Alexandria teacher suspended over sauna incident - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Alexandria teacher suspended over sauna incident

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Jan Mock Jan Mock
Micah Elvenia-Bennett Micah Elvenia-Bennett
Sarah Elvenia Sarah Elvenia
Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

Madison County - A gym teacher is in hot water for what students say happened in a sauna during a school trip to Germany.

Alexandria High School Junior Micah Elvenia-Bennett is matter of fact describing what he says happened on a school trip to Germany this past summer. Micah says he and another male student walked in on high school gym teacher and trip chaperon Jan Mock using a co-ed sauna at recreational facility.

Micah says they were dressed, but the teacher wasn't.

"She was nude because it's a completely nude sauna," said Micah. "We walked in and she said hi and quickly put her towel back on. I mean, it was a little awkward. We were just doing what they did. Going with the tradition."

The encounter, tradition or not, got Mock suspended without pay for five weeks until November 2nd.

"I don't see why anyone should be in any trouble," said Micah.

Micah's mother agrees.

"For her to take these kids to Germany to experience a different culture and to come back to be suspended for something way innocent, I think its ridiculous. It's really ridiculous," said Sarah Elvenia.

But in a disciplinary memo given to Mock by the Alexandria Community School Corporation, school officials say Mock used poor professional judgement by not making the sauna off limits to students and then by using it while students were still at the facility.

Some residents in Alexandria agree Mock's suspension is much ado about nothing, and the whole sauna incident is simply a case of "when in Rome."

"Everywhere when you go to different countries, you're going to have different things, different rules," said Heather Peavler, Alexandria resident.

"My daughter thinks highly of her and I think it was blown out of proportion. I really do," said William Johnson, another resident.

Others disagree.

"I think she should be suspended," said Darin Hamilton.

Micah's mother says if anyone should be upset, she should be. But says she's not. She wishes other parents and school leaders would just drop it.

Mock has been advised by the Indiana State Teachers Association not to comment on the matter. A representative with the union told Eyewitness News that Mock has been in education for 29 years and is well respected and has never been in trouble. That representative said Mock has been perfectly willing to accept her suspension.

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