Highland teacher fired for inappropriate conduct with a student
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent November 23, 2011 9:28AM
Sam Fies appears in a 2008 Griffith (Ind.) High School yearbook as a swim coach. Yearbook photographed Wednesday November 23, 2011. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 26, 2011 8:44AM
HIGHLAND — Charges are pending against a former Highland High School teacher for inappropriate conduct with a female student.
Highland Police Detectives were expected to bring charges Wednesday afternoon against Samuel Fies, 33, of St. John. However, no charges had been filed as of press time.
On Wednesday morning, the Highland School Board voted 5-0 to reject a letter of resignation Fies submitted; subsequently, the board voted 5-0 to terminate Fies’ contract. Superintendent Michael Boskovich and Highland High School Principal Patrick Weil recommended Fies’ contract be terminated immediately.
Fies had been a teacher with the School Town of Highland since 2002; eight of those years, he taught at Highland Middle School, Boskovich said.
The administration first received reports of inappropriate conduct by Fies toward the girl in mid-October, Boskovich said in a statement read at the meeting. Fies was placed on administrative leave while the administration, in conjunction with the Highland Police Department, conducted a full investigation.
The department currently holds a grant dedicated to catching child sexual predators for the Northern District of Indiana, and forensic examiner Anthony Balboa was able to gather evidence against Fies using high-tech recovery devices.
“This equipment is the same as the FBI uses,” Highland Police Department public information officer Cmdr. George Georgeff said.
School administrations are required by the Indiana Department of Education to report any allegations of this nature to the department so it may take action — up to and including license revocation — and the School Town is in the process of its report, Boskovich said.
“The entire School Town of Highland is saddened and disturbed by these events,” Boskovich said in the statement. “We pride ourselves in putting our students first, and we will continue to work to build and maintain the trust of our community.
“The swift and decisive action taken by the School Board of Trustees affirms their commitment to provide all of our students with the best and most appropriate education to ensure their well-being.”
The administration later posted a letter to parents on its website letting them know it would address students Monday about the allegations. The letter asks parents to reinforce the ideas of avoiding spreading rumors, using social media responsibly and informing school personnel, parents or other trusted adults of any uncomfortable situation in which they may find their friends or themselves.