Oak Hill parents confront school board about teacher’s status

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

UPDATE – On Wednesday, the State of Indiana dismissed their case again Mitchel Hueston on a charge of child seduction.

He was facing a level 6 felony.

It is unclear at this time why the charge was dropped.

Original Story: 

CONVERSE, Ind. – Once again, the Oak Hill United School Corporation is facing heat from parents about its handling of those accused of sex crimes against children.

The school board already voted weeks ago to allow high school teacher Mitchel Hueston to make audio recordings to help teach his students while suspended.

A growing group of angry parents think the board should change its mind.

Knowing that a large group of parents planned to be at the next meeting, they moved to a larger space at Converse Elementary School.

Frustrated parents packed that room, hoping to convince the board they’re all wrong about how they’re handling the suspension of a teacher arrested earlier this month, accused of fondling a 16-year-old girl.

“I was shocked and very disappointed,” said Bill Holt, president of the local chapter of Guardians of the Children, a child abuse and welfare organization.

Holt is one of many who believe that simply removing Hueston from the classroom, but allowing him to teach in some way, is not sufficient.

“I don’t understand how any administrative or any person can think that while awaiting trial, it’s okay to continue teaching children,” said Danielle Biddle, an Oak Hill parent.

Biddle believes the harm to other potential victims is great.

“The sound of music makes you react a lot of ways,” said Biddle. “The sound of a voice of somebody that has hurt you, I imagine isn’t much different.”

Also a concern for the parents is that some of the witnesses expected to testify against Hueston in his case are also his students, who are in a way, still being taught by him.

This isn’t the first time this year parents have disagreed with the board over issues related to child sex crimes.

At the beginning of the year, they protested the district’s decision to allow a parent charged with molesting a student, attend school events with his child accuser.

Some testified in support of Hueston and the board’s decision, but all declined to talk on camera, even asking their faces be obscured from video taken during the public hearing.

One man, a self-professed friend of Hueston’s, argued the school board’s policy balances Hueston’s right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

Holt, who says their chapter was given the task of supporting one of the victims involved in the most recent cases, says Hueston shouldn’t be prioritized over the potential to cause harm to a child.

“In these type of situations, the children’s welfare needs to be first and foremost,” said Holt.

Like those supporting the board, its members and superintendent Joel Martin also did not want to be interviewed.

After the meeting, the board held an executive session.

They wouldn’t specify what issues they would be discussing, but in a statement, they say they’re continuing to evaluation the corporation’s policies and procedures regarding school employees who have pending criminal charges involving a minor.

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