FORT SUMNER, New Mexico (STPNS) -- A Fort Sumner High School female teacher is under investigation for her involvement in improper, possibly sexual, relationships with an undisclosed number of male students.
The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation by the New Mexico State Police and a concurrent investigation by the Fort Sumner Schools administration.
The identity of the teacher and the students who may have been involved have not been officially released, because no charges have not been filed in the case.
Superintendent Patricia Miller said this week that she has notified the state Public Education Department of the allegations and that a police investigation is ongoing. She said she will submit her report and the police report to the state when completed. The reports will be forwarded to the Public Education Department's Ethics Bureau for review. The Ethics Bureau handles licensure and certification of teachers and would conduct a potential license revocation hearing, Miller said.
?In situations like this, even if police charges are not filed and there is evidence of a breach of professional ethics, the Ethics Bureau may revoke or suspend an educator's license,? Miller said.
The Superintendent said that an arrest and subsequent conviction are not required for the suspension or revocation of a teaching license.
?Behaviors that are considered unethical may cause an educator to lose his or her license, even though no criminal charges are filed,? Miller said. A teacher accused of unethical conduct also has the option of voluntarily relinquishing a license rather than face a revocation hearing, she said.
Miller said she could not provide additional information on the matter while it is under investigation.
?The investigation is not completed and I prefer not to comment until the report is completed,? Miller said.
Editor's note ? While the name of the teacher and the names of male students suspected to have been involved have been widely rumored throughout the community, the De Baca County News has chosen not to make them public at this point in the investigation.
An administrative action, such as a decision not to renew a teaching contract, or the filing of criminal charges, will be required before the decision is made to publish these name(s) editorially.
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