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Union teacher placed on leave as district investigates emails with two students

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DYSART, Iowa (KWWL) - A teacher was placed on paid administrative leave as the Union Community School District investigates possible misconduct. The district is learning more about possible inappropriate email exchanges between a teacher and two students at the Union Middle School.

The teacher was placed on leave Friday, March 12. The first incident that was brought to the district's attention was back in December. UCSD Superintendent Travis Fleshner's reasoning behind the delay of action was simply because there was not enough information at the time.

"We were still really just getting started with this," Fleshner said. "We thought we addressed the initial parent concerns but as this kind of unfolded a little bit and information has become more available, the teacher is now on paid administrative leave as we continue into this investigation."

Fleshner tells KWWL that the first incident was addressed with the parents, student, and the staff member right away.

“But some of those ongoing conversations that we had kind of led us to other possible concerns," he said.

As additional information came to light, the situation between the teacher and a single student soon escalated to become two students at the Union Middle School in Dysart.

The district is working with legal counsel to make sure policies and documents are handled correctly.

“I would anticipate that this is moving along pretty quickly, but as far as saying this will be done in two days or two weeks, I don’t really know that," Fleshner said. "But obviously this is something we are very active with and engaged in."

Law enforcement is not involved at the moment, as the investigation is being handled inside the school district. Superintendent Fleshner says there are still many questions that need to be answered.

“I know there may be contacts from outside with law enforcement, but that didn’t necessarily generate from inside the school," he said.

Fleshner is urging parents and the public to consider sources of information, as the district continues to investigate.

“This is going to take a little time and it should take a little bit of time. Just, again, I’m doing the right thing for everybody that’s involved," he said.

Due to the nature of this case, there are limits to what the district can share, but Fleshner says they will be as transparent as possible.

If you have any information or questions regarding this case, you can contact the district office at 319-342-2674.

Read the latest updates from the Union Community School District here: https://www.union.k12.ia.us/

UCSD update from March 17, 2021:

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Diego Hernandez

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