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Investigation into inaction: What did a Gilbert school district know about a teacher's relationship with students?

Aaron Dunton, 35 was arrested for an inappropriate relationship with two students, the Gilbert Police Department said.

GILBERT, Ariz. — The Higley Unified Schools Governing Board announced plans to launch an independent investigation surrounding the arrest of former teacher Aaron Dutton, 35.

Gilbert police arrested Dunton on June 17 for allegations involving an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old student at Higley High School.

Dunton resigned from his position at Higley High School in April when the investigation first launched.

During the investigation, detectives uncovered another alleged inappropriate relationship in 2019 with an 11-year-old student he taught at Power Ranch Elementary.

ORIGINAL STORY: Former Higley High School teacher arrested, accused of 'inappropriate' relationship with student

Wednesday during its board meeting, district leaders announced plans to hire a lawyer to open an investigation surrounding what the district knew about Dunton’s alleged actions.

“The HUSD Governing Board, Dr. Foley, and district administration remain extremely concerned about the allegations,” says HUSD Board President Amy Kaylor.

The move comes after a 12 News report in which teachers say they reported Dunton’s alleged actions to school administrators at Higley and Power Ranch nearly two dozen times, but no action was ever taken.

 “We are very concerned about these accusations regarding this former employee. The district has hired an outside attorney to investigate and help our district in all of these matters,” said Kaylor.  

The district says it will be looking into when allegations were made, what school leaders were made aware of, and what actions were taken.

District leaders issued a statement on the investigation but did not provide a specific timeline on when it would be completed.

Dunton is facing four counts of aggravated assault, one count of witness tampering, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He's been booked into the Maricopa County jail.

Dunton started working at Higley High in July 2021 after he taught at Power Ranch Elementary for the five previous school years.

RELATED: Former Ahwatukee teacher sued after convicted of sexually abusing student

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Investigación: ¿Qué sabía un distrito escolar de Gilbert sobre la relación de un maestro con los estudiantes?

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