Kentucky state investigators now looking into Fort Thomas teacher fired for inappropriate behavior

A psychologist describes accusations against TJ Lykins as grooming behavior.
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 10:51 PM EST
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FORT THOMAS, Ky. (WXIX) - More details are surfacing about a teacher who was fired from Highlands High School.

Tommy “TJ” Lykins lost his job last month after he was accused of inappropriate behavior.

Lykins’ Fort Thomas personnel file, which includes more than 100 pages of information, details the accusations that he faced before he was fired from his teaching job with the Fort Thomas Independent School district.

“When we see this type of thing, the next thing we have to discern is, is this a compassionate teacher who is really trying to do the right thing and help, or is it someone who may be overstepping the professional boundary and taking advantage of the power differential?” Dr. Ed Connor, a forensic psychologist, said.

The documents show that following two investigations, school administrators fired Lykins for insubordination, immoral character or conduct unbecoming a teacher and violation of the professional code of ethics.

According to the personnel file, Lykins was accused of making sexual comments to and about students, mocking a deaf student and calling students vulgar names.

One junior, per the documents, reported him for sexual harassment, alleging that Lykins often crossed boundaries by telling her she smelled good, complimenting her hair and asking her about her boyfriend.

Other former students have reported that Lykins strived to be known as the “cool teacher.”

“Tries to be the teacher that ‘you can come and cuss with me,’ or ‘we can talk about inappropriate topics with me,’ it’s a form of grooming behavior,” Dr. Connor said.’

Two young women said that shortly after they graduated from Highlands H.S., Lykins reached out to them, attempting to pursue an intimate relationship.

Per school records, Dr. Connor, a Kentucky psychologist, gave Lykins a “psychological” and “psychosexual” evaluation for the district in early 2021.

Dr. Connor could not speak about that evaluation, or about Lykins specifically, due to privacy, but said that in general, an evaluation of that nature takes about six and a half hours.

“It consists of interviewing, but it also consists of psychometric testing, so in other words, psychological tests that have statistical underpinnings, where we can access database and see if their profile is statistically similar to profiles of convicted sex offenders,” he said.

Documents show the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board is now investigating Lykins. That is the governing body that decides whether he will keep his teaching certificate.

A letter included in the personnel file states that Lykins and his attorneys are contesting the district’s decision to terminate him and are contesting the allegations against him.

In the meantime, Dr. Connor says the students impacted by the situation should know it is not their fault.

“Students who have been through such a traumatic experience should seek counseling. They should be able to go and talk to someone about what happened and help them understand that this isn’t something that they’ve done,” Dr. Connor said.

As of now, police have not filed any criminal charges against Lykins.

Records show that Lykins also worked for Bracken County Schools. There is no indication in that personnel file that Lykins faced similar accusations while working there.

Lykins and his attorneys have not responded to requests for comment.

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