Winnetonka students shocked by coach’s departure over alleged inappropriate Twitter messages

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A North Kansas City high school student body is shocked amidst allegations that a teacher and coach sent inappropriate Twitter messages to underage female students.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the Winnetonka High School teacher for what the North Kansas City School District is calling “inappropriate use of social media.”

A district representative would not name the teacher, and although FOX 4 learned his name through our investigation, we are not naming him either because he’s not yet been criminally charged.

The district representative would not expand on what was considered “inappropriate” about his online behavior, but FOX 4 dug deeper into the allegations and obtained screen shots of several direct messages on Twitter, purportedly between the teacher at the center of the investigation and an underage female student.

The screenshots included suggestive messages from the teacher and sexually explicit pictures and video clips it appears he sent her, dating as far back as this summer.

Former and current Winnetonka students tell FOX 4 they believe there are other underage girls who have received similar messages from the same teacher.

“I’m shocked and surprised for the coach to do something like that,” said Dominique Lowery, a senior. “I thought he was a cool dude. I mean, I wasn’t expecting someone like him to do that.”

Tyree Ward, who graduated this past May from Winnetonka, said he was a student in this teacher’s class, and he is disappointed such allegations have surfaced.

“That’s pretty messed up,” Ward said. “ You’re a teacher. You got one job. Your job is to help others be successful… I didn’t see it coming.”

While no charges have been filed yet, a representative with the Sheriff’s Office said detectives could soon submit their case to the county prosecutor.

School officials declined an on-camera interview Thursday, but Winnetonka’s Principal Matt Lindsey sent this message to parents:

“Good afternoon. This is Matt Lindsey, principal from Winnetonka High School. I need to inform you that allegations have recently surfaced about a staff member’s inappropriate use of social media. We are taking these allegations very seriously, and the employee is no longer on campus. Local law enforcement and other agencies are conducting an investigation and we are cooperating with their efforts. Winnetonka High School has high expectations for its staff and students. I can assure you our goal is to foster a safe and secure learning environment.”

A North Kansas City School District spokesperson told FOX 4 on Friday that the teacher, who taught physical education, has officially resigned.

FOX 4’s Katie Banks went to a listed address for the accused teacher to get his side of the story Thursday evening. A woman who answered the door slammed it when Banks introduced herself as a reporter.

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