Thursday January 12, 2012

SAXTONS RIVER -- A former Vermont Academy teacher is under investigation by the Vermont State Police after the school received information about possible criminal activity he was engaging in.

Brant Nelson, a math and science teacher who has worked at Vermont Academy since 2009, was fired last week after the school was "made aware of certain information which we immediately brought to the attention of local authorities," Head of School Sean Brennan wrote in a letter that went out to parents late Friday night.

Brennan, in an interview, refused to give any details, but he did confirm that Nelson was terminated, and not put on leave.

Vermont State Police Detective John Merrigan also would not give details on Nelson, though he said the department was "smack dab in the middle" of an investigation.

Merrigan said Nelson has not been arrested.

A woman who answered the phone at Nelson’s house said he was not home, and would not be available to comment.

Brennan sent the letter out to parents after talking to students about Nelson on the Saxtons River campus.

At least one parent, however, who did not want her name in print, said she was disappointed in how the school handled the situation.

The parent, who lives out of state, said she was worried about her child, and was only left to imagine what Nelson was being accused of.


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She said she sent an e-mail message to Brennan that was not returned, though Brennan said he had responded to every e-mail and phone call that came in regarding the termination.

The parent also said that her son had not heard about the termination or about the police investigation.

"I am anxious and anguished, and I have not been able to get any information," she said. "I don’t know if (Nelson) is in jail or if he is still in contact with the students. It is hard to be so far away and not get any information."

Brennan said the school could not say much while the investigation was being carried out.

He said as soon as the school received the information, administrators contacted the police and fired Nelson.

"We contacted the authorities immediately," Brennan said. "We are working closely with them and taking the lead from them."

In the letter to parents, Brennan said Nelson’s classes would be taught by other VA faculty, and he said the school’s top priority was "protecting our students and the Vermont Academy and Saxtons River communities."