Rhea County High School teacher quits; 'inappropriate conduct' alleged

Rhea County High School teacher quits; 'inappropriate conduct' alleged

August 28th, 2013 by Kimberly McMillian in Local Regional News

Robert Capps

Robert Capps

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.


This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast.

DAYTON, Tenn. -- A Rhea County High School science teacher suspended after allegations of "inappropriate conduct" with a student has resigned.

Robert Capps, who was suspended on Aug. 14, submitted his resignation after allegations of "possible contact that he had with a student," Superintendent Jerry Levengood said Tuesday afternoon.

"We're going to protect our children," Levengood told reporters. "We're going to protect our students from any allegations."

He said school Principal Jesse Messimer had told him about the allegations involving Capps and a student. Capps resigned two days after his suspension, Levengood said.

"Suspension's not a determination of guilt," he said of Capps' resignation after an eight-year tenure with the school system.

Levengood said the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and the Rhea County Sheriff's Office were contacted after the allegations.

"We have policies, and they've been followed," he said, adding the school no longer is involved.

Jeff Knight, special projects coordinator with the sheriff's department, said no report was available Tuesday afternoon and that an investigation is ongoing.

Rob Johnson, senior adviser at the Department of Children's Services in Nashville, said that office was contacted "to look into allegations of inappropriate conduct" involving a teacher in Rhea County.

Johnson wouldn't comment on investigation specifics, but he said general allegations of inappropriate conduct could include anything ranging from text or email conversations to a sexual encounter.

The Child Protective Investigative Team would use "a child safety perspective," Johnson said, when investigating. He said the team would interview the student and any others involved while minimizing the number of times the student must recount the alleged incident.

Johnson said the state would continue its involvement with the sheriff's department and district attorney's office until a determination on what happened is made. That determination could differ for each agency involved, he said.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.