KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A high school teacher in Kansas City is under investigation, accused of sending inappropriate messages to students.

The teacher works at Center High School in the Center School District, located in south Kansas City.

The district said it placed the teacher on administrative leave as it continues to investigate the allegations.

Center School District sent the following message to parents Friday:

We want to make you aware that a Center High School teacher was placed on leave following allegations of inappropriate communication with a student.  Upon notification, the teacher was placed on leave and the appropriate authorities were notified.  At this time the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services is investigating the allegations, and the district is fully cooperating.  We understand that staff, students and parents want as much information as possible.  We will share information with our school community when we are able, as we share your concern for the safety of our students.  

Center School District

Neighbors near the school that FOX4 spoke to Monday said they hadn’t heard about the issue. One woman was obviously concerned about the students though.

“Basically, folks that work in a school are supposed to be mentors for kids,” she said. “They’re told to trust adults, people that they look up to, people such as teachers, police, fire, and to have somebody in a position of authority that’s supposed to be mentoring and taking care of kids — it is concerning. I would imagine anyone would feel that way.” 

Jeff Menefee also lives close to the high school. He said it’s likely hard for administrators to vet all of the teachers they have in their buildings. 

“People may change throughout their careers as well, so you know it happens, and that’s horrible,” Menefee said. “But you know, that’s society, and you deal with it appropriately, and you vet them the best that you can.”

The school district will not release the teacher’s name. There’s no word whether the teacher could come back to work, depending on the investigation from the Missouri Department of Social Services.

“We can’t talk about individual cases. It’s confidential by statute,” Sara Smith, the deputy director of the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, said Monday in an interview with FOX4.

Smith said reporting incidents of inappropriate behavior are everyone’s responsibility though. 

“It takes a community to help and make calls when they have concerns whether it be in a home environment, in a daycare, in a school. It really takes a network to make sure that concerns are reported,” she said.

Another spokeswoman for the department said if you see something, call the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-392-3738. That number’s staffed 24/7. 

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