Cloquet teacher placed on administrative leave
Two Cloquet High School teachers are under investigation after accusations surfaced on social media.
Cloquet High School teacher Dustin Randall has been placed on administrative leave from teaching and coaching, according to Steve Battaglia, high school principal.
Randall teaches advanced biology and college-in-the-schools human anatomy and physiology, said Battaglia. Randall was placed on paid administrative leave after the school district became aware of alleged misconduct that surfaced on social media in August, said Cloquet Superintendent Michael Cary.
Randall is also the head coach for the varsity girls soccer team. He was put on leave Sunday, Aug. 23 from coaching and Thursday, Aug. 27 from his teaching position, Battaglia said.
Randall is on paid leave because the district assumes people are innocent until proven guilty, Cary said.
District officials have not received a formal complaint about the allegations.
“We are only aware of messages on Facebook," said Cary, who said he could not comment on the nature of the investigation due to data privacy laws.
According to a data request submitted by the Pine Journal, the school district is investigating complaints against Randall and Richard Rhoades, an industrial technology teacher. Rhoades has not been placed on leave.
There have been no other complaints against Randall, according to the data request.
In May 2014, the district received complaints that Rhoades gave students rides home after activities, hugged students, was alone with a student in his office, had a female student sit on his lap, took a photo with a female student where his arm was around her hips and asked another student to delete a photo showing Rhoades with his arm around a student.
Those complaints were investigated, and the district disciplined Rhoades in June 2014 by suspending him for five days without pay, according to the data request. He also had to follow specific conditions when he interacted with students, including not being allowed to touch students unless it was part of the lesson or to prevent them from harming themselves or others; leaving the door to his office open if students are present and class is not in session; and to comply with the district's transportation policy, among others.
Cary said the complaints against Rhoades appear to be related to the situation that was investigated in 2014. He added that the investigators are reviewing the current information to see if there is a new complaint unrelated to the one from 2014.
Rupp, Anderson, Squires and Waldspurger is investigating the allegations for the school district. The firm told Cary that it could not provide a timeframe for how long the investigation will take, he said.
As far as Cary is aware, law enforcement is not involved in the investigation.
“There is not any evidence a crime has been committed,” he said.
Messages left for Randall, Rhoades and the student who posted the allegations on social media were not returned.
Reporter Jamey Malcomb contributed to this story.