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Burlington principal on leave amid former teacher's aid sexual assault allegations

Dyer Elementary School
Posted at 6:42 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 23:13:48-04

BURLINGTON, Wis. — The Dyer Elementary School principal is on leave after a former teacher's aid was charged with sexually assaulting students.

Burlington Area School District Superintendent Steve Plank sent a letter to families on Friday which included the staffing update, but did not give a clear reason as to why.

"Ryan Heft will be serving as interim principal at Dyer Elementary School while Principal Scott Schimmel is on leave," the letter said in part.

Police have charged Daniel Powers, the former teacher's aide at Dyer Elementary with sexually assaulting three 10-year-old students.

"A weekend provides a moment to pause," the letter continued. "Please give students and staff the space and privacy needed to restore after a difficult week within our district. We will continue to work tirelessly to rebuild confidence e with our families and the greater community."

Parent, Kaitlynn Ropp, has pulled her daughter out of school since learning the news last week.

"We've had the discussion about whether or not she wants to go back to school. She just doesn't think that it's a safe space right now," said Ropp.

Ropp had spoken to Principal Schimmel days before he was put on leave to share her concerns.

"He wrote everything down on paper and said they would be addressed," said Ropp.

Days later, she received the message that Schimmel had been placed on leave.

"It gave me a little relief to know that this is a serious issue taken care of. I was hoping sooner than later, but it's being addressed," Ropp said.

The school board is set to meet again Monday, May 9 at 7 p.m.


The Burlington Area school board sat down in an emergency meeting last week following the sexual assault allegations.
District board president, Peter Turke, was tight-lipped after a nearly three hour closed-door meeting.

"No comment on personal matters," said Turke.

The Sheriff's department confirmed they are working on multiple reports from at least 15 different children.

According to a letter sent out to parents, the district shared they first received information regarding a staff member making students uncomfortable on April 13.

Powers had been working within the Burlington Area School District for 15 years and some parents and former students fear he might have assaulted more victims before the district was aware of the most recent accusations.

"I do have concerns about the timeline. I am working closely with the school board, and our investigative team, as well to establish what went wrong, if anything. At the end of the day, I fully believe in complete transparency all the cards will be on the table and those who are responsible will be held accountable," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.

Powers has been booked into jail under felony charges.

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