Board Pulls Ex-Wahlert Teacher's License

By Hinga, Allie | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), April 24, 2018 | Go to article overview

Board Pulls Ex-Wahlert Teacher's License


Hinga, Allie, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


A state board determined that a former Dubuque teacher developed "inappropriately personal" relationships with three female students last school year.

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners suspended the teaching license of Michael Mahoney, 43, for a minimum of three years. He must undergo a mental health evaluation before he can have it reinstated, according to recently released board documents.

In a proposed decision then approved by the state board, administrative law Judge Margaret LaMarche wrote that there was not evidence that Mahoney, then a teacher at Wahlert Catholic High School, intended to develop sexual or romantic relationships with the girls.

However, his actions "crossed appropriate professional boundaries between teacher and students," LaMarche wrote.

The students' names have not been released. Calls to Mahoney and his attorney were not returned Monday.

Incidents

Board documents state that one student said she met with Mahoney for about an hour a week during the fall of 2016 and communicated with him via text message and Snapchat after school.

She reported multiple incidents that school year, including one in which Mahoney texted her while she was in choir and told her to come to his classroom. He took the student into a nearby computer lab, started crying and put his hand on her knee, board documents state.

"(She) recalled that (Mahoney) had told her that she was the reason he got out of bed in the morning and that he was in a dark hole that only she could get him out of," the documents state.

Mahoney admitted he touched the student on the knee, but he said it was accidental and that he apologized, according to the board documents. He also said it was the student who asked to talk with him that day.

The student eventually stopped responding to Mahoney's text messages and started walking a different way to class so she didn't pass his classroom.

She eventually told her parents about what had happened.

Another student reported she would meet with Mahoney and share some of the problems she was having and that Mahoney also would talk with her about his personal issues. The student reported that at one time, Mahoney shared a poem about "his hurt feelings when a student who had been close to him at one point no longer talked to him."

"After this, (the student) tried not to talk to (Mahoney) as much because she did not want him to rely on her for emotional support," board documents state. …

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