Parents express concerns over use of unlicensed teachers in Prince William County school

Parents in one Northern Virginia county are raising concerns about unlicensed teachers teaching students this school year.

Prince William County Public Schools describes those employees as temporary teachers that have also been hired to address the teaching shortage nationwide.

Initially a Prince William County Public Schools spokesperson emailed FOX 5 saying, "this story is not related specifically to Covington-Harper Elementary School."

FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis obtained the letter from Covington Harper Elementary School notifying some parents that their child will be taught by a teacher on a temporary assignment.

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FOX 5 shared that letter with Prince William County Public Schools. A school district spokesperson now says, "We employ Teaching Professionals on Temporary Assignment throughout the school division. It is not isolated to Covington-Harper Elementary School."

Some parents with children at Covington Harper Elementary School tell FOX 5, they received a letter at an open house, informing them their child is being taught by a teacher on a temporary assignment.

The parents say the teachers are unlicensed and they feel they should have been informed before now.

Rae Anne Thrift posted about her concerns in a moms group on Facebook and the response was overwhelming with several parents sharing the same sentiment — they want their child to be taught by a licensed teacher.

Thrift says her daughter was assigned an unlicensed teacher.

A Prince William County Public Schools spokesperson emailed FOX 5 saying teaching professionals on temporary assignment must have earned a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, have the equivalent of one year of successful experience working with students, have a favorable reference and/or evaluation from a recent supervisor and meet all the requirements to be eligible for employment in Prince William County Public Schools.

READ MORE: Schools districts across DMV work to address hundreds of teacher openings

PWCS says it’s hired 91 Teaching Professionals on Temporary Assignment.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are reportedly 147 classroom position openings.