Elementary principal resigns, staff member fired for allegedly having sex on school grounds

Legacy Elementary School Principal Jason Markusen resigned a day after the investigation was launched.

Markusen, Jason.JPG
Jason Markusen.
Submitted photo

WEST FARGO — An investigation by West Fargo Public Schools found an elementary school principal was having sex on school grounds with a staff member who directly reported to him.

Legacy Elementary Principal Jason Markusen resigned from his position Friday, March 9, the day after the school district launched a formal investigation.

According to the investigation report received by The Forum on Wednesday, March 16, West Fargo Public Schools received an anonymous letter in February reporting an inappropriate relationship between Markusen and a staff member who reported directly to him.

District officials conducted interviews regarding the letter but could not substantiate the initial claims, the report said.

On March 2, a custodian reported to the district that they walked in on Markusen and a staff member on Feb. 28. The staff member was an office para identified as CS in the investigation report.


The custodian saw Markusen hiding behind some furniture in his underwear and believed the two had been having sex in the school's storage room. Feb. 28 was a virtual learning day for students, so few staff were in the building, and no students were at school.

The same custodian previously found a used condom in the trash while changing the liner of the trash can in Markusen's office, the report said.

After reviewing surveillance footage, district officials found a similar event of Markusen and CS showing up at the school on a virtual learning day, Feb. 15, then each heading to the storage room where they are not seen again on camera until about a half-hour later.

When Markusen was asked about what he was doing in the storage room, he said he was there mostly alone, despite the video evidence, and that he had done some inventory of flexible seating and practiced "dancing as he was teaching the staff dancing," the report said.

He denied having sex at the school but could not explain the used condom found in his garbage can, the report said.

Attempts by The Forum to reach Markusen by phone were unsuccessful.

The investigation, which was performed by Superintendent Beth Slette, Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools Rachael Agre and Human Resources Director Brittnee Nikle, returned a recommendation that the School Board fire Markusen with cause.

"Additionally, CS will be terminated due to dishonest responses provided during the investigation, for withholding relevant information and engaging in inappropriate conduct while on work hours at the work site," the recommendation said.


The School Board accepted Markusen's resignation at its Monday, March 13, meeting.

Markusen's began his education career as a classroom teacher in 1998. He first came to West Fargo Public Schools in 2004 and was a middle school alternative education teacher until 2010. He then left the district but returned in 2014 and served as the principal of Horace Elementary before he was named principal at Legacy Elementary in 2015.

Markusen has a master's degree and a specialist degree, both in educational leadership, from North Dakota State University, and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of North Dakota.

Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
What To Read Next
Get Local