Junior high coping with aide’s arrest


    By Meghan Riding

    Students, parents and school staff are coping with the arrest of a teacher’s aide at American Fork Junior High School on Oct. 13, Principal Chuck Bearce said.

    The school was not informed of the arrest on the accusation that the teacher’s aide had sexual relations with a former student, Bearce said.

    Susan Stone, assistant superintendent of personnel for Alpine School District, said the aide was in a volunteer position in the drama department, but she is not there now.

    “She is no longer an active employee of the district,” Stone said.

    Bearce said the school is doing its best to accommodate the concerns of the students and the parents.

    Teachers were briefed before school Oct. 17, Bearce said. General information was given and teachers were told to discuss the judicial process with the students.

    Bearce said parents are concerned primarily about two areas: support for students and the state of the drama program.

    “There has been an outpouring of concern focused on the well-being of students,” he said.

    Teachers are addressing individual concerns and counselors have been brought in to talk to some small groups of students, Bearce said.

    “It’s been hard on some of the kids,” he said.

    Cristy Huff, a parent of a student at the junior high school, said she is a friend of the teacher’s aide and worked with her on some drama productions. Huff said she is surprised about the arrest, but her concern is with the students.

    “She had a good relationship with kids and she helped kids that were in trouble,” Huff said. “Students felt like they could talk with her.”

    Bearce said the school’s priority is to fill the void in the programs that the teacher’s aide taught, so students can return to some normalcy.

    Some rumors are circulating the school, but the faculty has been encouraged to not participate in the spread of rumors and to keep them to a minimum, Bearce said.

    “Rumors do not service problems,” he said.

    Huff said she is a firm believer that someone is innocent until proven guilty.

    “I’d like to believe she’s innocent,” Huff said.

    Alpine School District spokesman Michael Robinson said the he hopes the situation will be resolved after the county attorney’s report is released.

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