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Published: Tuesday, 6/10/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Sylvania teacher exits amid probe of relationship

BY NATALIETRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
DeBeukelaer DeBeukelaer
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Sylvania Schools elementary visual arts teacher Tressa DeBeukelaer has resigned her position at Stranahan Elementary because of a school investigation into an alleged relationship she had with a high school student, reports indicate.

The Board of Education accepted Ms. De-Beukelaer’s resignation during its meeting Monday afternoon.

The school file on Ms. DeBeukelaer indicates the school was investigating her because she was “alleged to have engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old male Sylvania high school student.”

The school’s misconduct report, sent to the Ohio Department of Education’‍s Office of Professional Conduct on June 6, also indicates the probe revealed “allegations of drug use by minor students” in the teacher’s Sylvania home, as well as “inappropriate social media communications with minor high school students.”

The report states that the teacher, 40, resigned under the threat of termination or nonrenewal because of the course of the investigation. State law indicates school officials can refuse to license a teacher or school official for “engaging in an immoral act, incompetence, negligence, or conduct that is unbecoming to the applicant’s or person’s position.”

Ms. DeBeukelaer declined to comment on the allegations.

The school has concluded its investigation, said Scott Nelson, assistant superintendent. The student faces no consequences.

“At this point, our part of the process is done. The Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Misconduct will continue investigating the allegations in relationship to her licensure,” he said. He noted the reported incidents are still allegations and Ms. DeBeukelaer resigned of her own will.

In April, a student alerted the district about the possible romantic relationship between the teen and teacher. The district notified Sylvania Police and Lucas County Children Services. Nancy Crandell, a school spokesman, said district administrators believe the two met after school hours. The were from different school buildings.

Sylvania police Capt. Rick Schnoor said the male student is over the age of consent, which is 16 in Ohio, and that the teacher had no authority over the student. Thus, no illegal actions took place, and no charges were filed. The school conducted its own investigation into the matter.

Ms. DeBeukelaer was initially placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. School officials said she was hired in 2010 at Southview High School, and then transferred to Stranahan a year later. She was a full-time employee.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.



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