The Springfield News-Leader reported on Wednesday that the Lawrence County prosecutor has dropped a charge of failing to report child abuse against the former Aurora superintendent hired by Springfield Public Schools.
Circuit Clerk Steven Kahre confirmed Wednesday that the misdemeanor charge against Travis Shaw was dropped on August 14.
He said there are no other comments in the file. “Once it’s dismissed, it is closed to the public.”
Shaw, 45, was accused this summer of failing to immediately report allegations that surfaced in late 2016 that a fifth-grade teacher was engaged in inappropriate behavior with “several students” at the high school.
As a school employee, he was a mandated reporter and required, by law, to notify law enforcement officials if allegations or suspensions arise.
The charge was filed in Lawrence County in late June as Shaw was wrapping up a two-year stint as superintendent in Aurora and preparing to start a new job as the director of operations for the Springfield district on July 1.
The Springfield district offered Shaw the job months earlier before the legal issue came up. Following the charge, he was placed on paid administrative leave.
A probable cause statement used to charge Shaw states he “was advised of” an issue involving teacher Jessica Rapert in mid-December, while still employed as the Aurora superintendent, and that an internal investigation was started in early January.
Allegations surfaced that Rapert was sending text messages and photos of herself to several high school students. No charges have been filed against Rapert, who resigned her job in Aurora. Her husband, who was the high school principal at the time, also resigned.
According to the statement, the allegation was not reported to the Missouri Division of Family Services until January 17 and the hotline call was made by assistant superintendent Billy Redus, not Shaw.
Shaw was present at the Springfield school board meeting Tuesday. He told the News-Leader that he started work in the district Friday but referred follow-up questions to his attorney.
Attorney Tyson Martin, who represented Shaw in the matter, said his client pleaded not guilty and repeatedly maintained that he followed the rules. This summer, Martin said records showed Shaw made two hotline calls.
He said Shaw was eager to start working in Springfield, where he will be part of the leadership team.
“Dr. Shaw has made it his lifelong career to educate kids and put them in a position to better their lives,” he said. “He is absolutely committed to making those hotline calls when he needs to.”
Asked to confirm Shaw’s start date, Teresa Bledsoe, director of communications for the district, responded: “Travis Shaw’s employment with SPS began July 1 but he was on leave until a legal matter related to his previous job was dismissed. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Shaw to the SPS team. His first day at work was Friday, August 18.”
In the new role, Shaw provides oversight and support for transportation, nutrition and custodial and grounds services. His starting salary is $121,003.