Facebook Twitter

DAVIS ORDERS A TRANSFER FOR JUNIOR HIGH TEACHER

SHARE DAVIS ORDERS A TRANSFER FOR JUNIOR HIGH TEACHER

A Farmington Junior High School teacher will be transferred to a different school over sexual comments he purportedly made to fellow teachers, Assistant Superintendent Steve Ronnenkamp said.

The district also placed Steve Barnes on probation Friday after an investigation into complaints filed in May by several female teachers."It appears that the issue here is an employee who has not been able to separate when a joke is inappropriate," Ronnenkamp said. "Comments and jokes (of this nature) have no place in the work setting."

Ronnenkamp said the complaint filed with the district was the result of behavior that had occurred over several years rather than a specific incident. He would not identify the teachers who filed complaints.

District officials have not decided where Barnes will be transferred.

Last week, some students threatened to walk out of school to demonstrate their support of Barnes, who teaches English.

The women also filed a complaint with Utah Industrial Commission, their attorney, George W. Burbidge said.

Barnes referred questions to his attorney, Mike Deamer, who said his client has a spotless record and the accusations have "hurt him deeply."

He said the comments made were mutual between Barnes and the women, and that his client does not feel he did anything wrong. He also said Barnes could not respond to the charges against him because district officials refused to let him see the specific accusations.

Davis Education Association Vice President Kaye Chatterton said the teachers had complained last fall to the principal about Barnes' behavior in previous years and the principal had talked to him.

Principal Rich Call could not be reached for comment.

Chatterton said the women will pursue their complaint at the state level through the industrial commission because they feel the district had prior knowledge and did not take action. Under Utah law, the district could be liable for punitive damages if the commission finds it did not take timely action.