Exclusive: St. Paul School Records Show Light Punishment for Serious Violations

Updated: 10/18/2017 2:25 PM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

After a check of the last two years of disciplinary records at St. Paul Schools KSTP found dozens of records that show employees got off with relatively light punishments for serious violations. 

One employee, who worked on a bus route, missed 18 days of unexcused work, and only received a written reprimand. A teacher at a high school sent out dozens of Tweets with sexual references that students had access to and only received a one-day, unpaid suspension. Another employee showed up to school "under the influence of alcohol" and received a one-day, unpaid suspension.  And yet another teacher called an elementary student the "N-word" and was suspended, without pay, for only five days.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reviewed these records after an elementary school custodian, Walter Happel, was charged with felony peeping for spying on a student in the bathroom. He had several other incidents of bad behavior with students dating back to 2003, but only received written reprimands and was allowed to continue working in St. Paul Schools until he resigned in late February.

Parents at his school want answers and would like to know why St. Paul School employees often receive relatively light punishment for bad behavior and often get to keep their jobs.

The school district declined KSTP's request for an on-camera interview and would only say the gradual punishment scales are part of union contracts and the District, under those conditions, must follow the collective bargaining agreement including the punishment protocol.