INDIANAPOLIS — The mother of a 12-year-old is concerned a local charter school is trying to protect its reputation instead of its students.
Dimples Bledsoe said a substitute teacher made inappropriate comments to her daughter, and she's not satisfied with the school's response. Bledsoe's daughter called her Thursday morning about the incident.
"She's screaming and crying saying to hurry up and come to get her," Bledsoe said. "She's scared and doesn't feel safe."
Bledsoe's daughter said a substitute teacher in her class kept her and another girl back in class and told her they were "pretty" and that he liked "thick girls."
"He had been saying stuff like 'they're beautiful' and 'they have big cheeks' and he loved 'girls with big dimples.'" Bledsoe's daughter said. "Playing music, trying to get them to dance for him.
Casey Dahncke, executive director of Christel House Schools, said it's not the expected interaction teachers should have with students.
"The report that we received was that he did say they were very pretty. The conversation, the tone was overly casual," Dahncke said.
Dahncke and Bledsoe said the students notified a teacher who called school principal Marian Welch.
"Our principal tried to have a conversation with him and he was argumentative with her, and she made the decision that if he couldn't interact with her appropriately, he just needed to go," Dahncke said.
Dahncke was clear that what was said to the girls was inappropriate, but he also was clear that's not why the teacher was removed from the school. He said it's because the teacher was argumentative with the principal.
"They feel like nothing is wrong, except the fact that he got smart with the principal," Bledsoe said.
Dahncke said the substitute didn't cooperate and school officials were able to determine nothing illegal happened.
"The things he was saying was very inappropriate, as well as sexual, considering these girls are 11 and 12 years old," Bledsoe said.
The Indiana Department of Child Services was called, but Dahncke said they screened out the call. Police were only called at the insistence of Bledsoe.
"He can just as easily go to another school and do the same thing to other girls," Bledsoe said.
The substitute teacher was contracted through Kelly Services. A spokesman said in a statement they conduct screening and background checks. They also conduct training, and she said the agency does not discuss specific employee information publicly.
"As far as I know, he's still employed with the agency," Dahncke said.
Kelly Services never responded when asked if the substitute teacher would be allowed to continue teaching, and neither the school nor Kelly Services would provide his name.
"If they hadn't left out of the class, it could have been way worse," Bledsoe, who is planning to meet with school officials one-on-one, said. "He could have talked these little girls into doing stuff to him."