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Teacher Placed on Leave Remains on Staff

A teacher placed on administrative leave after his appearance in an online video returned to the classroom though talks about the situation continue.

A Swampscott Midddle School teacher who was placed on administrative leave in May after his appearance in an online video ultimately returned to the classroom though discussions about the matter continue.

Superintendent Lynne Celli said today that the school administration’s actions have been guided from the start by concern for students’ well being.

"The safety of children is our first priority," she said.

Secondly, the school opted to allow the teacher to return to the classroom on advice of legal counsel, Celli said.

The teacher, who remains unnamed by the district,  returned to the classroom for the very end of the year.

The superintendent said the teacher, as a professional teaching staff member, has a contract to teach next year.

Still, talks and deliberations continue between the parties. she said.

“The administration is meeting with all parties involved,” she said.

The administration the superintendent referred to is the Middle School administration, headed by Principal Ralph Watson.

Decisions are appealable to the superintendent but the investigation was and is the responsibility of the Middle School administration.

The superintendent said she has heard from residents about the situation.

Some were concerned about anything inappropriate taking place in the classroom.

“And we take that very seriously,” she said.

Celli said she also heard from those who wanted to be sure that the teacher’s right to express himself freely be protected, so long as his expression did not interfere with his teaching.

The superintendent did not comment on the teacher’s identity, the video or its content or the specific reason why the teacher was placed on administrative leave.

The seven-minute video has been seen by numerous people in town and is available on the Internet. It was an entry in the 48-Hour Film Festival.

The festival is a speed-movie-making contest and takes place worldwide. Thousands of filmmakers are given a few movie elements upon which to build a short film.

The movie in which the Swampscott teacher appears is a comedy about two male exotic dancers.

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