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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • NHS teacher subject of inquiry

  • A Neosho High School teacher is under investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text and Facebook messages to minor students.
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  • A Neosho High School teacher is under investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text and Facebook messages to minor students.
    Ken Copeland, Newton County Sheriff, said he could not release the name of the suspect, though he did confirm that allegations had been brought against an NHS teacher.
    Copeland said a search warrant was served at that teacher’s home on Tuesday, and items were taken for further investigation.
    “We obtained a computer and a telephone,” Copeland said.
    He said those items have been turned over to the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force.
    The Neosho R-5 School Board held a closed session meeting at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21, pursuant to Section 610.021 of the Missouri Sunshine Law, which concerns the hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of an employee.
    On Wednesday, Alma Stipp, R-5 superintendent, said she could not disclose any information on that closed session, only that it did concern a personnel issue.
    She also could not comment on the allegations brought toward the employee, or confirm that the closed session concerned those allegations.
    Brett Day, board president, said no vote was taken in the closed session meeting.
    Day said he could not comment on the allegations, including whether or not he was aware of the situation.
    Though the Neosho R-5 School District’s policy GBH, concerning staff and student relations, does not specifically prohibit teachers from interacting with students via a personal phone or social networking account, it does require that a supervisor approve such communication and that said communication serves only educational or district activity related purposes.
    “Staff members must maintain professional boundaries with students while using electronic communication regardless of whether the communication methods are provided by the district or the staff member uses his or her own personal electronic communication devices, accounts, web pages or other forms of electronic communication,” the policy states.
    Policy GBH goes on to state that electronic communication between staff members and students using a district-provided device, account or form of communication, is allowed without supervisor consent, though that communication is subject to district policies and may be monitored.
    Policy GBH was suggested by the Missouri School Board’s Association, in accordance with Missouri Senate Bill 1, which passed in September 2011. The bill amended the online communication portion of the 2011 bill, Senate Bill 54, also known as the Amy Hestir Law, which prohibited teachers from interacting with students on social networking sites, such as Facebook.
    The district approved the policy in February, though they modified it to better fit the district, and approved those revisions in their March board meeting.

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