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Father addresses teacher's 'naked' iPad photo

Some Wadena-Deer Creek parents say they are unhappy with the lack of information being provided by WDC leaders in a case involving students who allegedly saw an inappropriate photo on a teacher's iPad.

WDC Superintendent Dr. Virginia Dahlstrom, members of the District 2155 School Board and other WDC officials are citing legal concerns as the main reason behind the amount of information they have released, but some parents want answers as to what will happen to the teacher allegedly responsible for the photo.

"I've talked to a couple school board members, I get nothing," said Wayne Ament, father of one of the students who allegedly saw a nude photo of a teacher. "For a 15-year-old, it is uncomfortable to come to your parents and tell them you've seen a picture of your health teacher naked."

Ament added that it was two days before his daughters felt comfortable telling him about the alleged incident. He also said the board warned parents against speaking out.

"The school board said we could be sued too, if we said too much," he said.

In a press release sent to the Pioneer Journal, Dahlstrom identified the teacher at the center of the photo controversy as Tom VanErp, a health and physical education teacher at the middle/high school.

"The administration became aware that a teacher had personal photos on his school device which were viewed by several students," the release said. "The photo was inappropriate for a school setting and should not have been on a school device."

The release also said VanErp "was given unpaid suspension equal to 10 work days," starting Nov. 6.

WDC School Board Chairman Steve Techam declined further comment on VanErp and the alleged photo, but said he hopes the investigation comes to a swift conclusion.

"Hopefully in a few weeks it will be over," he said.

Techam also said the board is still investigating the matter.

"We believe what the students told us is correct, but we have to have all the facts," Techam said.

The Pioneer Journal made calls to a phone number believed to belong to VanErp, which went unreturned.