Accused teacher quits SD2, gives up license

Senior High instructor allegedly had sexual relationship with student
2008-07-30T23:00:00Z 2011-03-09T16:55:46Z Accused teacher quits SD2, gives up licenseDIANE COCHRAN Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
July 30, 2008 11:00 pm  • 

A male teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a female student has resigned from Billings School District 2 and agreed to surrender his Montana teaching license.

Stacey Rambold taught business and technology at Senior High last school year. He worked for the district for four years.

Allegations surfaced in April that he engaged in a monthslong sexual relationship with one of his students, a ninth-grader who was 14 years old when the relationship allegedly began.

"I am pleased Mr. Rambold has resigned, surrendering any rights to future employment with Billings public schools," district Superintendent Jack Copps said Wednesday. "I'm also very pleased he surrendered his Montana teaching certificate."

"Mr. Rambold did the right thing," Copps said.

Neither Rambold nor his attorney returned calls seeking comment. An investigation by the Billings Police Department into whether his conduct warrants criminal charges is ongoing.

Forfeiting his license should mean Rambold will not be able to teach in other states.

According to the state Office of

Public Instruction, when OPI receives a surrendered license from an educator, the superintendent reports the surrender and the circumstances first to the Montana Board of Public Education and then to the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.

The record of that report is available to any other jurisdiction where the educator may seek a license.

An educator who has surrendered his license in Montana may apply for relicensure in the future. The Office of Public Instruction evaluates each application for licensure individually and according to the facts of each case.

Since 2002, 20 people have lost or given up Montana teaching licenses, according to OPI. There are 26,000 licensed educators in the state.

Copps said there were no conditions attached to Rambold's resignation.

He was paid for the entire 2007-2008 academic year, which ended before a district investigation into the allegations was completed late last month. He will be paid for sick leave he accrued during his district employment.

Rambold declined to participate in the investigation, conducted for SD2 by a retired school administrator. It concluded that it was "more likely than not" that Rambold and the student had sex on and off school grounds multiple times during the 2007-2008 school year.

The "more likely than not" standard is a benchmark used by SD2 to determine if educators should be disciplined. It is a lower standard than would be required for criminal charges.

After receiving the investigative report, SD2's board of trustees asked the Montana Board of Public Education to consider revoking Rambold's teaching license. The state board was scheduled to decide whether to accept the request at its September meeting.

Copps planned to ask trustees to initiate termination proceedings against Rambold if he did not lose or forfeit his license by the time school began in August.

Rambold, who is in his late 40s, was placed on paid leave in April after the student told a church counselor that she "had an affair" with a teacher. The counselor told a pastor, who notified the girl's mother. The mother called police.

When he was confronted by SD2 administrators, Rambold denied that he'd had sex with a student but did not ask which student was accusing him, according to the district investigation.

Included in the 72-page district report are handwritten notes from the girl to Rambold in which she advises him to "say I liked you, I put the makes on you, you rejected me and now I'm making you pay."

"Personally, I think it would be in your best interest to deny it all, call me a liar," she wrote. "The last thing I want to see is you in prison 4 the next 5-10 years."

The girl's allegations marked the third time Rambold was accused of improper conduct toward students.

In 2004, students complained that he went into a girls' locker room after a basketball game without warning and that he inappropriately touched female students.

The other complaint was made after an activities trip that Rambold chaperoned. A student accused him of opening a hotel room door wearing only a towel.

SD2 took action both times, first barring Rambold from coaching girls sports and then requiring a female chaperone to accompany him on school trips.

Contact Diane Cochran at dcochran@billingsgazette.com or 657-1287.

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