A long-time physical education teacher at East High School chose to resign this week amid a Madison School District investigation of online and social media allegations made against him by students in the past two weeks.
Gary Calhoun, who was hired in 1988, had planned to retire at the end of this school year but moved up the date “given the sensitivity and impact of this issue,” East High School Principal Mike Hernandez said in an email this week to East families and community members.
The nature of the students’ allegations was not disclosed, but they prompted a quick official response, according to Hernandez and the school district.
“East High and (district) Administration immediately began an investigation into the matter,” during which Calhoun made his decision to leave early, Hernandez said. “He has opted not to return to work. We will be securing a long-term substitute (for him) for the remainder of the year.”
“When the students brought current concerns to our attention, we immediately began to gather and review information,” district spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said in a statement. “We take allegations very seriously. When students brought these concerns to our attention, we followed district protocol and asked (Calhoun) to stay home from work while we gather and review information.”
Strauch-Nelson also confirmed that students had raised concerns about Calhoun in October as well. Hernandez then looked into those concerns and took unspecified “follow-up action” at that time, Strauch-Nelson said.
The school district and high school have now closed their investigation of the allegations, she confirmed Thursday.
“Since Mr. Calhoun has made the decision not to return to work, it is not ongoing,” Strauch-Nelson said.
She declined to release details of the investigation, such as whether it substantiated the students’ concerns, citing confidentiality of personnel and student records.
Email and phone messages left for Calhoun were not returned Thursday.
Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain on Thursday said the police are not investigating Calhoun.