A former substitute teacher accused of sleeping with a 17-year-old student has blamed the school administration for the alleged sexual relationship, saying that they "turned a blind eye" even after becoming aware of what was happening.
Mary Beth Haglin, 24, who substituted at Washington High School and other schools in the Cedar Rapids area, was let go from her teaching job at Washington High because administrators believed that she had engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old male student. Haglin says that even after her job ended she retained access to SubCentral, a multi-district database that allows substitute teachers to find work, according to The Gazette.
Haglin, who admitted that she first slept with the student in October 2015 and continued to have sex with him "frequently" throughout the school year, said that because she still had full access to SubCentral, she applied to work at both Harrison and Madison Elementary Schools after she was told to leave the high school.
"They didn’t ban me," said Haglin. "They never actually said they were banning me from school grounds, they never said they were banning me from working at any other school, they never said they were banning me from ... so many feet of any school. They never said any of that."
She went on to teach at elementary schools and said that the school district "knew full well" that she was there. "There was no way they could not have known. I’m sure that they were tracking me and checking me."
In addition to allowing Haglin to continue to work at other schools, the district also did not report the alleged relationship to police. Another individual reported Haglin to the Cedar Rapids police, which then opened an investigation and arrested Haglin on July 22. The former substitute teacher faces up to two years of jail time and a decade as a registered sex offender for sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist, or school employee.
The school district described her working in the elementary schools as the result of a "miscommunication." Haglin, however, characterized the incidents as an intentional attempt to cover up what was happening, saying that the school had questioned her as early as mid-April, according to Mirror Online.
"These people all knew what was going on, but they turned a blind eye because they wanted to protect their school and didn't want it to get into the limelight," she said of the school administration. "They allowed this to happen. They knew in February."
"I am not shying away from this, I am not running away from this. I am facing this head-on," she said. "Previous abusive relationships led me into this."