BROWNSTOWN, Mich. (WJBK) - Graduation underway Tuesday at Brownstown Woodhaven High School. But that celebration is overshadowed by the suspension of a popular teacher for alleged inappropriate conduct.
"You hear it on the news sometimes and you're like, wow, that's unfortunate, but you wouldn't expect it at your own high school," said Lathan Thomas. "It's ridiculous, honestly."
Thomas, 16, is a student at Woodhaven, surprised by the news he and his parents received from the school Tuesday that a teacher is under investigation for alleged inappropriate sexting and touching involving two of her 17-year-old students.
"I don't know how someone could do something, especially as a teacher," Thomas said. "These are your students. I understand you might be friendly with them, but that's extra, that’s a lot."
Brownstown police say it's alleged the 36-year-old teacher was sexting with the two students - who are friends, but one boy became uncomfortable and reported the behavior to a school social worker last week.
"It seemed like it was a friendly relationship at first with the teacher," said Dep. Chief Robert Matthews, Brownstown police. "And then she started presenting it as more and more and then he became uncomfortable with it. When the touching happened, that student became very unhappy with it."
It is alleged that touching happened at this school. The Woodhaven-Brownstown District Superintendent Mark Greathead releasing this statement:
"We are investigating a personnel issue, an allegation of inappropriate conduct by one of our high school teachers. We are cooperating with Brownstown Police Department. We understand that they are investigating as well.
"From the school district, this is being investigated by the school district's attorney and human resources department.
"We are cooperating with Brownstown Police Department and have provided them with the investigation materials we have, to date."
Police have just begun their investigation while parents say they received phone calls from the school Tuesday morning and are confident it will be handled appropriately.
"They notified every parent and said if you have any concerns come right in and talk to us about it - we're going to handle it," said parent Elka Gaston.
Police say the teacher was suspended on Friday pending the outcome of the investigation. What they're investigating is a felony.
"It's exactly why the law is there," Matthews said. "For these teachers in a position of authority that influence children and we want to make sure that the children are safe in the environment at school."