A local teachers union president who was the focus of a hidden-camera video in which he said he threatened a student with physical violence remains employed by the Wichita school district, officials said this week.
Steve Wentz, president of United Teachers of Wichita, continues to lead the union and serve as a substitute teacher in Wichita classrooms.
District officials declined to share any specifics about the investigation into Wentz’s comments, now in its fourth month.
“As with any personnel matter, specifics of the investigation and/or outcome are not shared publicly. That is the case in this instance as well,” said Wendy Johnson, spokeswoman for the Wichita district.
Asked whether Wentz continues to teach in Wichita, Johnson said, “Yes, Mr. Wentz is still employed by the district.”
Wentz declined to comment on the investigation or its outcome.
In June, a video published online by Project Veritas – a controversial, conservative-leaning organization – appeared to feature footage of Wentz at a hotel bar during a conference in Orlando, Fla., in 2015.
In it, Wentz described an episode with a former student in which he asked the student to stay after class.
“I go over, shut the door, lock it, pull the shades down … and I go, ‘Do you really want to kick my ass? Do you really think I’m a (expletive)?” Wentz says in the video. “Son, go for it – and I’ll give you the first shot.”
Asked in the video whether he said that to a student, Wentz can be heard saying, “I’ve done this more than once. And I said, ‘But I will guarantee you, I will kick your (expletive) ass.’ ”
The day the video appeared online in June, district and union officials said they planned to investigate its content.
Marcus Baltzell, director of communications for the Kansas National Education Association, said last week that Wentz will continue serving as president of UTW, which represents about 4,100 Wichita teachers.
“It’s an internal matter, basically, that we’ve dealt with,” Baltzell said.
Wentz, 56, began a three-year term as president of United Teachers of Wichita in 2015. Prior to his election, he taught psychology and world history for 25 years at Southeast High School.
As part of a requirement for union officers to keep their district benefits, Wentz and vice president Kimberly Howard spend half their time working for UTW and half serving as substitute teachers in Wichita classrooms.
Wentz was part of the UTW team that negotiated terms of a proposed Wichita teacher contract, which teachers are voting on this week.