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Flagstaff teacher under investigation for sexual indecency resigns
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Flagstaff teacher under investigation for sexual indecency resigns

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Walter Halaberda

Walter Halaberda speaks to a crowd that gathered outside of Flagstaff City Hall in 2019 to participate in a Red for Ed rally.

School district records show that a Flagstaff High School teacher resigned this week following accusations of public sexual indecency earlier this year.

Walter Halaberda, a longtime English instructor, allegedly touched himself in a sexual manner during a Zoom class on Jan. 4, according to police records. He has not currently been charged with crimes connected to an ongoing police investigation.

Halaberda’s resignation has been effective since Tuesday, according to information from Flagstaff Unified School District. Police records indicate that Halaberda has been placed on home assignment by school officials since at least May 6, when the police investigation began.

Police used student demographic information to determine that potential victims in the case were all older than the age of 15.

A student captured a video of the incident that eventually surfaced online and was reported to the school by a parent on Jan. 6. The video allegedly shows “quick back and forth motions” of Halaberda’s right arm, according to police records.

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The Flagstaff Police Department is actively conducting the investigation into the incident and has obtained copies of the video recording in question. The department declined to release the video to the Arizona Daily Sun.

FUSD released the following statement last week regarding the ongoing police investigation:

“The Flagstaff Unified School District has been made aware of the video involving a Flagstaff High School teacher. The teacher has been reassigned to have no contact with students. Because this is an active investigation, the Flagstaff Unified School District and Flagstaff High School do not have any additional information to share at this time,” the statement read.

The extent of FUSD's disciplinary action is unknown at this time. The district declined to speak on the matter further.

The Arizona Daily Sun was unable to reach Halaberda or his attorney for comment by press time.

The recorded video, 41 seconds in length, took place during regular classroom morning announcements, according to a witness statement made to the police. Halaberda allegedly shared his computer screen through Zoom, but his camera was still visible to one of the individuals in the call.

It does not appear that others in attendance were able to see Halaberda’s live video during the morning announcements, the witness statement suggested.

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