Former North Miami High School teachers fed up with deceit

Former school treasurer arrested on grand theft charges

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. - A former North Miami Senior High School teacher told Local 10 News that he is fed up with the depth of deception uncovered at his old school, after a former school treasurer was arrested on theft charges.

"money for field trips, money for school activities, clubs, all this money that was raised in the schools for student activities suddenly just lost—disappeared," Ricardo Ocampo said.

Police said Susie Easterling, 52, who was also the head of the school's bible club, stole $79,000 from students and vendors that paid her for school functions.

"I think it's a tragedy, it’s unethical (and) it's immoral to steal $79,000," Ocampo said. "Some people even say it's even more than that, especially from a poor and working class school which is already struggling."

Local 10 News obtained documents under Easterling's tenure, including bank statements, check transfers and countless invoices of overdue payments.

One bus company demanded payment as soon as possible. The payment was for a student club field trip run by Velma Eason, who is also a former teacher at North Miami Senior High School.

"From September through January, the bus company was pleading to be paid. So again, I had suspicions," Eason said.

A transaction last year shows that the $90 payment was ordered, but mysteriously canceled months later.

This is how detectives believe Easterling pocketed the money over and over again while also stealing various cash payments from students.

"(It's) robbery to the community, to the faculty, staff and students," Eason said.

"Where was the accountability? Where were the checks in place to make sure this doesn't occur again?" Ocampo said.

The web of deceit unraveled earlier this year when the school brought in an auditor who uncovered the gross discrepancies.

Easterling resigned in April and was arrested a few weeks ago and officially charged with second-degree grand theft.

The school has been struggling to get out of the red ever since.

"It's an issue of ethics. What are we trying to teach our kids -- that you can get away with these things?" former teacher Annette Quintero said.

"You just don't do that form a poor school-- a public school in general," Ocampo said.

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