UPDATE: Fargo South teacher accused of inappropriate behavior suspended without pay
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A Fargo South High School English teacher is now suspended without pay after an investigation was done by Fargo Public Schools.
The School Board made that decision during a special meeting held Tuesday, April 5, to discuss Kevin Kennedy’s future with the school district. According to the school board memo, Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi recommended the discharge of Kennedy. The Board voted unanimously to suspend him without pay while he goes through the discharge process. A discharge hearing will be held in the future.
Kennedy is accused of unprofessional conduct and inappropriate behavior, including unwanted physical and verbal actions involving students.
The investigation was opened after the school district received a complaint on March 10, reporting Kennedy had “crossed boundaries” with students and created an uncomfortable learning environment. According to the school district report, Kennedy admitted to asking a student whether or not they had taken and sent nude photos and whether they were a virgin.
Students claim that Kennedy made inappropriate comments and that he is ‘overly’ interested in relationships between students, encouraging them to kiss.
Kennedy also teaches Theater Arts and students report feeling uncomfortable with the lack of permission from Mr. Kennedy before physically touching students. One student also claims Kennedy said there was a concern with casting because a student’s breasts were too small.
The school district’s Human Resources Officer wrote in the investigative report, “My determination is based on your inappropriate, overly personal, and highly suggestive comments to students and the act of inappropriately touching students.”
According to Kennedy’s personnel file obtained by Valley News Live, this isn’t the first time his actions have been looked into by the school district. Documents show there were memorandums conducted on January 7, 2019, November 7, 2019 and October 26, 2021.
In January 2019, the report shows there were complaints over Kennedy’s behavior. This includes a FERPA violation for talking about a student’s grades to others and for telling a student that they would work at a McDonald’s forever. In November 2019, Kennedy was given a written warning after someone complained about him calling a student in front of others and asking if they had ADHD. The warning referenced the previous complaints and that an investigation found both claims to be accurate. In October 2021, Kennedy was accused of inappropriately touching a student by giving them a back massage.
We have reached out to Kennedy and have not heard back from him yet. The full report can be found here.
Kennedy is also an instructor at Trollwood Performing Arts School. Trollwood stated that Kennedy’s participation in the program will be subject to the determination of the discharge for cause process.
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