- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

HURON, S.D. (AP) - A seventh-grade teacher at Huron Middle School has been arrested on charges of disseminating harmful materials to a minor and marijuana possession, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Thomas Wendelgass, 30, was arrested Thursday afternoon on charges stemming from alleged inappropriate conversations between the teacher and a person under the age of 18, according to the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office. Both charges are Class One misdemeanors.

Sara Rabern, a spokeswoman with the Attorney General’s office, said she couldn’t elaborate on the details of the case because there may be additional charges.

Huron Schools Superintendent Terry Nebelsick said the alleged incidents didn’t take place on school grounds and the marijuana was not found at school. He also said the allegations don’t involve a current student or other staff members.

Nebelsick said Wendelgass has been suspended while the case is pending and is not to have contact with district students.

Wendelgass is starting his second year as a geography teacher at Huron Middle School, but Nebelsick said he’s known him all his life. Nebelsick said he was the Huron High School principal when Wendelgass graduated from there in 2002.

“Obviously I have great faith in every one of our 300-some staff members so I’m heartbroken when something like this comes up in any organization and most particularly in one I’ve been a part of for 21 years,” he said.

It was unclear Thursday afternoon whether Wendelgass has legal representation.

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