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Franklin High teacher on leave during misconduct review

A Franklin High School teacher is on paid leave while authorities investigate a “serious allegation of misconduct” brought against the instructor, school officials said in a statement Monday.

“The administration was devastated by hearing of this allegation, and we acted immediately,” officials at the Franklin public schools said in a statement. “Upon learning of this allegation, a report was made to the Franklin Police Department and the Franklin public schools [are] cooperating with the police in this regard.”

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The statement did not identify the teacher or provide any details of the allegation.

Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski said in an e-mail that administrators learned of the accusation about a week and a half ago, when an employee learned of it through comments on Twitter and text messaging.

She declined to say what the teacher is accused of doing or whether officials have any evidence that a student has been harmed.

“My apologies, but the legalities and due-process aspects must be honored to have a legitimate and fair outcome to this situation,” Sabolinski wrote.

The school principal could not be reached for comment Monday evening, and a Franklin police dispatcher referred questions to Chief Stephan H. Semerjian, who also could not be reached.

‘The alleged incident is disturbing and does not reflect the expectations we espouse.’

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School officials said in their statement that they also contacted the state Department of Children and Families.

A spokeswoman for the agency said in an e-mail that the office “received a report and made the appropriate referral to the local district attorney’s office,” but declined to comment further.

A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office said Monday night that no criminal charges were pending against a Franklin High School staff member, but he declined to say whether a teacher is under investigation, citing standard protocol.

“The alleged incident is disturbing and does not reflect the expectations we espouse as a school district or as a community,” school officials said in their statement. “We are committed to ensuring all of our students are safe, both physically and emotionally.”

The first day of school at Franklin High is Tuesday, according to its website.

“We will continue to work closely with relevant agencies and to take any appropriate actions in response,” the statement said. “We will ensure that this investigation is conducted thoroughly and with complete understanding of our obligation to uphold our public duty to our students.”

The statement continued, “Our focus and mission at this time is to protect the confidentiality of our students as we open school for the 2013-2014 school year.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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