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Teacher charged with sexual misconduct with student

A Central Medford High School special education teacher has been suspended following a two-week investigation into charges that he engaged in sexual misconduct with an 18-year-old female student.

Stephen Hackett, 37, was cited March 30 on four counts of official misconduct and one count of furnishing alcohol to a minor, said Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

Budreau said the victim was a student at the school but not in the special education program. The offenses are related to Hackett's role as a teacher at the school "and because he is a public servant,” Budreau said, citing Oregon Revised Statute 162.415.

The Medford School District suspended Hackett March 15 after receiving the allegation and reporting it to police, according to a district statement.

“Our first priority is caring for the well-being of our students, and we will not tolerate any behavior that threatens that well-being,” the statement said. “All district staff are trained at least annually on the requirements and expectations of their employment including their obligations as educators under state law. “

The sexual activity began in January, and none of it occurred on school grounds, Budreau said.

Hackett has since tendered his resignation, effective April 15.

However, the Medford School Board, after consulting with legal counsel, voted Monday to remove Hackett’s resignation from the consent agenda so that the superintendent could move forward with his termination.

"We couldn’t move forward with termination if the board had approved his resignation," explained district spokeswoman Natalie Hurd said.

Hurd said Superintendent Brian Shumate intends to issue a letter of termination to Hackett Tuesday.

Although Hackett’s resignation will go into effect before the termination process is complete, paperwork will be filed with Oregon’s Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

—Reach education reporter Teresa Thomas at 541-776-4497 or tthomas@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/teresathomas_mt.