Anaconda Junior/Senior High School Principal Shawn Hansen was put on administrative leave with pay Friday afternoon pending a Montana School Boards Association investigation.
According to Anaconda School District #10 Superintendent Justin Barnes, the investigation involves a communication from Hansen to a former student.
A few weeks ago, a report was filed with the Anaconda police by a 19-year-old former Anaconda Junior/Senior High School student who said he had received a text message from the principal he felt was inappropriate.
“When we heard of the report and rumors that there could be current students who have had similar experiences, it was our due diligence to put all of the rumors to rest through a formal investigation,” Barnes said. “We want to ensure there is no current or former inappropriate contact.”
According to Anaconda Police Chief Tim Barkell, the 19-year-old man reported that Hansen sent him a text message that he interpreted as asking him out on a date. Barkell said the message caused the young man concern and the man voiced his concern to people in the community. Barkell said he has received two calls from the parents of current students about the young man’s report, but Barkell said his office could not take any action in the matter.
“They are both adults," Barkell said. "I told the parents that if they hear of similar interactions between the principal and minors to let me know.”
On Friday, the allegations made about Hansen were handed over to the Montana School Boards Association, Barnes said. Barnes said he wanted an unbiased outside party to conduct the investigation.
Hansen will be on paid leave until the investigation is finished. Assistant Principal Allen Green will serve as interim principal until further notice.
Efforts to reach Hansen for comment were not immediately successful.
This story will be updated.