‘Inappropriate’ photos of high school student found on teacher’s phone; 6 Rocky River staff members leave amid investigation

‘Inappropriate’ photos of high school student found on teacher’s phone; 6 Rocky River staff members

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WOIO) - Six teachers from Rocky River High School are off the job, following an investigation into alleged inappropriate behavior.

The superintendent for Rocky River schools released a video message regarding the investigation involving several of the district’s teachers.

According to Superintendent Michael Shoaf, five teachers submitted their resignations and one has retired amid the alleged actions and inappropriate discussions about a female high school student.

“In lieu of a lengthy employment termination process, the departure of these six staff members provides our school district with the swiftest route, without litigation, to provide 100% certainty that these individuals will not return to a Rocky River City School District classroom,” Shoaf said during the video message.

Video message from Rocky River Schools superintendent

Over the course of the investigation, Shoaf says fully-clothed, yet “inappropriate,” photographs of the female student were found on one of the teacher’s phone.

“Taking a picture of a student for personal reasons is definitely unacceptable” says Mike Loparo, who currently has a daughter at Rocky River High School, along with two others who graduated from there.

The school district says the photos were taken in the classroom and violated the school board’s policy.

“Let us be clear. The Rocky River City School District holds our staff to the highest professional and ethical standards and anything less than this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Shoaf stated. “If the safety of a student is in question, it is the professional and ethical obligation of our staff members to report that situation to the proper individuals.”

Additionally, Shoaf says three Rocky River Schools staff members and two teachers were involved in an inappropriate text chain involving other faculty. The text chain did not include photographs of the student.

“Those staff members were immediately removed from campus,” Shoaf stated. “Subsequently, of these five teachers, four have resigned their employment and one has retired.”

Lopano says the teacher responsible for taking those pictures should have lost their job, but he has mixed feelings about the others who resigned.

“I don’t know that lumping them in with a possible violation of a child is a really fair sort of judgment” he says.

The school district says the sixth staff member that left the district amid the ongoing investigation resigned after a former Rocky River Schools student expressed concern with district officials regarding past inappropriate communication in the past.

Shoaf says the Rocky River Police Department and courts have been made aware of the photographs and the manner in which they were taken. Findings will also be shared with the Ohio Department of Education to determine if a review of the teachers’ licensure is necessary.

This is a developing story.

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