Yokota Middle School teacher placed on administrative leave
May 27, 2007
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A Yokota Middle School teacher at the center of an investigation over the alleged viewing of “inappropriate photos” on a school computer he used has been placed on administrative leave, DODDS officials said Friday.
Dr. Nancy Bresell, Department of Defense Dependents Schools- Pacific director, declined to discuss specifics about the teacher but said such actions are a matter of policy when allegations of impropriety surface.
“They’re sent home until we’ve concluded the investigation,” she said during a conference call that included Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, the U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander. “We do take all comments and concerns raised by parents and other individuals very seriously. We’re looking into every allegation,” Bresell said. “We’ll continue to work this until we get it resolved and then take the appropriate action.”
The alleged incident was reported to Yokota Middle School administrators on May 1. However, the teacher wasn’t put on administrative leave until sometime after May 14, when a public meeting was held to address the handling of the situation.
“All factors are being looked at concerning this incident and whether it should’ve been handled differently,” Bresell said. “We take every incident and we study it and look at how we could’ve responded better. Timelines are one aspect we’re going to look at closely in this case.”
During the May 14 town hall meeting, DODDS-Japan Superintendent Bruce Derr said the investigation had not revealed any inappropriate content on the computer in question.
After the town hall meeting, a two-person Department of Defense Education Activity team — one from Pacific Command headquarters and another from Guam — was brought in to conduct a follow-up investigation, Derr said Friday.
Bresell said they wrapped up their investigation Thursday after holding multiple interviews. She’s expecting to receive a report with recommendations next week.
“We cannot afford to rush to judgment. We will want for the proper authorities to go through a review of the allegations,” Wright said. “There was a lot of emotion in that town hall meeting, but there are facts to be worked. We don’t want to wrongly accuse a teacher.” The health and safety of students remains DODDS’ top priority, Bresell added.