Bethel Teacher Terminated

Former Bryant High School substitute and student teacher arrested for computer exploitation of a child

Bella Herring, Staff Writer

The school board voted to terminate Bethel Middle School teacher Alexander Joseph’s contract at the monthly board meeting Sept. 19.

Joseph, a former substitute and student teacher at the high school, was arrested Aug.13 after, according to a statement by the Bryant Police, he “admitted to the investigator that he had solicited sexual photos from a 13-year-old boy.” The investigation began with what the police said to be a text involving information which led to an investigation, resulting in Joseph’s arrest the morning of the first day of school for the district. 

Arkansas law requires that teachers with a valid Arkansas teaching license are held to minimum standards of ethical conduct both inside and outside of the workplace. Once a teacher violates their standards of professionalism, their teaching license is revoked and an investigation of the incident takes place immediately. However, Joseph’s actions not only violated teacher ethics, but also Arkansas law.

Joseph was hired as an English teacher for the 2019-20 school year at Bethel Middle School. District personnel contacted the Bryant Police Department immediately upon receiving information regarding Joseph. 

Joseph was taken to the Saline County Jail and was held late into the following morning without a set bail. He was charged with a class D felony of computer exploitation of a child shortly after the arrest while the investigation was still taking place. 

According to statement by the Bryant School District’s communication director, Devin Sherrill, the district plans to keep the incident as a personnel matter. 

“At this time, we have no evidence that the alleged conduct involved physical contact with minors,” Sherrill said. “The district is cooperating fully with the law enforcement investigation.”

Joseph has since been released from the Saline County Jail. Updates on his case have yet to be released to the public.