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Teacher resigns in wake of probe



Published: Wed, October 8, 2008 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Denise Dick

A teacher shouldn’t text message ‘back and forth’ with a student, Boardman’s superintendent said.

BOARDMAN — A second-year Boardman High School teacher has resigned amid an investigation of a female student’s allegation of inappropriate text messages from him.

The girl, 17, told a teacher Sept. 23 that she was uncomfortable with text messages she had received from Scott Hunter, a math teacher at the school where the girl is a student. The teacher told the high school principal, and Hunter was immediately placed on paid administrative leave, said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri, and an internal investigation began.

Hunter tendered his resignation Sept. 30, citing personal reasons, the superintendent said.

Last week, the girl filed a police report regarding the messages. She told police that she and a former teacher, whom she knew before attending high school, had text messaged each other for a while without incident.

On Sept. 18, however, a text from the teacher asked the girl if she liked peanut butter, the police report said.

A follow-up message read, “So how about we play with that together? Could rub it all over you ...,” the girl told police.

She said she ignored the text because she felt uncomfortable, and the texts returned to normal. She tried to end the text conversation that night by sending, “Sweet dreams.”

He texted back, “I’ll have some dirty ones of you and I. LOL. Hope you do too. Night babe,” the police report said.

The teacher’s name is redacted from the police report, but the superintendent acknowledged that the girl who filed it is the same one who informed the district about texts from Hunter.

The school district also had notified police.

Police said the matter is under investigation.

The district isn’t aware of text messages between Hunter and any other students, Lazzeri said.

“The [school district] investigation determined there was no inappropriate relationship between the two [Hunter and the girl],” Lazzeri said. “It was just inappropriate text messages. A teacher shouldn’t be texting back and forth with a student.”

Brad Calhoun, president of the union representing Boardman teachers, declined to comment Tuesday about Hunter or his resignation.

Hunter, of Boardman, a 2007 graduate of Youngstown State University, was in his second year of teaching and also served as the school’s Quiz Bowl adviser. His salary this year was $33,721.

The teacher’s personnel file doesn’t list his birthdate, but Lazzeri believes Hunter is in his early 20s.

Hunter couldn’t be reached.

Lazzeri said Hunter is an “excellent teacher” who was popular among students.

The licensure code of professional conduct for Ohio educators adopted last March by the state board of education says that “educators shall maintain a professional relationship with all students at all times both in and out of the classroom.”

It also lists “using technology to promote inappropriate communications with students” as conduct unbecoming an educator.

Because Hunter resigned as a result of an investigation, the school district must notify the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct. Lazzeri said he is in the process of doing that.

Karla Warren, an ODE spokeswoman, wouldn’t comment on the specific case. In general, though, when ODE is notified about a teacher dismissal or resignation during an investigation, the department determines whether to conduct its own investigation, she said.

If ODE determines that a violation has occurred, the most severe penalty that could be imposed is permanent revocation of a teaching certificate, Warren noted.


Comments

1l826w(8 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

What a shame! What a waste of an education!
Knowing this student prior to becoming a teacher - not an excuse.
He's in a very influential role, here. Early 20's? She's 17!!!
Revoke the certificate & let him pay for that education with his McD's salary.
How sad.

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2cityslicker(21 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

What is going on in Boardman? First you have a police officer and his partner engaging in illegal acts with a minor female and now you have a teacher trying to do the same. if you have a seventeen year old daughter in Boardman, i guess you better keep an eye on her.

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3Eric(196 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree with you justice. In Ohio the age of consent is 16, except in cases where the adult is in a position of authority, such as teacher/student. This young man definately used poor judgment by sending the texts, but did not break the law. In fact, if he wasn't a teacher in the same school, he could have slept with her and still been fine. I agree some reprimand is in order, but permanently revoking his teaching certificate, something which takes a lot of work to gain, seems very excessive to me.

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4sutre821(3 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I would HAVE to know for a fact whether the police actually READ these texts on this girls phone, or it was just her word about what they said. I know the hunter family and I have to say that I had to step back and rethink a lot of things. But you still have to be reasonable about the whole thing. You have to stay logical. To say a bunch of assanine things about it without knowing more details makes you look like an uneducated idiot. I would have to agree with what "justice" said, lets "NOT MAKE THIS INTO A LARGER ISSUE THAN IT IS". There was NO innapropriate behavior found, it was only texts, and the girl was 17. He did NOTHING illegal. However inapropriate it may have been, the Vindicator did a poor job of relaying all the facts to the public about this. Seriously.. this happened 2 weeks ago to... it took the vindicator this long to get the story? Who wrote this article? Because I would love to pick through there life and see what they have hiding in there closet. Probably a bunch of stuff that is far more news worthy than this. Denise Dick, I hope you have you're facts straight. Your messing with peoples lives, and livelyhoods here.

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5angel_wings(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

u guys r right wen u say it was nothing illegal.. but i know this guy personally...
i used to work with him nd he was always making sexual comments to me that i wasnt comfortable with then the next year he was my teacher at boardman nd i had to be transferred to another class because i couldnt look at him as a source of education after all the perverted things he had said to me.. it stopped once he was my teacher.. he never crossed the teacher/student line but he was definitely always out of line when he would talk to me and my minor co-workers.
he was recently married and under no circumstances should he have been texting a minor girl that was his student.. i just hope his poor wife realizes who he really is now.
i seen it coming and its at no suprise to me.

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6dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

There is more to this story then being told. Do I think what he did was wrong? Yes. But the girl is hiding something!

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7clayor(281 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

dmets, I totally agree........something provoked him. These girls today put themselves "out there" on all these websites, thinking they are cute with their pictures and tantalizing verbage, then when they are confronted, they RUN and tell. There is definitely more to the story, and Angel Wings, your comments are very conflicting, you were either a student or a co-worker, pick one.

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8angel_wings(2 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

hey clayor.. i was both. first a co-worker (at a steakhouse), at that time he was student teaching at springfield.. then when i was a senior (at boardman), he became my teacher. my stories aren't conflicting, my story's true.

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9dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I just don't get why the girl even sent a responding text back. She should have never ever sent him anything, saved the text and went to the principle of the school the next morning. There is definately something fishy here, and it does not add up. Also for angel wings, it's called sexual harrisment. If you were that uncomfortable you should have went to your GM. Honestly what job did you do at this "steakhouse" cause none that I know of hire anyone in high school. Most are at least 19.

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10city_dweller(193 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

"........something provoked him ... thinking they are cute with their pictures and tantalizing verbage then when they are confronted, they RUN and tell."

What!? Have you just time-warped from the 19th century? That's just about the oldest excuse in the book. "She made me do it." Such an allegation is nothing less than disgusting. I suppose you think women who were raped asked for it too, right?

This girl, a high school student, could do a strip tease on this teacher's desk and he would still be responsible for his own actions. He is the one with the authority; he is the adult and the one entrusted by the state to exhibit adult judgment and behavior. It is his responsibility to maintain professionalism at any cost. What if he'd gone out drinking with some of his male students? Would they have "tempted" him beyond reasonable judgment?

Even if she did instigate, it was his responsibility to say, "I'm sorry, this is inappropriate," and to cease all texting immediately. While I don't think this guy should pay for this mistake for the rest of his professional life, I certainly think a refresher course in professional ethics is in order, because if he doesn't understand his culpability in this situation, you can be certain next time it won't stop with texting.

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11dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Don't get me wrong the teacher was totally out of line. But i just think there is so much more to the story that is not being told.

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12clayor(281 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

City, I think you misunderstood me, I don't agree with his actions AT ALL, and he certainly should have known better and will pay with his job ,forever, and rightfully so. My point was that these girls now put thmselves out there on these sites on the web half-naked or more and writing things most know nothing about and when something goes terribly wrong, they AND their parents are looking for someone else to blame...I was generalizing on that part.

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13OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Yeah you were generalizing and wrongfully so. I can't believe this started to turn into speculation that it's somehow the girl's fault. You don't know this girl or what she has on the internet. Also whatever anyone has on the internet doesn't give a teacher or anyone the right to harass a person. Have you ever seen websites created by teens that are not about sex? Maybe you should ask yourself why. They do exist.

You're worried about some perv's career but not a thought to the harm this has done to the girl who reported him not to mention the girls who didn't report him. This guy's in a position of authority over these students. Maybe they feel pressure to do well for college admittance. Maybe they want to learn about math. Maybe they feel they cannot be taken seriously intellectually because their own math teacher views them as objects. Aw poor guy- the girl was clearly up to something yeah that's it.

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14clayor(281 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

And maybe they don't.....maybe they and their friends are just having fun....happens everyday.

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15OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

But clayor you cannot make that judgment. It also happens everyday that teenage girls do well in school and concentrate and think about their futures. Just because you have some prejudice against teenage girls doesn't mean you can say this particular girl was this way or that way. That's really disgusting and I hope you will rethink your views.

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16city_dweller(193 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

As my previous post indicates, I'm the last one to suggest this was in any way this girl's fault. As I said, she or anyone else, could dance naked on his desk, an it's still his responsibility to control the situation.

However, I think I can finally see what claylor is trying to say. We unfortunately live in a culture in which young women are taught from an early age that their self-worth is tied to their ability to attract men. By the time they are teen-agers, many of them won't even admit the true motivations that drive their inappropriate behavior. They think they're doing it for themselves, for their own sense of identity, when it's really to meet a male-centered ideal of what is attractive. They engage in risky behavior and sacrifice any sense of modesty or propriety for the sake of attracting the attention of men.

It's actually quite a complex paradox. We don't want to suggest women need to police their behavior because men can't control themselves. That's just a sexist and outdated way to blame the victim and absolve men of responsibility. Women should be able to dress and act however they want without consequence. However, it's equally important to teach women that their sole purpose in life is not to seek sexual approval of men by dressing provocatively and engaging in risky behavior.

Mind you, I'm not suggesting this particular girl did either of those, but in general, there is a pattern among high school and college-age women of objectifying themselves in the name of "having fun", and that isn't healthy for them or for the men who learn to expect unfettered accessibility to women.

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17clayor(281 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Ohio, I fully understand that most girls do well to further themselves and are very interested in their education and what it means, but what I am saying is that a lot of kids, both boys and girls, go to these websites like My Space and My Face, and put themselves "out there", thinking only their friends are looking, totally oblivious to the scope of the net. They think they are kidding around with another kid, and sometimes they are not. I am an educator and I do see the value in kids, I also see the dark side.

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18OhioPerson(76 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I understand what clayor is saying too but he's saying it *in response to this incident.*

Clayor said, referring to the teacher, "something provoked him."

Blamed the girl, made an assumption about what she put on the internet... I just think it's really wrong.

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19FormerResident(1 comment)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I knew this teacher personally, I have a very hard time believing that the details of this incident are valid. I hope that this is being investiged throughly and fairly.

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