Cleveland teacher placed on leave

A Cleveland High School teacher has been placed on paid leave following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a female student, according to reports.

Matt Wester, 37, is a math teacher, assistant varsity football coach, and head track coach at the school. Blount County Superintendent Jim Carr said he received a call on Nov. 24 from DHR, after they had been contacted by Cleveland High principal Denise Martin concerning the matter. Carr contacted the Blount County District Attorney’s Office, and Wester was officially placed on leave on Nov. 25.

According to Carr, Wester has had a clean work history with the system.

The investigation is ongoing.

“Law enforcement acted quickly in cooperation with the Blount County Board of Education to begin an investigation into the matter,” said Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey. “The Blount County Sheriff’s Department is working with my office to determine what, if any, charges will be filed. There will be no further comment while the investigation is pending.”

Last month, Ashley Parkins Pruitt, an Appalachian High School teacher was charged with multiple offenses concerning inappropriate relationships with three students. Her first court hearing is scheduled for today.

Additionally, within the last year, two other allegations surfaced concerning Blount County teachers.

“As a prosecutor and a district attorney, I have to handle a lot, and some things are harder to deal with than others,” Casey said. “It’s especially difficult when a teacher is involved, and it’s hard for the community to deal with as well, but as a district attorney, at the end of the day, you have a job to prosecute violations of the law. We have wonderful teachers in this county. The actions of a few should not reflect them as a whole.”