A longtime Wichita West High School teacher has been charged in Barber County in connection with incidents involving students at the school where he now teaches, according to officials and the local newspaper.
Paul Wanger, who worked at West from 1998 until just before the start of this school year, was charged earlier this month with four misdemeanor counts of battery, court documents show. These allegations concern three minors born in 2007 or 2009.
Wanger began this year teaching seventh through twelfth grade math at South Barber USD 255, a district with fewer than 200 students. Wanger also taught math at West and was the coach of the Scholars’ Bowl.
$255 Superintendent Mylo Miller said Wanger was suspended with pay earlier this month after a warrant was issued for his arrest. This happened on January 6, according to Barber County Sheriff Jason LeClair. Wanger turned himself in and posted $10,000 bail the same day, he said.
Miller said he first learned of the complaints against Wanger in October.
Parents told the Alva Review-Courier that Wanger rubbed the backs and legs of the girls in her class. One mother told the newspaper that she “rubbed my daughter’s thigh above the knee.” The newspaper also reported that she called the girls babe, baby, love, sweetheart and honey.
Miller said the district discovered Wanger called students by names other than their own. He said he had been confronted, but wouldn’t say how, citing an employment issue.
“Any time we call a student anything other than what their name is, it’s not professional for us,” Miller said.
About the contact, Miller said the only thing the precinct had confirmed was an incident in which Wanger grabbed a girl’s foot and moved it off a desk.
“In good conscience and faith, yes, that’s the only side I can speak to,” he said.
A Wichita Public Schools spokesman did not respond to a question about whether Wanger had any complaints against him during his stint at $259.