Lakota teacher under investigation for alleged misconduct

WEST CHESTER TWP. — A teacher of special needs students at Lakota West High School is under investigation for an “allegation of misconduct,” according to the school’s principal.

And West Chester Twp. Police are also involved in the investigation.

According to a 911 recording from police obtained Thursday by the Journal-News, a caller identifying herself as a Lakota West school parent of a special needs student claimed her teenager had been slapped by her teacher.

The teacher is not identified in the call or in police records.

Kristen Snyder, an intervention specialist with the high school, “will be taking a leave of absence due to an allegation of misconduct,” wrote Lakota West Principal Ben Brown in a message sent Wednesday to the families of Lakota West special needs students.

“We take these allegations very seriously and we are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly to provide due process,” said Brown.

“Please understand that we are not at liberty to discuss the details of the allegations or the investigation. However, we want to assure you that we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and will take all necessary steps to address any concerns that may arise.”

Lakota School officials told the Journal-News another Lakota employee made the allegation against Snyder on Feb. 14.

“It is our understanding that the West Chester Police Department was also contacted at the same time,” said Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for Lakota Schools.

“We take every allegation seriously and investigate them fully. Administrators from Lakota West and the district launched an immediate investigation into this matter. Mrs. Snyder was officially placed on leave on Tuesday, Feb. 21, which would have been her first day back to work following the alleged incident,” said Fuller.

“The safety of our students is always our first priority. We will work closely with the (West Chester Police) throughout our investigation, which is still ongoing. As such, we cannot comment further,” she said.

According to an incident report from Feb. 14, West Chester Police, which does not name Snyder, officers went to the home of the school mother who called 911 to interview after her call.

Barb Wilson, spokeswoman for West Chester Twp., said “no charges have been filed and the investigation is listed as active.”

Snyder, who is on paid leave, has worked as an “intervention specialist” for Lakota Schools since 2014 specializing in instructing students with multiple disabilities. She did similar work for Hamilton Schools from 2005 to 2014.

Brown said other teachers have been assigned “to work with our students and staff during Mrs. Snyder’s absence.”

“We understand that this news may be upsetting or concerning and we want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to address the situation and your child will continue to be safe and well cared for.”

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