An Oregon middle school teacher is under investigation by local police after he allegedly sent a nude photograph to a student.
Dean Wright, a Judson Middle School teacher, was placed on paid administrative leave this week in response to the incident, District spokesman Aaron Harada said, according to the Salem Reporter.
In an email sent to parents on Monday, Judson principle Alicia Kruska informed parents of the incident.
"Today, I received a report of an inappropriate image believed to be a Salem-Keizer employee circulating on social media," the email stated.
"Because of this concerning report, I wanted to make sure you had accurate information so you could address questions that your student may have."
Kruska did not specify who the employee was, nor specify what the image was. However, the image is reportedly a nude selfie. Kruska said that "it is believed that this image has been viewed by some students."
Wright has also posted videos to TikTok. In one video posted, Wright said that he was most proud of "normalizing using pronouns in introductions in my classroom."
He also shared photos of himself on trips with his students.
The Salem Police Department confirmed to The Post Millennial that they are currently investigating the incident.
"We can confirm the Salem Police Department is investigating a concern brought to us by Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) regarding potential inappropriate contact with a student by one of their staff members," the police said. "The concern was brought to our attention on Monday, March 28, 2022. Salem Police detectives are investigation the incident, and since it is an active investigation, we cannot provide any specific details."
According to FreeOregon, which calls itself a non-partisan group "in the business of fighting tyranny," "It is reported that he said he 'mistakenly' sent the nude pictures to a student that were intended for another person.
"To that I ask in what world is it okay to have nude selfies on your phone alongside STUDENT cell phone numbers? Is there any explanation that makes this okay?" they questioned.
Wright has been a proponent of critical race theory and equity initiatives, serving as schools committee chair for our Equity Committee.
"In 2018 I began to work with the district office to help rewrite the social studies curriculum and create professional development surrounding it," Wright wrote on his LinkedIn profile.
"One experience that always students out to me was being a part of the team to bring the first Afrocentric Summer Academy to SKPS. It meant a lot to be working in a school with black educators supporting black students," he wrote.
He also shared his recommendation that "Every single child in America should read this book," he said of Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds Stamped (for kids).
Wright also once posted that any teaching of "black history" should be accompanied by "gay history," writing "If you want black history taught in school, then I want gay history! #pissedoff". Wright locked his Twitter account, though many of his statements have been archived.
More recently, Wright has posted about his opposition to Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill recently signed into law, which he referred to as the "Don’t Say Gay" bill, a phrase commonly used by the legislation’s opponents.
In a 2019 Salem Reporter article, Wright was highlighted in as talking about how the school board "can better serve students by being aware of experiences different from their own," according to the outlet.
"I was terrified if I told anyone I was going to lose my job," Wright said, in regards to his sexuality.
"Wright, a 7th grade social studies teacher at Judson Middle School, was at an evening board session to explain his experiences as a gay teacher in the district, and the challenges LGBTQ students face. When he started teaching three years ago, he told them, he didn’t share his orientation," the outlet reported.
Apparently, Wright moved those at the meeting to tears as he shared that, when he first began teaching, he did not feel comfortable sharing his sexual orientation with students.
Wright told the Salem Reporter that the school board was very responsive to his concerns, and that they shared his worry over students avoiding using bathrooms, or changing in secret, in order to avoid being made fun of by other students for sexual orientation or gender identity.
"They really were listeners," Wright said at the time.
Andy Ngo contributed to this report.