HIBBING, Minn. (WCCO) – A Hibbing teacher caught on secret recordings insulting students will be allowed to keep teaching.
“She might tell you that, but deep in her soul she cries at night for having a son like you,” Dan Gotz can be heard saying on one recording.
Gotz has been on paid leave since the cellphone recordings surfaced last spring. WCCO found a decision on the teacher’s discipline has been reached.
“There are some big colored ladies that got some big old booties. This is why I wear sunglasses all the time. It doesn’t hurt to look,” Gotz can be heard saying on another recording.
For months, a student recorded his 7th-grade science teacher after he told his parents he couldn’t stand his off-color comments and the way he targeted one particular student.
“That’s No. 12. That’s where we’re going to start 15 minutes later. Dipstick,” Gotz said again in another.
The Hibbing School District placed Gotz on paid leave after the audio came to light last April. WCCO has learned Gotz will be back next school year but the district won’t say when.
Margaret O’Sullivan Kane represents the families who came forward. All summer, she says, they waited for some kind of resolution.
“This is the first time I’ve had a case where they’ve asserted attorney-client privilege over the investigation,” O’Sullivan Kane said. “What I’m having difficulty with is their failure to communicate with us.”
Gotz’s attorney, Phil Villaume told us his client is an excellent teacher with a great deal of community support. Villaume said “lesser included discipline” was reached, but not termination.
The Hibbing School District would only say the complaints against Gotz were taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. The superintendent says privacy laws keep them from saying more.
“We would like to know what happened to him and what’s been done to restore this balance and address this misconduct,” O’Sullivan Kane said.
Kane’s been asking the district to minimize the contact between Gotz and the now 8th grader, along with an assurance he’ll return to a safe and non-hostile school environment come next week.
“Between now and then we’re hoping we can have some open communication about this child’s return to the school,” she said.
We did check with the state agency that oversees teacher licensing in Minnesota. A spokesperson at the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board told us it had no public disciplinary data available on Dan Gotz.