerated juveniles.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says the school district is required to provide schooling for juveniles, even if they're locked up. That's basically what Birkes was subcontracted to do at the jail. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office press release says Birkes became irritated when the student wouldn't follow instructions and allegedly grabbed the student by the neck.

The Sheriff's Office says the student then hit Birkes in the face to get him to let go. Birkes is a longtime school employee.

Before this, he worked at Franklin Youth Academy, where he had an unpleasant experience with students. On two different occasions, in 2002 and 2005, students allegedly tried to poison his drink with cleaning fluid.

The News on 6 tried to talk with David Birkes Tuesday, but we were unable to reach him by phone or at his house. School officials say their policy is pretty cut and dried in these cases. TPS compliance officer Roger Holder: "If we believe the teacher was at fault and did in fact assault a student or use excessive force or something then that generally would be automatic recommendation for dismissal, but again, the superintendent makes that final recommendation. It's his recommendation to the board."

David Birkes was suspended with pay. The district has 10 days to make a recommendation to the board. The board then has 30 to 90 days to make a decision. They do not need a criminal conviction to fire David Birkes.