SPRINGVILLE — Several complaints have been lodged with the Nebo School District and the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission alleging inappropriate comments and conduct involving a Springville High School teacher.
On Monday, some Springville High students and community members staged a walkout, with some carrying signs urging the school principal to do his job and others that said “Listen to the girls” and “This many girls can’t be lying.”
About 125 people took part in the rally, which lasted about 40 minutes and was peaceful, according to the school district.
The teacher was the subject of a recent online petition alleging inappropriate remarks and conduct toward pupils, primarily female students.
Some of the people who signed the petition shared alleged personal experiences while others were thirdhand accounts of alleged misdeeds. Some of the incidents are alleged to have occurred as far back as the 1990s, according to the petition.
The teacher, whom the Deseret News has elected not to name, has taught for the Nebo School District for 30 years, according to the school district. According to state records, the educator has been licensed to teach school in Utah since 1988 and there is no record of disciplinary action against his teaching license.
The school district received two complaints against the teacher on Monday, according to Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey.
An online petition that leveled allegations against the teacher went live Thursday and on Friday, the district assembled an investigative team to review any complaints it might receive through a formal process. As of Friday, the school had received no complaints, Hiskey said.
However, the district urged people who had concerns to raise them with school administrators or to submit tips using the SafeUT app.
“We want to make sure they (students) feel safe and that this is a safe learning environment for them,” she said.
Hiskey said it is also important that allegations against a career educator are thoroughly investigated. The investigation is underway, she said.
“That’s why this investigative team will be important. They’re (team members), they’re not just from the school. We have attorneys and we have other people on staff that do the investigating that will be unbiased,” she said.
Meanwhile, 15 complaints against the teacher have been lodged with the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission, Benjamin Rasmussen, executive secretary of the commission, said Monday.
The commission investigates allegations of misconduct by licensed educators. At the conclusion of its investigations, educators can request hearings to refute any findings.
Ultimately, the commission’s recommendations are sent to the Utah State Board of Education for possible action.
Sanctions against a teacher’s license can include dismissing a case with no further action; a letter of education; a reprimand; suspension of an educator’s license; or revocation of their teaching license.
From start to finish, investigations can take several months, sometimes as long as a year.