A junior high teacher and assistant high school girls’ track coach with Washington Local Schools has resigned over allegations he exchanged sexual text messages with one of the girls on his team.
Matthew Warner, 25, of Toledo, was placed on administrative leave April 21, two days after another student alerted a high school teacher another student was “sexting” with the track coach. Mr. Warner resigned within hours of being placed on leave, district officials said.
According to an Educator Misconduct Reporting Form the district filed with the Ohio Department of Education, Mr. Warner admitted he had engaged in inappropriate communication with the student off and on for about a year. The conversations started with messages about practice times and “snowballed” into flirtation, the document said. Mr. Warner told district officials that the girl twice sent him nude photographs of herself.
The girl’s name was not made public. Nancy Brenton, the district’s human resources director, declined to provide the girl’s age or grade in an effort to protect her identity and comply with laws that protect student records from public disclosure.
The student who reported the messaging to school officials said Mr. Warner and the victim had not had a physical relationship. According to the report contained in his personnel file, Mr. Warner also told district officials he and the girl had never been alone together and that his interaction with her at track functions remained professional. The misconduct report said Mr. Warner told the teen the two could begin a physical relationship after she turned 18.
In a statement, Washington Local said it is “deeply committed to the prevention of all misconduct in its schools, and vigorously enforces its policies against misconduct of all kinds.”
The district said Toledo Police officials are investigating the matter. No one within the department’s special victims unit could be reached Wednesday for additional information on the case.
Mr. Warner did not return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment. He was hired in June 2008 as a seventh-grade teacher at Jefferson Junior High School. He coached track all three years he spent with Washington Local, starting with the junior high track team. He moved up to the freshman track team last year and was promoted to assistant girls’ track coach at Whitmer High School this year.
The teaching job at Jefferson was Mr. Warner’s first. A review of his personnel file showed Mr. Warner received consistently good marks in his annual performance reviews. “Mr. Warner maintains professionalism throughout his job,” a reviewer wrote in March.
His salary, including pay for his coaching duties, was to be $42,642 this year.
Ms. Brenton and Assistant Superintendent Cherie Mourlam both declined any further comment on the matter.
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