- Associated Press - Friday, March 6, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota education board has postponed taking any disciplinary action against the state superintendent of public instruction and a Bismarck teacher until a court reaches a decision in an alleged domestic violence incident.

The Education Standards and Practices Board decided to delay action so they could monitor legal proceedings against Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and any action taken against her fiancé Todd Tschosik by the Bismarck School Board.

Baesler was charged last month with assaulting Tschosik, who teaches at three Bismarck schools, reported the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1NphO07 ). She pleaded not guilty and said a statement following her arrest that an argument escalated to the point where she was concerned about her safety, and that “this incident was not the first situation where I felt I was at risk.”

Assistant Attorney General Sandra DePountis told the board, which oversees licensing of North Dakota’s teachers, that it is the board’s policy to address situations in which teachers face assault charges. She said the board can discipline a teacher or administrator who has been convicted of an offense deemed by the board to have a direct bearing on their ability to serve and who has not been sufficiently rehabilitated.

Baesler attended the meeting but did not speak to the board.

DePountis also addressed Tschosik’s criminal history.

Tschosik, who did not appear at the meeting, pleaded guilty to drunken driving in December and was charged with DUI in 2011, but pleaded guilty to reduced charges. He was also arrested in Orlando, Florida, in July after allegedly straddling Baesler on a bed with his hands around her neck. Police said in court documents that Baesler, 45, had a large bump on her forehead but claimed to have fallen in a park and hit her head. The documents say Baesler did not want to involve police and refused to sign a statement.

In a statement in February, Tschosik, 49, called the Florida incident “regrettable, but said “there was no assault on Ms. Baesler.”

Court documents show that Tschosik told Florida police “he was set up by the victim and her children.”

DePountis said the board could potentially take action against Tschosik for violating the board’s code of ethics.

The Bismarck School Board has not taken any steps to discipline Tschosik, though school administrators have placed him on an improvement plan following absences at work.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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