Darnell Pickard was reported to the SCDE in May 2018 for numerous “allegations of inappropriate conduct with a student, including sharing naked pictures of himself and engaging in inappropriate texting with a student,” according to SCDE documents. According to his Facebook page, a he previously was a band instructor at Eau Claire High School in Columbia, South Carolina.
The SCDE hearing officer said that based off the “severity of the findings on these numerous allegations,” the board must revoke Pickard’s education certificate, according to the March 10 ruling. The officer said his misconduct “bears on the safety, health, and welfare of students”
According to testimony at the hearing, there was substantial evidence that Darnell Pickard:
- purposely sent a nude photo of himself to a female student.
- sent inappropriate Facebook messages of a “lewd nature” to two different female students.
- gave his phone number to a female student and instructed her to call him.
An investigation also found that Darnell Pickard used his Richland County School District One computer to “access inappropriate and pornographic material” and to “use social networking sites for noneducational purposes.”
Pickard has six years of educator experience, according to state records. His educator license was valid up until the state revoked it on March 10.
According to the ruling, Pickard has the right to re-apply for his educator certification after three years. If he does re-apply in three years, he would be reviewed by the state board which could require South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and FBI background checks.
Pickard was sent “notice letters regarding the possible suspension or relation of his educator license” in January and February 2019 – more than six months after the incidents were reported to the state board, according to the SCDE ruling. However, a hearing wasn’t held until January 2020, and the board ruled on March 10, 2020 — almost two years after allegations were first reported to the board.
The ruling left out a lot of key details. It doesn’t appear as if Pickard’s license was suspended at any time since the incidents were reported to SCDE in May 2018. The ruling also didn’t say whether or not Pickard was fired or resigned from his job at Richland County School District One, nor does it say if he taught in other school districts since May 2018.
FITSNews asked Richland County School District One and SCDE officials questions about Pickard’s educator license and recent work history. Richland One officials were asked what school Pickard taught at, what his position was, and if he was resigned or fired at the time the allegations were reported to the state board.
Officials at both SCDE and Richland One did not answer our questions regarding Pickard and said they could not provide any more details at the time of publication.
From his Facebook page, it appears he started working at elementary schools in Orangeburg in July, 2018. This has not been confirmed.