Roland-Story Middle School counselor Michael Oleson resigned his position with the school district after a state board suspended his professional license for three years following an investigation into his social-media communication with a student.
Oleson signed a settlement agreement on May 30 with the state of Iowa’s Board of Educational Examiners, which indicated his professional service license as a school counselor will be suspended for a minimum of three years.
On Dec. 4, 2018, the state examiners received a complaint that Oleson had violated the Code of Ethics and was charged with “soliciting or encouraging an otherwise inappropriate relationship with a student,” according to the settlement agreement.
A second ethics count involved Oleson’s failure to make “reasonable effort to protect the health and safety of a student or creating conditions harmful to student learning.”
The investigation revealed that during the 2018-2019 school year, Oleson “solicited a personal and inappropriate relationship with a student” and “communicated with the student through social media about his desire to have physical contact with her,” the agreement noted.
In the documents, Oleson acknowledged unprofessional social media communication with a student but denied any intent to solicit a romantic relationship.
After three years, Oleson may apply for reinstatement of his professional license. If he does apply, he will be responsible for “proving the basis for his suspension no longer exists and that it will be in the public interest to reinstate his license,” according to the agreement.
Prior to applying for reinstatement, Oleson will be required to successfully complete at least 15 hours of ethics training through a state agency. He will also have to undergo a mental health evaluation and undergo any recommendations for treatment and/or training.
“The community will rightfully prioritize the safety and well-being of students above all else. I am also committed to this goal,” Oleson said in a statement released by his attorney. “While all professionals at all times make careless comments interpreted in unintended ways, educators must hold themselves to the highest standards. Those standards of professionalism were not met. As such, I resigned from my position to protect the reputation of my school. I apologize for any distraction this may have caused and ask that you respect the privacy of the other parties involved.”
Oleson is no longer employed by the Roland-Story Community School District. The school board approved his resignation July 8.
“Because this is a personnel matter, there is little else we can share at this time,” said Superintendent Matt Patton, in a written statement. “The Roland-Story Community School District has been and always will be committed to the safety and well-being of students. This has been our primary focus as we have addressed this situation.”