Former Portland teacher banned from teaching for public indecency in Astoria

Jeff Miller

A controversial former Lincoln High School teacher and Portland teachers union president has had his right to teach permanently revoked after he was convicted of indecent exposure for masturbating naked on a public street in Astoria, records show.

Jeff Miller taught social studies at Lincoln High for several years before he retired after getting in trouble for worrisome conduct around students. Before joining the faculty at Lincoln, he taught at Cleveland High for 20 years and also taught at Wilson and Benson high schools. He was an elected leader of the Portland Association of Teachers for 11 years, culminating in serving as its president from 2006 to 2008.

The behavior that caused him to lose his license happened in summer 2016. A couple saw him lying naked on a towel in public and masturbating in Astoria, where he and his wife own a vacation home a short walk from Astoria High School. He was 60 years old at the time. According to the state teacher licensing committee, the pair captured photographic evidence of the crime.

Jeffrey Scott Miller pleaded no contest to indecent exposure in March 2017 and was sentenced to 10 days in jail plus 18 months probation. He is still on probation, with conditions that include a ban on using or possessing marijuana and a requirement that he submit to random searches of his Lake Oswego and Astoria homes.

In August 2017, Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission notified Miller it planned to ban him from ever regaining a teaching license because of his conviction for public masturbation. He did not respond to or contest the commission’s action. Miller also did not immediately reply to a message left Monday at the office of the lawyer who represented him in the indecency matter.

Miller retired from Lincoln under a cloud several years ago, having been put on leave by the district and publicly reprimanded by Oregon’s teacher licensing agency for a host of unprofessional acts deemed by the licensing board as constituting “gross neglect of duty.”

According to that finding, Miller used the N-word in class, threatened two students, failed to present balanced views of politics during class, used swear words while teaching and displayed posters “including skateboards with animated models in sexually suggestive positions and containing captions including ‘school sucks’ and ‘I hate school.’”

Students videotaped some of his conduct and posted it on YouTube. One video showed him as he led a rowdy protest and, for several seconds, pressed his body against that of a female student. She later said she was not upset by his conduct.

Lincoln Principal Peyton Chapman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In March, Chapman gave an in-depth interview to the school’s student newspaper, The Cardinal Times, about how she handles problem teachers.

Miller retired during the 2013-14 school year and is paid $44,000 a year in public employee retirement benefits.

John Larson, president of the Oregon Education Association, said Monday in a statement that the state teachers union strongly supports getting bad actors banned from teaching.

“There is no place in the education system for anyone who has exhibited the types of behaviors that Jeff Miller has been convicted of. That behavior is unacceptable. Period. I support the actions taken by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission to keep him out of our schools. Districts and administrators need to act swiftly to address this type of behavior as soon as it is reported.”

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