Senior High teacher investigated

2008-04-29T23:00:00Z Senior High teacher investigatedLAURA TODE Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
April 29, 2008 11:00 pm  • 

A Senior High teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave following allegations of a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student, according to Jack Copps, the superintendent of Billings School District 2.

Copps said Tuesday that the business and technology teacher, Stacey Rambold, has denied the allegations and will not be allowed on school property until an independent investigation is complete.

The Billings Police Department is conducting its own investigation into the allegations, said Police Sgt. Kevin Iffland.

Copps said he has been told that a relationship occurred earlier in the school year. The allegation was brought to the attention of district officials by the girl's mother, who heard of it from one of her daughter's friends, Copps said.

"We should have enough information by the end of the week to decide whether or not to return the teacher to the classroom," Copps said.

Rambold, who is apparently in his late 40s, was the adviser to the Business Professionals of America Club at Senior High, an extracurricular program for students interested in careers in business and technology. Rambold could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Four years ago, when Rambold first started teaching at Senior, at least one female student reported feeling uncomfortable after contact with Rambold. The incident was investigated and Rambold was cautioned by the school's principal, Copps said.

On Tuesday, Copps met with Senior High staff and faculty to quell rumors and encourage them to support the investigations.

If there is enough evidence to support dismissing the teacher, the decision will go to the school board for a hearing. The matter would also be reported to the Montana Board of Public Education, which would conduct its own investigation and hearing to possibly suspend or revoke the teacher's license.

Because the burden of proof is less than would be expected by the courts, it is possible the teacher could lose his job in SD2 even if no charges are filed.

Contact Laura Tode at ltode@billingsgazette.com or 657-1392.

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