Assault charges dropped, record expunged for Harford teacher

A Harford County teacher was reinstated earlier this summer after charges that he bit a student were dropped.

Last summer, charges were brought against John Hickey, then a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Fountain Green Elementary School, according to a Martino Blum news release issued this month. Hickey was accused of allegedly biting one of his students on the wrist; he was put on administrative leave.

In August 2011, Superintendent Robert Tomback recommended that Hickey be terminated without pay, pending administrative action, according to the release.

Hickey maintained his innocence throughout the court process and retained Bel Air lawyer, David Carey, of Brown, Brown & Young, to defend him and reverse the findings, according to the release.

"That a teacher as accomplished and beloved as John Hickey had to go through this was an absolute travesty," Carey stated in the release.

In addition to making sure Hickey was cleared of all charges, Carey also stated in the release they petitioned to have the charges expunged because "nothing had ever happened."

Faculty, administrators and students testified during a three-day hearing in December 2011 in front of the Harford County Board of Education's hearing examiner, according to the release. The Harford County States Attorney's Office dropped the criminal charges on April 17, 2012 and they were later expunged.

Following that, the hearing examiner recommended that the school board reject Tomback's recommendation to terminate Hickey and reinstate him, which it did on June 25, restoring his back pay, benefits and seniority with no loss of service time, according to the release.

"That was just about as complete an exoneration as we could have wanted," Carey stated. "It will never, of course make up for what John Hickey and his wife and family underwent in the past year, but all his friends and I hope that it will, at least, allow John to get on with his life and resume his career as an excellent teacher, and a teacher of excellence."

Hickey will be a third-grade teacher at Deerfield Elementary School in Edgewood when school starts later this month and stated in the release he is looking forward to returning to the classroom.

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