ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A teacher in the North Hills School District is facing charges for alleged inappropriate behavior during class.
According to the district, a student at Highcliff Elementary School accused 41-year-old Nathan Buttenfield of inappropriate behavior during gym class.
“The little girl, absolutely, did the right thing,” said Ross Township Police Det. Brian Kohlhepp.
Det. Kohlhepp says says the elementary school student told her parents her gym teacher allegedly touched her inappropriately during class.
“It was the end of October when the parents came forward that their child had disclosed to them possible inappropriate contact by a teacher at Highcliff Elemenatary School,” Det. Kohlhepp said.
The little girl reportedly told her parents she had something to tell them. Police say it was that Buttenfield allegedly had touched her during gym class in the equipment closet. She says as she attempted to get away, he pulled her back, saying “not to go yet.”
“He has been a teacher since 2002 with the North Hills School District, and been at Highcliff since 2014,” Det. Kohlhepp said.
Police say, at this point, only one child has come forward with accusations.
The North Hills School District put Buttenfield on leave as soon as the allegation was made. He is to have no further contact with students nor staff, and he is not allowed to enter any North Hills School District properties.
But one parent, who only wants to be identified as Elizabeth, says parents in the district should have been notified sooner. She’s so upset she pulled her own daughter out of school.
“It’s obviously upsetting,” she said. “My daughter had had him as a gym teacher since she was in kindergarten. It’s alarming to hear that happened in our school district.”
Buttenfield turned himself in on Tuesday morning. He was arraigned, charged and released on $50,000 unsecured bond.
The charges include, indecent assault, institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and endangering the welfare of a child.
His attorney Robert Crisanti, spoke to KDKA’s Brenda Waters over the phone, saying his client denies anything inappropriate ever occurred. He says Buttenfield has no criminal record, is a family man and a model teacher.
On Wednesday at 4 p.m., and again on Nov. 27 at 6 p.m., the North Hills School District and Ross Township Police will hold special panels for parents at the high school gym. They want parents to be well equipped with the tools they need to speak with their children.