Union teacher resigns following email investigation

The Union Board of Education met in special session Monday to accept a resignation agreement with middle school science teacher Mark Hookham. Pictured are members of the Union Board of Education along with Superintendent Travis Flesher and board secretary Kathy Krug. -- Darvin Graham/NTTelegraph

The Union Community Board of Education accepted a resignation agreement Monday morning for middle school science teacher Mark Hookham during a special board meeting at Union High School.

According to Union superintendent Travis Fleshner, the resignation is related to an internal investigation the Telegraph reported on in March regarding emails exchanged with students.

Fleshner confirmed the school’s investigation, though not completely closed, had passed on to agencies outside of the school district.

The early morning board meeting was brief with only a motion and vote being held before the group adjourned one minute later. The board vote to accept the resignation was unanimous.

No public comment was heard during the meeting, although a group of visitors in attendance broke into applause once the motion had passed.

A search warrant was issued in late March for property belonging to Union Middle School science teacher Mark Hookham (pictured). Shortly thereafter, Hookham resigned his position with the school district in connection with an internal investigation into emails exchanged with a student.

Court documents indicate that on March 29 the Dysart Police Department applied for and was granted a search warrant to seize property belonging to Hookham. A Tama County judge ordered the warrant documents to be sealed from the public citing an ongoing investigation by law enforcement officers.

The order says the public discourse around the details of the search warrant could seriously jeopardize the investigation, impede the administration of justice and possibly infringe upon the rights of the victim or the rights of the other persons involved to receive a fair trial without adverse pre-trial publicity.

In the matter of the search warrant, Hookham is being represented by attorney Adam Junaid of Frerichs Law Office P.C. in Waterloo.

Given that the Union school district crosses several law enforcement jurisdictions, it is not immediately clear which law enforcement agency is conducting the current investigation.

According to Fleshner, the reason the special session was called Monday morning is the board wished to act as soon as a resignation agreement had been reached. The details of the agreement have not been made public. The Union Board of Education is scheduled to hold a regular board meeting at 6 p.m. tonight.