Iowa teacher faces allegations tied to Costa Rica trip and student he kissed in 2014

By: - June 3, 2022 11:17 am

An Iowa school teacher accused of inappropriate conduct with students on a trip to Costa Rica is now fighting allegations that he kissed a student in 2014. (Photo by Getty Images)

An Iowa high school teacher accused of inappropriate conduct with students on a trip to Costa Rica is now fighting allegations that he kissed an 18-year-old student in 2014.

Chad Wieland of Oxford has filed a court petition seeking judicial review of an April decision by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. He alleges that on Feb. 24, the Clear Creek Amana Community School District filed a complaint with the board alleging that he had violated regulations related to romantic relationships with students.

After the board notified Wieland of the complaint against him, he filed a motion to dismiss the disciplinary case for lack of jurisdiction. He cited board rules that require the conduct at the heart of a complaint to have occurred within three years of discovery by the complainant.

He argued that the school district’s own written investigative report states that the school district spoke to the alleged victim who claimed the abuse took place in May 2014 when Wieland kissed her. The former student told investigators she “ran out of the classroom” and told a friend what had happened, Wieland noted, so the student was clearly aware of the alleged conduct at that time.

On April 22, the board denied Wieland’s motion to dismiss the matter, stating that the complaint to the board was filed within months of the complainant – which is the school district, not the alleged victim – first becoming aware of the conduct.

Wieland has now taken the matter to Polk County District Court, seeking judicial review of the board’s refusal to dismiss the matter.

The investigative report of the Clear Creek Amana Community School District states that the examination of Wieland’s conduct was triggered last fall. That’s when an anonymous letter was sent to the nearby Washington Community School District “referencing Chad Wieland’s alleged inappropriate conduct with student(s) while on a trip to Costa Rica.”

The Washington district informed the Clear Creek Amana district, where Wieland worked, of the complaint, and Wieland was placed on paid leave while an investigation was conducted, according to court records.

The Washington district completed its investigation in January of this year, though the findings of that investigation are not stated in the available public records. Washington Community School District Superintendent Willie Stone told the Iowa Capital Dispatch on Friday that because the news organization knows the name of the accused teacher in the Costa Rica matter, he can’t comment on the outcome of the investigation due to “privacy concerns.”

After the Washington district wrapped up its investigation, the Clear Creek Amana district continued its own investigation, and interviewed Wieland. According to court papers filed by Wieland’s lawyer, Wieland told investigators a female student had approached him in his classroom in 2014, saying she had always wondered what kissing him would be like. The conversation didn’t progress from that point, Wieland allegedly told investigators, but in December 2015, when the girl returned to the school for an event, he kissed her in a classroom.

The alleged victim told investigators the kiss occurred in May 2014 shortly after she turned 18. According to the school district’s investigative report, she also shared with investigators screenshots of messages Wieland had sent her – one while she was a student and one from afterward, in 2019.

Court records indicate the Clear Creek Amana investigation concluded in February with a finding that Wieland had forcibly kissed the alleged victim in 2014 while she was a student, and while he was employed as a teacher.

The Board of Educational Examiners has yet to respond to Wieland’s petition seeking judicial review of its refusal to dismiss the disciplinary case against him.

The Clear Creek Amana district includes portions of Johnson and Iowa counties.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.