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Trent Elementary teacher under investigation for inappropriate behavior

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 16, 2014, 4:29 p.m.

Substitute teacher may have touched students

Trent Elementary School in the East Valley School District announced today that a substitute teacher is under investigation for putting his hands on students and “other inappropriate things.”

A sixth-grade student went to the school office at 1:45 p.m. to report that the teacher had “lost control” and was putting his hands on students, said Assistant Superintendent Tom Gresch. “Our principal immediately went down there and removed the teacher,” Gresch said.

The sixth grade students are released at 2:30 and the school counselor and Principal Frank Brou talked to as many students as possible, Gresch said. A letter about the incident was quickly prepared to send home with students. “We tried to get out as much information as we had at the time,” he said. “That individual will not be returning to Trent, to that classroom, to our district, period.”

The investigation is ongoing, but initial reports are that the man smelled of alcohol, was cursing and physically grabbed at least three students, said Spokane Valley Police Department spokesman Craig Chamberlin. He also reportedly threatened to hurt a student, Chamberlin said.

There will be an increased security presence at the school Friday to reassure students that they are safe, Gresch said. Counseling will also be available to those who need it.

Gresch said that school staff, including substitute teachers and volunteers, have to pass background checks. “This is highly unusual behavior,” he said.

The Spokane Valley Police Department is heading the investigation.