I-Team: New records revealed in Rocky River High School teacher investigation

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ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WJW) — The Rocky River School District has released new records to the FOX 8 I-Team including an explosive recording tied to investigations into 6 teachers at the high school.

The new release of records comes after the I-Team requested the full file from the internal investigation.

Last week, 5 teachers resigned and 1 retired in the midst of internal and criminal investigations surrounding talk of an explicit picture of a female student taken by a teacher and an “inappropriate” photo of a student on a teacher’s phone.

The records just turned over include recorded phone interviews of a former student conducted by school district officials.

That student says one teacher involved once hugged her and kissed her cheek. And, she says the same teacher also once referred to her being “hot” and “sexy” during a classroom learning exercise. She said she felt, “very uncomfortable.”

The District also has now released the letters the teachers submitted in giving up their jobs.

All of the letters are similar. They are short and just acknowledge retiring or resigning. They all also include a line about how much each teacher “enjoyed” working for Rocky River Schools.

And, the District has released documents sent to the Ohio Department of Education to review the matter.

The state could, at some point, take action against the certifications of the teachers which could affect them if they tried to get another teaching job somewhere.

The referrals to the state all indicate the teachers left their positions in the midst of an investigation into an “act unbecoming the teaching profession.”

However, Rocky River Schools have not released documents to other records requested by the I-Team in recent weeks which would shed more light on what happened and how it was handled by the district.

No explicit picture of a teen has ever been found. But, the district says “searches are ongoing” into school computers.

At the same time, investigators have not ever fully gone through the teacher phones with a full forensic examination according to a defense attorney representing one teacher.

While the internal investigation may be over, the criminal investigation is still ongoing.

Friday, the I-Team revealed the school district and lawyers for the teachers went to court to try to block the police from gathering some evidence such as statements the teachers made to supervisors.

The I-Team asked direct questions of the attorneys as they left court, and they would not comment.

Another hearing on the evidence in the criminal case is set for later this month.

We called each of the teachers involved. We left messages, or we were told, “No comment.”

However, Thursday afternoon, one of the teacher’s who’d resigned released a statement. It said,

It is with great sadness that I have decided to end my 16-year career at the Rocky River City School District (RRCSD). Unfortunately, I believe that move is necessary to eliminate the distraction caused by allegations made against me, so the Rocky River community can continue to focus on the RRCSD students’ education, which is and has always been my priority. The allegations that were made against me are separate from any related to the video of other teachers that surfaced but have become conflated in the public narrative. The fact that the district chose to associate me with the other matter has caused confusion in the community and created an environment I can no longer work in. Therefore, I have done what I have always done, put the children of the community first, and stepped down. I have fully cooperated with the internal investigation and have made it very clear that I have always strived to treat all of the RRCSD students with dignity and respect. I am comforted by the messages I received from former students and parents who have thanked me for my years of service and the positive impact I have had on their students’ lives. I am very proud of my long career at RRCSD.”

FOX 8 has not named the teachers involved since they have not been charged with a crime or punished by the state.

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