2 Mabton teachers, 1 volunteer investigated in nearly six months

2 Mabton teachers, 1 volunteer investigated in nearly six months »Play Video
MABTON, Wash. -- Less than a month after the arrest of a Mabton school volunteer a high school math teacher is now off the job on paid leave.

It's news that spreads fast in a small town where most neighbors have walked these halls themselves.

"I think it's a pretty good school, but if there's allegations like that, I think they should be looked into," said Mabton neighbor Matias Bernal.

Last spring, Mabton High School Language Arts teacher Chad Morris was arrested at school for theft.

Investigators say he admitted stealing from another employee.

Last month, a well-known high school volunteer was booked on an outstanding warrant.

Police say Tawnya Ibarra lied on a background check using a fake name to run a school booster program.

"I wouldn't say there's more degree of problem areas in Mabton School District than there is in any other district. It's just occurred here in Mabton in the last year," said Mabton Schools Superintendent Minerva Morales.

You wanted KIMA to look into the district's policy on background checks; not just for teachers, but also volunteers.

We learned that volunteers are subject to the standard Washington State Patrol check and can be subject to fingerprinting like teachers.

"My first primary concern is our children and making sure they're safe and that we have a healthy culture and climate for our kids," Morales said.

KIMA asked, "And, that involves going through the steps?"

"Absolutely,” said Morales. “Policies, procedures and holding folks accountable to the processes.”

The district said Morris resigned and Ibarra is not a volunteer.

An investigator told Action News the most recent Math teacher suspension has to do with personnel issues and not for misconduct involving a student.

The current Math teacher on leave has been off the job for almost a week.

Mabton's superintendent expects the investigation to wrap up this week.