Bad Teachers: Educators Who Refused to Follow the Rules

Carla Ann Hughes sits in a Mississippi prison, serving two consecutive life sentence for murder. The former middle school teacher from Jackson was convicted in 2009 of capital murder for the November 29, 2006, slayings of her lover’s pregnant fiancee, Avis Banks, and Banks’ unborn baby.

Police found Banks, 27, lying in a pool of blood in the garage of the Ridgeland home she shared with Keyon Pittman, who was seeing Hughes. Banks was five months pregnant. She was shot four times — in the leg, chest and head — and then stabbed multiple times in the face and neck.

Prosecutors argued Hughes killed Banks so she could be with Pittman, a colleague at Chastain Middle School in Jackson. However, she has always proclaimed her innocence.

Andrew Farley Jr. was arrested in 2014 after stabbing his wife to death inside the bathroom of their Michigan home. A year later, the 46-year-old former teacher at Woodland Park Academy in Grand Blanc Township was convicted of murder, and learned he wouldn’t become eligible for parole until 2065.

Farley denies killing Tiffany Caine-Smith Farley, who was stabbed once in the heart. Once she was dead, Farley moved his wife’s body to the bedroom, took a number of pills, started a fire in a fireplace and severed the gas line to the home’s water heater in an attempt to kill himself.

He also shot videos on his cellphone after the stabbing, and captured footage of his wife’s remains.

Debra Jean Beasley, 37 (better known by her former married name of Debra Lafave), used to teach at Angelo L. Greco Middle School in Temple Terrace, Florida. But in 2004, she was arrested for a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old male student.

She was fired, and in 2005, she pleaded guilty to lewd or lascivious battery. She avoided prison and spent three years under house arrest due to safety concerns.

Today, Lafave is free.

Earlier this year, Haeli Wey, a former high school teacher in Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty to two counts of having an improper relationship with a student. She has since been sentenced to 10 years probation.

The 30-year-old former teacher was arrested in December 2015 after having relationships with two students during the summer and fall of that year.

Both students were 17 and while the legal age of consent in Texas is 17, Wey, a math teacher with the Eanes Independent School District for two years, was charged because of her role as an educator.

One victim allegedly told police he met Wey at a “student ministry program” in June 2015 and Wey accompanied his family on a trip to Africa soon after. The victim said he ended their relationship after hearing she had gone on a hike with another 17-year-old student.

In the spring of 1990, Pamela Smart was a 22-year-old media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire. But her life as she knew it was about to change.

Smart was arrested by authorities after enlisting her then-teenage lover, William “Billy” Flynn, and his three friends to kill her husband, Gregg. The case quickly became international news — and even helped inspire the 1996 Nicole Kidman movie To Die For.

Smart was found guilty of being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, though she has repeatedly maintained her innocence. Smart, now 50, has been incarcerated for more than half her life.

Former Tulsa teacher John Robert Kastner is serving a life sentence in Oklahoma for murdering his wife of 23 years, Lori, back in 2008. Kastner, 57, has long maintained he is innocent, but jurors convicted him in 2010.

Lori, a former Oklahoma Supreme Court staff attorney, was shot twice in the head while she laid in the couple’s bed. Kastner, who was a teacher at Webster High School in Tulsa, told investigators an intruder killed his wife. He also told police he struggled with the killer and was shot in the hand.

Nancy Seaman, 65, was a Farmington Hills, Michigan teacher at Longacre Elementary School who was convicted of first-degree murder in a highly publicized trial in 2005. The case drew national attention because Seaman killed her husband with a hatchet.

She told police she had an argument with her husband, Bob, in 2004. He brandished a knife, and chased her into the garage where she claims she killed him in self-defense.

She struck her husband with the hatchet 20 times. 

Alexandria Vera — a former middle school English teacher — admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old student in 2016, and told detectives she aborted her pregnancy when she learned she was being investigated.

She was sentenced earlier this year to 10 years in prison. After she was arrested, Vera told investigators she and the teen had sex almost daily over a nine-month period.

The victim was 13 at the time. Vera resigned from her teaching position with the Aldine Independent School District in Houston, Texas, soon after her arrest. 

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