A substitute teacher at Central West High School in Fresno who was hospitalized Monday after students reported unusual behavior is no longer on the district's substitute list, the superintendent said Tuesday.
Superintendent Mike Berg said "substitutes are at-will employees and we have discretion to use them or not to use them at will."
Berg said the substitute teacher, Steven John Diddy, had been on the district's list of substitute teachers since 2007 and had primarily been assigned to high school classes.
Diddy had not had an incident prior to Monday, Berg said.
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Monday's incident began at the end of a class period when students said Diddy voiced "an urgency to get the students out of the classroom early," Berg said. Once out of the class, students notified an administrator that the teacher had a medical issue and the administrator escorted Diddy to the office.
Fresno County sheriff's deputies said they contacted Diddy, 44, in the school office. After talking with him, deputies had him transported to Community Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Substitutes often work at multiple school districts, but Diddy is not on substitute lists at Fresno, Clovis and Sanger unified districts, according to records in those districts.
Lisa Birrell, spokeswoman for the Fresno County Office of Education, said each school district sets its own rules and policies for hiring substitute teachers within education code parameters.
At Central Unified, Berg said the district requires substitutes to be fingerprinted before they are hired and does criminal background checks through the FBI and federal Department of Justice.
The district also submits names and identification information to the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing, which has records of people who have had licenses suspended or revoked.
"None of those had any flags on this individual since 2007 and nor have they flagged anything since," Berg said.
In 1996, Diddy grabbed headlines when he walked into the Fresno Police Department headquarters and confessed to kidnapping and killing 2-year-old Matthew Moorby. The child's body was found floating in a Woodward Park lake two days after he was kidnapped.
Diddy later recanted his statement and said he had made it up, claiming he needed police protection. In March 1997, charges against Diddy were dropped as a result of insufficient evidence. He was later taken to a mental hospital for treatment. Moorby's death remains unsolved.
Berg said the district did not do a Google search of Diddy before hiring him. It was not common practice to conduct Internet searches in 2007, he said. The district began doing such searches in 2009, he said.
But even with an Internet search, the district must still have a basis for denying employment, Berg said. "In this individual case, the incident in the '90s did not lead to a criminal conviction."
On Tuesday, Berg said he could not discuss Diddy's health.
It was unclear if Diddy remained in the hospital or had been released. A Fresno County sheriff's spokesman and a hospital spokeswoman said confidentiality laws did not allow them to speak about Diddy's hospitalization.