Principal Caught in Back Seat With Teen, Weed, Shirt Unbuttoned
Palm Beach County School Board
Krista Eve Morton, 45, of Wellington, principal of Mavericks High of Palm Springs, was arrested Wednesday after police got a call reporting suspected sexual activity in a parked car. North Palm Beach Police arrived at the parking lot to find a half-naked Morton and an 18-year-old male student in the back seat of her car. While questioning the pair, it become apparent that sexual activity in a public place wasn't the only law being broken in Morton's back seat; they also noticed a strong odor of marijuana.
A subsequent search of the vehicle resulted in the finding of a yellow plastic bag that held a container with less than 20 grams of marijuana, as well as a lighter and rolling papers. Only after Morton and the 18-year-old were placed under arrest did police find out that Morton was the principal of the school the young man attended. The police report says Morton — who told police she picked up the youth because she was lonely — was discovered in the back seat of the vehicle "her shirt unbuttoned exposing her shoulders and part of her chest." Morton was released from the Palm Beach County Jail on bail while the student was being held on $1,000 bail. The school said it suspended Morton pending the outcome of the investigation
This isn't the first time a Mavericks High faculty members have been in the news. Just a few years ago, it was revealed then-principal Thomas Lockett was not certified to teach in Florida, according to the State Department of Education. It was learned Lockett was an account executive for home health-care and pharmaceutical companies and had little to no background in education, certainly not enough to run an entire school that served roughly 500 at-risk students at the time.
(Morton's LinkedIn page lists only her job at Mavericks.)
Later in that same year, the school hired Tisa Brandon to be assistant principal, knowing at the time she had been accused of "unethical behavior" involving a student while working as a teacher in the Osceola County School District.
Mavericks High is a chain of charter schools run by the for-profit company Mavericks in Education Florida. Mavericks has eight schools in Florida, including two in Broward and two in Miami-Dade. Financial and academic troubles have plagued the company since it opened its doors in Florida. Mavericks was in the news in 2009 after two former employees filed whistleblower lawsuits alleging that the Mavericks in Homestead inflates attendance records, alters grades, and does not offer standard Florida high school diplomas. Mavericks officials have denied the allegations.
A New Times investigation piece chronicled the school's fraudulent promises and shady practices in a 2011 article that pieced together lawsuits the school faced and behind-the-scenes unethical practices the school was exhibiting at that time. Frank Biden, brother of Vice President Joe Biden, has long been the school's spokesperson.
Dwyane Wade once was tied up in a deal with schools but disassociated himself.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.