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Phoenix teacher placed on leave over contact with students

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PHOENIX — A Phoenix teacher was placed on leave Wednesday pending an investigation over his contact with students, according to the Deer Valley Unified School District.

Colleen, a student who graduated from Barry Goldwater High School in 2017, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday she filed a complaint with the district over messages Aude Odeh sent her when she was as young as 16.

DVUSD said it received a complaint regarding Odeh on Tuesday evening. More than 30 students have come forward with similar allegations, according to Colleen.

She said Odeh, an English language arts teacher at the high school for six years prior to his suspension, would send messages to her through various social media platforms saying he was lonely and needed someone to talk to.

The messages came despite Colleen never having taken one of his classes.

“I didn’t know how he knew who I was. I don’t know how he would have found me unless it was through following other students,” Colleen said. “It was just a little alarming, honestly.”

Colleen said she brought the interactions to the district’s attention after hearing from other students who had also been contacted by Odeh.

Her interactions with Odeh, which Colleen called uncomfortable, continued even after she went to college. She said she last received a message from Odeh “2-3 months ago,” when he complimented her appearance.

District policy prohibits employees from engaging in inappropriate, unprofessional or peer-like communications with students including through social media, internet sites or electronic communications of any type.

She said she started to block Odeh on social media platforms after graduating high school but noted he had several accounts, making it difficult.

DVUSD said in a statement it was investigating the complaint and would take appropriate action.

Odeh’s teacher bio page on the district’s website was unavailable as of Thursday evening.

Colleen said she wants to ensure other students aren’t subjected to the same treatment.

“I just wanted to make sure that other young girls kind of seeing that knew how I felt those interactions went and how they should be perceived by other young women,” Colleen said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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