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Broken Trust: Facebook Preview

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -- When parents send their children off to school each morning, they're trusting the men and women at the front of the classroom to responsibly care for and guide them. A rising number of teachers are getting caught breaking that trust.

Since the beginning of 2010, investigators have arrested a disturbing number of educators in Iowa for having inappropriate relations with a student. In the past four months, teachers in Waterloo, Dubuque, Anamosa, Olin, and Belmond have been charged with some form of sexual misconduct with a student. We wanted to know, is this behavior actually happening more often, and are schools doing enough to protect your son or daughter?

Jones County Chief Deputy Sheriff Greg Graver was in charge of a recent teacher arrest in Olin. In that case, like many in recent years, Graver depended on phone records to make his case.

"Several years ago, without the texting, without the cell phones, these cases were more of a "he said, she said" case. They were difficult to prosecute because there was obviously no evidence, a lot of times there were no witnesses," said Graver.

But just as technology provides black and white evidence, Graver believes it may also be behind the increase of unethical student-teacher relations.

"Now, texting is so discreet, what may start off as minor discussions back and forth end up developing into inappropriate communication, and then lead to inappropriate contact with teachers and students," Graver said.

Which makes it even more important for school districts to do a thorough background check on all of their employees.  But looking into someone's past can't always determine if they will offend in the future.

Sunday on KWWL News at 10:00, we'll explain how schools are working to keep bad teachers out of the classroom.  Plus, learn why public awareness is key for preventing educator misconduct.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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