Pueblo school board votes to change staff conduct policy after sexting investigation

Pueblo school board votes to change staff conduct policy

PUEBLO, Colo. - After months of revisions, the Pueblo School Board approved changes to the district's staff conduct policy.

The board voted 4 to 1 Tuesday night to limit teachers' social interactions with students. 

"We're finding that you need a policy to define inappropriate behavior," said board president Dr. Kathy DeNiro.

DeNiro said the policy should be common sense for teachers but admits it may not be for everyone. It prohibits teachers from actions like joking about sex with students and socializing with them outside of school events if the students' parents aren't there. 

Board member Rose Holloway asked the board to modify its policy in light of a sexting scandal involving former South High School teacher Larisa Oringdulph. Last October, Oringdulph told police she kissed and sexted with a 17-year-old student.

The student's uncle said what the district did next was unacceptable. "When Larisa Oringdulph came forth and admitted to this, she should have been terminated immediately," Freddie Montoya said. "It was just immoral for the district to actually drag their feet on this."

Oringdulph was never fired. She was placed on paid administrative leave and then resigned on Nov. 7. When she quit, the district paid her for time off she had collected.

"Bottom line is they should have reacted immediately and not allowed this teacher to stay as long as she did after," Montoya said.

"The incident was unfortunate," DeNiro said. "We wanted to make sure that we're very clear on what we did and how we did it."

But Montoya said the policy should have been in place long ago.

"It's kind of immoral for teachers to even be in conversations or trying to seek out kids for their own pleasures and gratifications anyhow," he said.

Our partners at The Pueblo Chieftain report only Holloway voted against the policy because she felt some parts are too confining while others are not restrictive enough. 

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