Eugene Schools Chief Faces New Allegation: He Kissed a Teacher Without Her Consent

The incident took place soon after the school board reprimanded Andy Dey for other misconduct

Andy Dey. Courtesy Eugene School District 4J.

Embattled Eugene 4J School District chief Andy Dey — already on the brink of losing his job over a finding of misconduct — now faces a new allegation: that he kissed a teacher on the cheek without her permission at a South Eugene High School event last month.

Sources familiar with the allegation tell Eugene Weekly the incident took place Feb. 24, less than two weeks after the Eugene school board reprimanded Dey for retaliating against a middle-school teacher who had accused him of discriminating against her.

The school board has said it will make an announcement about Dey’s fate as superintendent at its March 6 meeting.

The board faces a March 15 deadline to say whether it will renew Dey’s contract, which expires in June 2025. If the board misses the deadline, Dey gets an automatic contract extension through the 2025-26 school year. He currently earns $240,000 annually.

Dey has been superintendent for less than two years, hired on a 4-3 vote by a board that had been warned Dey had a history of bullying, especially against female employees. 

Meanwhile, board members have declined to publicly acknowledge they have reprimanded Dey and are considering ending his tenure at the district. 

EW first reported on Jan. 26 that Dey was under investigation for retaliating against a middle-school teacher. A month later, on Feb. 21, the board voted unanimously to reprimand an unnamed school employee. Sources confirm that Dey was the person the board reprimanded. School officials have denied public records requests by EW and KLCC to release the investigation into Dey’s actions involving the middle-school teacher.

Many Eugene 4J employees have described a culture of fear, with many fearful to speak out about their concerns regarding Dey’s leadership.

But word about the newest allegation involving Dey has moved quickly through the district, and multiple sources have come forward to EW to describe the complaint filed by the female teacher.

On Feb. 24, South Eugene High School held its Celebrate South and Axe Hall of Fame dinner and fundraiser. According to sources familiar with the complaint, Dey walked up to the teacher and greeted her by kissing her on the cheek. Sources tell EW the teacher had a contentious relationship with Dey when he was the South Eugene High principal from 2015 until 2018. Sources say she told Dey he was never to do that again, and that same day filed the complaint against him. 

The school board has not had time to investigate the complaint brought by the South Eugene teacher.  

EW reached out to 4J for comment, and was directed to 4J board Chair Maya Rabasa, who was unable to comment on the complaint. 

According to 4J’s administrative rules, “Any employee who engages in discriminatory or harassing conduct is subject to discipline up to and including termination.” The district writes in its definition of sexual harassment, “whether particular conduct constitutes sexual harassment is viewed from the perspective of a reasonable person in the circumstances of the person alleging harassment. The fact that the alleged harasser did not intend to offend does not mean that his/her actions cannot constitute illegal harassment.” 

According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law doesn’t prohibit “isolated incidents that are not very serious,” but “harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.”