Grain Valley Super defends handling of '08 claim against teacher - KCTV5 News

Grain Valley Super defends handling of 2008 allegation against teacher

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The Grain Valley School District has come under fire for its handling of a prior allegation against a teacher now accused of molesting students.

The district acknowledged in a letter to parents sent home Thursday. This is the third letter that the district has sent to parents since news broke about Matthew J. Nelson, 33.

Since Nelson was charged last month, more students have come forward alleging that he fondled them.

A mother said she filed an anonymous complaint against Nelson in 2008 for acting inappropriately around students. The report was called into the Missouri School Violence Hotline, but did not include details about a specific student or date.

"The school superintendent addressed the concerns of the report with the teacher in question and the action was documented," according to the letter.

The issue was then closed. Nelson, who taught second and third graders, was a popular teacher honored for his teaching skills.

But parents complained in January that Nelson had touched students inappropriately, leading to the criminal investigation.

Superintendent Roy Moss said the district continues to cooperate with state social workers and law enforcement officials.

"We want to be responsive to any parent's concerns or reporting of possible wrongdoing," Moss said in the letter.

The district said parents must present allegations of teacher misconduct in writing to a principal. However, state law does not say the requirement must be in writing.

Moss was not available for an interview Friday, so KCTV5 could not ask him about this.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Friday that investigators are looking into allegations about Nelson that date to before this current school year. More charges are possible against Nelson who remains jailed on a $250,000 bond.

"This is a fluid situation, an ongoing investigation," Baker said. "At this point, there are eight counts and that could change."

To read Missouri's law concerning mandatory reports of suspected abuse, click here.

To read previous coverage, click here.

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