UPDATE: Gateway Band Director suspended amid charges filed

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UPDATE 2:45 P.M. 8/17/22 - The director of the Gateway High School marching band is on unpaid suspension after being charged with giving a student alcohol.

The Gateway school board met Wednesday night and voted to approve a notice of dismissal for James Hoeltje.

He was charged last week with giving the 18-year-old alcohol on a band trip and before prom.

One parent and booster member thanked the board for their quick action, but she says she is heartbroken for the students:

“It’s not the district’s fault. It is because of this individual. There are senior boys who are dedicated to music. One of them is my son. I had to see the heartbreak in his own eyes, for losing something that he holds so dear.”

The board is working to make sure that the rest of the band's season is not impacted by this. Hoeltje has the right to request a hearing with the board, pending termination.

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Parents and leaders at Gateway High School met for the first time Tuesday night after the band director was charged with giving a student alcohol during a school trip.

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37-year-old James Hoeltje is currently on leave, as Monroeville police continue to investigate.

School Board President Jack Bova says they'll wait for that investigation to wrap before any further action.

“There has been outrage from the community, and understandably, they would like to see heads, or one specific head, roll.”

Though Hoeltje is facing one charge for giving the student alcohol, a police affidavit suggests he and the 18-year-old student also had conversations that were sexual in nature.

It also alleges he climbed on top of her and tried to kiss her during the school trip.

Police say he allegedly admitted to letting the girl take the alcohol from his hotel room, but denied sexually assaulting her.

It's not clear if any further charges are coming.

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