SALEM - The case of a former Salem high school teacher who resigned last month after being investigated for an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old female student is now in the hands of state education officials.
Salem Superintendent Tom Bratten said he received notice from the state on Friday that "the case has been reviewed in its entirety and they will be launching an investigation on their end."
The Ohio Department of Education's Office of Professional Conduct investigates allegations against teachers that may involve conduct unbecoming the teaching profession or criminal conduct. If determined it's warranted, disciplinary action can result, including suspension or revocation of a license to teach.
Brian D'Angelo, 42, of Poland, had taught social studies and did some coaching for the Salem district since being hired in 2003, but was placed on paid administrative leave on March 20, the day allegations were made by some of the female student's classmates and brought to the attention of school officials.
During the criminal investigation of the allegations, Salem Police Detective Dave Talbert said biological evidence linked D'Angelo to the girl's bedroom, but they ended up closing the case because the girl refused to disclose any criminal conduct by the teacher. Talbert said the case could be reopened if new information came to light.
D'Angelo resigned effective Aug. 18, a move which was accepted by the school board. At the board's special meeting regarding the resignation, Bratten said the former teacher's personnel file and the investigative file related to the allegations would be sent to the Ohio Department of Education Office for Professional Conduct, as required by law.
He confirmed Tuesday that the information was sent to the state and he received the notice back from the state last week.
When contacted earlier last week, John Charlton, ODE Associate Director of Communications, said he couldn't confirm or deny whether there was an investigation of allegations against the teacher, saying that nothing becomes public until a disciplinary hearing is placed on the schedule or the disciplinary action is taken.
He said the process of investigation usually includes talking with everyone involved and at some point that would include a conversation with the educator. If it gets to the point where disciplinary action is decided, the discipline could range from a formal letter of admonishment to suspension of the teaching license for a set period or permanent revocation of a license, barring the person from ever teaching in Ohio.
The ODE website includes eight principles teachers are expected to follow according to the licensure code. One of the principles says "Educators shall maintain a professional relationship with all students at all times, both in and out of the classroom."
Information about the Office of Professional Conduct and how it operates can be found on the ODE website at education.ohio.gov. Click on teachers, then educator conduct. Information on a teacher's licensing can also be found there by going to educator conduct search and typing in the teacher's name.