Dakota Ridge High teacher under investigation for throwing a chair

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By Deborah Swearingen

A teacher at Dakota Ridge High School is facing disciplinary action after throwing a chair in frustration during a study hall class.

“No students were injured, but the incident was quite alarming,” said Jim Jelinek, principal at Dakota Ridge, in a letter sent home to parents. “This sort of behavior by a teacher is unacceptable. (The teacher) is facing disciplinary action and will be apologizing to the class (Thursday).”

The incident happened on Wednesday and Jeffco Public Schools found out about it the following day, according to spokeswoman Diana Wilson. An investigation into the incident began immediately.

The teacher, who has not been identified, finished up the week at school in order to apologize and handle matters with a senior class in its final days at Dakota Ridge. But, Wilson said, he will be placed on “several days of unpaid leave” beginning Monday while the district conducts its investigation. 

“Our priority is the safety of the students and making sure our students know that this is unacceptable behavior,” Wilson said.

Jelinek echoed this thought in his letter to parents.

“As you know, Dakota Ridge values respect and ethical behavior,” he wrote. “This is not the type of environment we want for our students.”

In addition to determining whether further disciplinary action should be taken, Jeffco Public Schools hopes to learn the cause of the teacher’s frustration. 

“Nothing’s ever simple,” Wilson said. “And it shouldn’t be.”

She called the behavior “uncharacteristic” of the teacher and noted that several people reached out to the district in support of the teacher.

While student safety is the top priority of the district, Wilson said, Jeffco Public Schools also prioritizes taking care of its staff members.

“Obviously, he’s very frustrated,” she added.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.