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Third Howard County teacher to go to court in March for allegations of sexual contact with students

I've spent most of the week in court covering the trial of Joseph Samuel Ellis, a 25-year-old former Glenelg High School history teacher accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with several female students. Read more about the outcome of that case here.

Turns out this week has served as a primer for what's coming up in March, when I will likely cover the trial of Alan Meade Beier.

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Beier, for those of you who are not familiar with the case, is a former River Hill teacher accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with students.

All three cases against Beier will take place in Howard County Circuit Court on March 26. Originally one of the cases was scheduled for February 12, but a motion on December 20, 2007, postponed that case, which allowed all three cases to go to trial at the same time.

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Beier, 52, a former chemistry and physics, was arrested on January 12, 2007. He is accused of undressing and photographing a 16-year-old boy in his classroom and with fondling a 17-year-old female student. A third student also reported inappropriate contact with Beier.

Beier is the third and final Howard County teacher arrested during a two-month period during the 2006-2007 school year to appear in Circuit Court for allegations of having inappropriate sexual contact with students.

Kirsten Ann Kinley, 28, a former teacher at Marriotts Ridge High School, pleaded guilty in August to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy while she was a teacher at Hammond Middle School in late 2004 and early 2005. The boy was not a student at Hammond Middle. Kinley was sentenced to serve 18 months at the county detention center in November.

Do you think that there are enough safeguards in place to prevent situations like these? Do you think these incidents are isolated or do they represent a growing problem? Before you comment, check out some of these stories here, here, here, and here.

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