Rock Hill chief wants investigation wrap up soon

Published 10:12 am Thursday, April 7, 2011

PEDRO — Rock Hill Superintendent Wes Hairston wants to have the situation concerning allegations about a district teacher resolved shortly.

“I hope to have it pretty well finalized in the next couple of weeks,” Hairston said. “A lot will be determined by interviews with him.”

Recently a high school teacher was placed on administrative leave as the district and the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation on allegations that the teacher had pornographic material on his school computers.

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The allegations arose after two students were left unsupervised and were discovered engaging in sexual activity on the campus during school hours.

The district began an internal investigation but soon called in the sheriff’s office as the incident involved juveniles.

During that investigation it was alleged that the teacher had viewed pornography on the computers during school hours.

“I was notified of what the allegations were and I immediately turned it over,” Hairston said. “I will continue to follow due process procedures.”

According to a statement by LCSO detective Aaron Bollinger who interviewed the teacher in the presence of his lawyer, the teacher admitted to viewing “inappropriate material” on the computers during his workday approximately once a week. However he said it had been a few weeks since he had done so.

Hairston asked the sheriff’s office to have the teacher’s computers analyzed by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless said that analysis would focus on whether there were any illegal images that had been downloaded. He expected that investigation to take 30 days.

This is the first disciplinary issue involving the teacher, who came to the district in 1998, that Hairston is aware of. And the superintendent called the students being left unsupervised an isolated incident.

“Teachers understand it is their responsibility that students are not to be left unsupervised,” Hairston said.

The Rock Hill school board has a special meeting scheduled for Monday. However Hairston said determining what action will be taken on this teacher is not on the agenda.

“There will be a special meeting on this at some point,” he said.