A Cloquet teacher placed on administrative leave in August has returned to work after an investigation resulted in no disciplinary action, according to Superintendent Michael Cary.
Cloquet High School’s Dustin Randall was placed on paid administrative leave from teaching and coaching in August after allegations of misconduct surfaced on social media in August.
Randall teaches advanced biology and college-in-the-schools human anatomy and physiology. He also serves as the head coach for the Cloquet-Carlton varsity girls soccer team.
District officials did not receive a formal complaint about the allegations and they were deleted from Facebook soon after they were posted.
According to a documents obtained by the Pine Journal, the school district investigated complaints against Randall and Richard Rhoades, an industrial technology teacher. Rhoades was not placed on leave.
The investigation was conducted over two months by the law firm Rupp, Anderson, Squires and Waldspurger in Minneapolis. Cary confirmed that the investigation report was delivered to the school board Nov. 5 and the district “considers the matter closed” in an interview. He said he was unable to share more information because of privacy concerns about the teachers and students involved.
“This is one of those situations where I would love to be able be more transparent,” Cary said. “But according to our attorneys, all I’m really able to share is that the investigation has concluded, we’re considering it closed and that there was no disciplinary action as a result. The other thing I think I can publicly say comfortably is that we intentionally hired an external investigator to ensure that we had a fair and objective investigation into the case.”
Cary also confirmed Randall returned to work Nov. 17.
The data request revealed no previous complaints against Randall, but complaints against Rhoades originally surfaced in May 2014.
At that time, the district received complaints that Rhoades had behaved inappropriately with a number of female students, including having a student sit on his lap and took a photo with a student with his arm around her hips. Rhoades also asked a student to delete a photo showing him with his arm around a student.
A 2014 investigation resulted in Rhoades being suspended for five days without pay. He was also required to follow specific conditions when interacting with students, including not being allowed to touch students unless it was part of the lesson or to prevent them from harming themselves or others; leaving the door to his office open if students are present and class is not in session; and to comply with the district's transportation policy, among others.
The allegations made earlier this year appeared to be related to the 2014 investigation. Rhoades, however, was included in the 2020 investigation to ensure there was not a new, unrelated complaint.