Verona Area School District responds to substitute teacher’s arrest

VERONA, Wis. — The Verona Area School District responded Monday to the arrest of a middle school substitute teacher last week.

According to a news release from the Verona Police Department, police arrested 30-year-old Dustin Schallert on Saturday afternoon following an investigation into multiple reports of “concerning behavior” at Badger Ridge Middle School. On Friday, a concerned parent told police their 13-year-old daughter had been inappropriately touched earlier in the day in the classroom. Schallert was arrested on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault.

Schallert

Police said several students also reported that Schallert braided the hair of some female students even after the students told him to stop. He was taken to the Dane County Jail.

In a statement sent to Badger Ridge families on Monday, the district said it apologized for Schallert’s “inappropriate, degrading and humiliating behavior.”

“The staff at Badger Ridge have worked very hard to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for all of our students,” the statement said. “We understand this news may shake the confidence of students and parents alike in our ability to provide that safe environment for learning. We will amplify our efforts in the wake of these events.  Further, we will work very closely with the students and families directly involved to provide support and counseling so these young people are not further traumatized by rumors, gossip, innuendo or shaming.”

The release also included new details about the investigation. The district said it was made aware of the allegations involving Schallert around 3:17 p.m. Friday when several students went to the school’s office. Schallert was escorted out of the classroom and brought to the office by 3:20 p.m. and escorted off school grounds by 3:32 p.m.

The district said it removed Schallert from the substitute teaching list until further notice and prohibited him from being present at any Verona Area School District school or having contact with any student.

According to the email, the district’s human resources department contacted Dane County Child Protective Services around 4 p.m. A second call was sent to CPS around 4:15 p.m., which included asking whether police should be called. CPS reported that it would determine whether or not to contact law enforcement.