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Tschosik remains on leave from Bismarck schools

BISMARCK-Teacher Todd Tschosik was on administrative leave again Wednesday after he made a phone call to a radio talk show while working Tuesday, Bismarck Superintendent Tamara Uselman said.

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Todd Tschosik

BISMARCK-Teacher Todd Tschosik was on administrative leave again Wednesday after he made a phone call to a radio talk show while working Tuesday, Bismarck Superintendent Tamara Uselman said.

Tschosik called in to KFGO's "News & Views" with Joel Heitkamp on Tuesday morning, where he discussed his relationship with his ex-fiance, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler.

Uselman said Tschosik violated a Bismarck Public Schools administrative rule by talking about his personal relationship issues with the radio station while at work.

"There are certain statements made during his paid work day that are unbecoming of his position as a teacher," she said.

She said teachers are entitled to a personal life, but they should talk to the media about it when they are not working.

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A news release from the school district cited the rule, which states that "the minimum work day for all full-time teachers in the Bismarck School District is eight hours including a duty-free lunch period of one-half hour."

Heitkamp said Wednesday that Tschosik called him the day before he came on the show after hearing a podcast interview with Baesler on the KFGO website. Baesler had spoken to the radio host last week about the dispute with her former fiance, in which Tschosik called police on her.

"He called me pretty upset asking for equal time on the radio," Heitkamp said.

Heitkamp agreed to let him come on the show, and they settled on an interview for Tuesday morning about 9:35.

"It was the time he said he didn't have class," Heitkamp recalled.

The radio host Tschosik on for 16 minutes, including through a break, which he said he normally wouldn't do but Tschosik had a lot he wanted to say.

The school district then placed Tschosik, who works at several Bismarck schools, on paid administrative leave for the remainder of the work day Tuesday and then again Wednesday.

"We like to resolve things as quickly as we can," Uselman said. "This extra day gives us time to study what's in front of us."

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Regarding gossip that the school district should fire Tschosik, Uselman said the situation must meet a "pretty high standard" under state law to warrant dismissal.

"This administrative leave time gives us time to study the issue and make sure we are following the law," she said.

The decision to dismiss a teacher ultimately lies with the Bismarck School Board.

Tschosik was under scrutiny by the school district prior to Tuesday's phone call to the radio station. School administrators issued him a letter of reprimand in January and placed him on an improvement plan after absences at work.

The state's teacher licensing board earlier this month decided to take no disciplinary action against him or Baesler, his former fiance, following a dispute between the two.

Baesler faced a charge of simple assault stemming from an incident in February when Tschosik called police on his then-fiance. The charge was dropped in March.

The Education Standards and Practices Board unanimously decided against disciplining either educator. Assistant Attorney General for North Dakota Sandra DePountis recommended the board take no action against Tschosik or Baesler, citing a lack of evidence to support any basis for discipline.

Tschosik did not respond Wednesday to two emails or a Facebook message seeking comment.

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