Investigation Uncovers Teacher's Past Misconduct Before Miami Public Schools Hiring

A former Miami school teacher is out on bond Wednesday after being charged with having inappropriate conversations with three students and sexually abusing one of them, in his classroom.

Wednesday, June 5th 2024, 6:15 pm


A former Miami school teacher is out on bond Wednesday after being charged with having inappropriate conversations with three students and sexually abusing one of them, in his classroom.

Miami police say they learned Kanyen Cole had previously been investigated for similar behavior at Sand Springs Public Schools before he got the Miami job. Then after working a year in Miami, he was hired at Salina Public Schools in August of 2023.

Police say Cole was forced to resign from Sand Springs High School in 2022, then when Cole applied for a job in Miami shortly afterward, a Sand Springs principal wrote a reference letter for Cole saying he would hire him again. Now, Cole is charged with victimizing three Miami students.

"He was starting out as a caring individual, a coach, a role model, worried about kids’ mental health. Mental health is a big thing. Unfortunately, he was using that as a tactic to prey on these women, these young ladies,” said Detective Andrew Hanson with Miami Police.

Cole was arrested in May after a month-long investigation where Miami Police say Cole had inappropriate texting conversations with three students.

The victims said Cole messaged them on Snapchat and X (formerly Twitter) and it started friendly, then turned sexual. Documents say Cole sent messages saying he wanted to kiss the girls, said "I want to destroy you in the most romantic way" and told one girl he wanted "her to have his babies."

"These kids don't know any better. It's their friend, their role models at that point, somebody they can lean on, and that's how they prey on them,” said Hanson.

One told police Cole molested her in his classroom and moved her out of view of the security cameras to do so. All three girls told police Cole repeatedly told them to delete their messages.

Detective Andrew Hanson says he received documents from Sand Springs Schools that showed the school investigated Cole for similar behavior while he was a teacher and coach there. Hanson says Cole was forced to resign from Sand Springs in 2022, but got a letter of reference from a Sand Springs principal and got hired at Miami.

"In there, it does state that he would be a great coach, that he's a great person, that he would re-hire him if he had the chance. This is all after he's been terminated,” said Cole.

Sand Springs Public Schools says Cole worked there from August 2018 to May 2022 and says there is an active investigation so the district can’t provide further details.

The school sent News On 6 a statement saying:

Kanyen Cole worked in the district from August 2018 to May 2022. Because this is a legal investigation and personnel issue, we cannot provide more details at this time.
There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our students. Each district employee undergoes a comprehensive background check when they are hired. In the event of any misconduct allegation against an employee, school leaders immediately secure the safety of students, and a thorough investigation is conducted. The district reports to the Sand Springs Police Department, Department of Human Services, and the State Department of Education any employee misconduct found during the investigation. The district has and will always comply with requests from authorities regarding any issues.

Detective Hanson says schools should not be handling these types of investigations, they should be turned over to police and specially trained forensic interviewers.

Miami Public Schools released a letter to parents saying Cole came to them with solid references and passed a background check and the matter is very concerning to them.

"Communication is the key here,” said Hanson. “And there’s no communication whatsoever. You talk about background investigations all day long, but if nobody talks, nobody communicates, nobody reports, there's nothing in the background investigation. So how do we know?”

News On 6 asked detective Hanson if he believes what happened in Miami could have been prevented if it had been handled correctly before, and Hanson said, "100% could have been prevented in Miami."

Kanyen Cole's attorney tells News On 6 he hasn't received the whole report yet, but is well aware of Cole communicating with students, but says there's no indication of anything inappropriate.

Salina's superintendent tells News On 6, Cole was hired in August of last year but left just a few weeks later.

Homeland Security is now investigating the incidents in Sand Springs.


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