An Iowa substitute teacher accused of having sex with a teenage student is now blaming the school for “allowing” the relationship to grow.
After being released from the Linn County Jail, teacher Mary Beth Haglin, 24, told the media that school officials were fully aware of her budding relationship with a 17-year-old boy but did nothing to intervene.
Haglin agreed that her relationship was wrong but insists the school allowed the relationship to continue. She claims officials first asked her about the situation in February but did little all the way to May when she was finally reassigned to another school.
Haglin was transferred from Washington High School on May 17 and sent to Harrison Elementary, Oak Ridge, and Prairie Creek intermediate by the end of the month.
“From April 17 to May 17, they knew and certainly probably longer than that, probably since February when they first questioned me,” Haglin told CBS 2 in Cedar Rapids.
Haglin also insists she was not barred from the high school campus.
“They didn’t ban me,” she said. “They never actually said they were banning me from school grounds, they never said they were banning me from working at any other school, they never said they were banning me from thus-and-so many feet of any school. They never said any of that.”
“I do take responsibility. I’m not shying away from this. I’m facing this head on,” Haglin told KCRG TV.
For its part, the district insists that it does not have the role to fire substitutes and that substitute teachers are managed by a separate substitute placement system. The school also says it did its duty and alerted the substitute system about Haglin’s behavior.
Marcia Hughes, Community Relations supervisor for Cedar Rapids Community School District, released a statement to explain the process:
The District does not relay any allegations to the substitute placement system because the District is required by law to keep information of that nature confidential. If there are concerns about a substitute teacher, the District notifies the substitute placement system that the substitute teacher should be removed from the system. Typically, when a substitute teacher is removed from the substitute placement system, notification of the removal is provided by the attendance center to the substitute placement system.
In this case, the substitute placement system was notified by the attendance center on May 18. However, follow-up did not occur to confirm that the substitute was removed from the system entirely. This confirmation would come from the District Department of Human Resources. The District currently is taking steps to improve the District’s Human Resources forms and communication processes to address this so that this will not occur in the future.
Haglin could face up to two years in prison for the sexual exploitation of a student by a school employee. If convicted, she would also be placed on the Iowa sex offender registry for ten years.
She will next appear in court on August 12 and will face an arraignment on September 1.
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