The Salamanca City School District superintendent was serving as a chaperone on a trip with Michael Dupont, a veteran seventh-grade science teacher, and students from the school.
It was a trip Dupont had arranged for the class.
"A couple years ago I went white water rafting up in Gowanda on a Saturday where (Dupont) arranged for the kids to do this," Hay said recently.
"I know from the reports from the middle school principal and what interactions I had with Mike (he was) very highly thought of, a competent teacher."
But there was no way Hay could have seen what would come next.
Last week, Dupont
, 42, was taken into custody at his
Salamanca home for questioning and later charged with three counts of second-degree sodomy, based on alleged sexual interactions between him and a 14-year-old boy during April and May 2002.
According to Dupont's Web site, which is linked from the district's Web site at www.salamancany.org, Dupont said he was a graduate of the Salamanca City Central School District who wanted to do something involving either government or psychology after graduation.
chose teaching and settled in Cattaraugus County
because of his
love for the outdoors.
"I love to have fun and try to make learning fun also," Dupont
said on his
taught seventh-grade life science, and he
wanted to teach "my students a little bit about life and a little bit about science."
"I believe that learning should be fun and the students offered choices," he
said on his
"Last week, when we were notified of the pending charges, the middle school principal made extra trips down the hall (where Dupont
Hay said he
believes the state Education Department will take charge in deciding what happens to Dupont
If the Education Department decides to revoke Dupont's
certification, it may allow the district to move more quickly through the hearing process to ultimately fire Dupont
"My understanding from a legal aspect is the state Education Department will take ... this," he
"An individual certification will be removed by the state."
However, if Dupont
is found guilty of the charges, it still may be difficult for school officials to remove the teacher, especially since he
Butry, when asked if someone convicted of certain crimes, such as Dupont
, should have to go through the extensive 3020a process, said his organization is working on finding an easier way to deal with individuals with such offenses.
However, Worona said that while the district is conducting its investigation, the state Education Department is, at the same time, deciding whether it should revoke Dupont's
Sharkey also said Dupont
has not been found guilty of anything, but the case is still troubling in nature.