Evanston police are investigating an incident in which students claimed a substitute teacher at Haven Middle School was watching pornographic videos at his desk while students worked on a science project.

Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says the school resource officer at Haven interviewed the teacher, who was cooperative and turned over his laptop to the officer.

Dugan says the teacher denied watching porn, but was watching a cable TV show “that may have had inappropriate content.”

The teacher is not in custody, Dugan says, and juvenile detectives will follow up by examining the laptop and interviewing witnesses.

The school, Dugan says, has distributed a letter to parents about the incident, which was the subject of a television news report Friday night.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

  1. Either way, the teacher

    Either way, the teacher should not be paid for the classroom time and should not be rehired by the district. He may also face criminal charges. What was he thing?

    1. Sub teachers make barely

      Sub teachers make barely anything anyway so withholding pay is nothing. Also, what happened to innocent until proven guilty???

      1. tecahers
        Subs make a fairly decent salary……they need to tend to instructional matters when they’re on the clock….just like any employee who is doing personal computer junk while their bosses are paying them to work…..if they can’t devote their time to the kids, then they shouldn’t be there. And…BTW….kids are not oblivious….that little girl was right in what she did.

      2. He is innocent of any crime
        He is innocent of any crime he may have committed, for now, but he has already admitted to watching something on his computer instead of doing the job he was hired to do.

  2. Teacher watching?

    Perhaps the investigation should have been completed and if story is true and teacher is charged before it became a news story.

    1. Informing the public

      Hi MIJ,

      Good question.

      In your mind did the school err in informing parents of hundreds of Haven students about the incident?

      If you think the parents should not have been informed, I'm confident there are many parents who would disagree with you.

      Once the parents were informed, it's probably unrealistic to expect that no media organization would learn of the story and run with it.

      Students accuse teacher of watching porn in class. Teacher is removed from class.

      It's gonna sound like a story to somebody.

      In this case it happened to be a Chicago TV station that did the story first.

      Once that happens, it becomes hard for a news site like Evanston Now to not report the story — and provide our own update on the state of the police investigation. You, or somebody else, would be asking why we were "covering up" the story by not reporting it.

      I personally have mixed feelings about whether this incident required a story before it had become a story elsewhere. But once it was covered elsewhere, I didn't believe we could ignore it.

      By the way, just because someone is charged doesn't mean the accusations are true. That's why we have a court system. Nor does a lack of charges necessarily mean accusations are false. It may just mean the evidence wasn't strong enough to bring charges. So a policy to publish nothing unless there are charges would mean many important stories would go uncovered — and some might be covered up.

      — Bill

      1. Please, tell us the whole story (when it is known)

        Your arguments are valid. It is my hope that since you did run the story you will report all the details once they become known. My only concern is that you will not follow up on the initial story and like other local news media outlets, let the original story die a quiet death if no charges are brought.

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