SPRINGVILLE, Utah (ABC4) – A Springville High School Driver’s Education teacher has been placed on administrative leave after Nebo School District received “formal complaints” during an investigation, Lana Hiskey, Communications & Community Relations Administrator for Nebo School District tells ABC4.
Students at Springville High School held a walkout Monday in relation to complaints against the teacher, Lt. Warren Foster of the Springville Police Department, confirmed.
As of Monday, Lt. Foster said that the department has “not received any reports filed against the teacher and has little to no involvement with the investigation at that time.”
Hiskey confirmed that the following change.org petition is related to Monday’s walkout. The petition demands the removal of a Springville High School teacher for “making sexual remarks towards minors.”
According to the petition, the teacher is a Driver’s Education instructor at Springville High School. Hiskey tells ABC4 that she’s learned the teacher doesn’t want to make a statement about the situation.
According to Hiskey, at 9:15 a.m. on Monday, a group of about 125 current and former Springville High School students and parents gathered outside the school.
Current students made up about half of the group, she states. Nebo School District, which covers Springville High School, issued the following statement to ABC4:
“Nebo School District learned through social media that some students or former students have complaints against a teacher at Springville High. Student safety is of utmost importance, we take all complaints and allegations seriously. We invite individuals with specific complaints or allegations to follow the proper protocol and contact Springville High’s administrative team directly to report any concerns.”
According to Hiskey, those who took part in the walkout were very respectful, and school administration listened to them. Current students who took part in the walkout returned to class afterward, she states.
She says the first time that the district has been made known of these complaints and allegations was Monday morning, and the school has opened an investigation into the teacher.
Tiffany Shurtliff is a former student at Springville High School who took part in the walkout.
“Most of what I heard in high school was, he’s gross. If you want to pass, just wear a low cut top, wear shorts, bend over, flirt with him,” she explains.
“Basically whenever he would talk to me, he wouldn’t look at me. He would look at my breasts. He would always choose me to go to the gas station, usually once a day. We would go to the gas station to fill up one of the cars with gas. Me, and it was usually two or three other students, but he would always say that I got to sit in the front, and sometimes he would have me drive,” Shurtliff says.
Shurtliff says it wasn’t weird the first few times, but she says one time when they went to the gas station, the instructor ordered breadsticks from a pizza place attached to the gas station, looked at her, and said, “she’s buying.”
Shurtliff says she bought breadsticks for the whole car, and there were other situations where if she was buying a soda, he would put his soda at the register to have her pay for it.
“(The teacher) would sometimes make a joke and squeeze my thigh while I was driving or in the front seat or he would touch my shoulder or rub my shoulder or my neck.”
She says this has happened a few times. Shurtliff tells ABC4 that the teacher made comments about her weight too.
“I was recovering from an eating disorder that I had been dealing with by myself. I took this in the summer, so I was wearing shorts a lot. He said if you weren’t so skinny, those shorts would look better on you,” Shurtliff states.
“He said things like that all the time and kind of undermined women’s intelligence,” she says.
Shurtliff tells ABC4 that she graduated from Springville High School in 2016 and took the teacher’s class in 2014. She says that during the walkout, school administration came out and just watched.
“That is just so sad that they can’t even fire this man with all of these allegations, hundreds of allegations,” she says. “I definitely think that he should be fired. I think that he should never be allowed to teach again.”
Shurtliff says she is in the process of filing a police report against the teacher. She says she thinks times are changing and women are starting to come forward.
“There’s no way that when I was in high school, that many people would’ve walked out,” she states. “Like there is no way.”
She says after today she thinks she will be more “full-fledged” in telling her story.
“…even though I think that other people will think it’s not a big deal, it was a big deal in my life, and just because he didn’t do something so unjustifiable like rape or touch me in my private areas, he still touched me and made comments about those things, and that is sexual harassment in my eyes.”
The instructor has not been criminally charged or arrested at this time and will not be identified by ABC4 until a formal investigation by authorities is opened.