Parents concerned about the welfare of their children were assured by members of the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board Monday night kids are in no danger.
A serious issue, allegedly involving a faculty member, arose Oct. 29 at Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School. An inappropriate picture of the faculty member was allegedly reported as being seen on an iPad by five students. Each iPad is password-protected, but it is possible to view a slide show of the user's recent pictures.
"We want to assure you there is not a cover up and things are not being swept under the rug, that there is an investigation going on," WDC Board Chairman Steve Techam said.
Techam added that the iPads are school property and can be checked at the discretion of school officials. He also said the board does not doubt the students.
Four days after the incident was reported, the school board said they held a closed meeting and suspended the faculty member for 10 days. The faculty member has returned to his job after serving his suspension. School administration is still investigating the incident and could not provide all of the answers parents sought at Monday's school board meeting.
"The safety of our students is our No. 1 concern, but we have to deal with this in a confidential manner," WDC School Board Member Ann Pate said. "We are legally not allowed to discuss this."
One parent suggested the accused faculty member not be in school while the investigation is in progress, and called the 10-day suspension "a slap on the wrist."
Another parent asked what kind of parental controls were available for iPads.
"If the parents want to get set up with the filters that we have at school, they can contact the school and we will help them out as much as we can," WDC Technology Director Aaron Johnson said.
Board members repeatedly said they could not respond directly to questions regarding the matter due to legal considerations.
"When the investigation is over, then it will be out in the open," WDC School Board Member Wayne Perkins said.
The iPads were issued to students as a substitute for textbooks when the 2012-2013 school year began. Faculty members received their iPads before the summer break began.
Wadena-Deer Creek Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom added Wednesday that the investigation is nearly complete.