May 1, 2012 11:50 PM

Teacher arrested for sex with students

ORO VALLEY - A stunner for students and staff at Ironwood Ridge High School who were back to class for the first time since the arrest of a teacher, accused of sexual misconduct with a student.

Oro Valley Police booked Melissa Dalton on four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

She posted bail this Tuesday.

The 33-year old was in her first year on faculty at IRHS as an art instructor.

That's after spending 10 years at Casas Christian school, also on the northwest side.

Police made the arrest Monday. Most everyone News 4 talked to on campus are stunned by the allegation against Dalton.

"Well I'm really really scared, because that's something that's really hard on the kids," says parent Maria Suarez.

"It's sad, it just upsets me," parent Cindy Casper said.

"I personally think they need to do some deep background checks on these teachers," said parent Brian Smith.

Parents and students alike are in disbelief.

"It's a really good school here," says high school student Alex Smith.

"I think she's the sweetest teacher you'll ever meet, " says student Courtney Torgreve who says it's hard to believe the accusations against the teacher, "Yes for the most part everybody loved her".

But police say Ms. Melissa Dalton took her relationship with two students too far. They say after interviewing the students they had probable cause to arrest her.

The gender of the students involved hasn't been released.

"I still feel like maybe it's not true," said Dina Salazar who attends the same church as Dalton, on the same grounds where she used to teach.

Before Ironwood Ridge, Ms. Dalton worked at Casas Christian for 10 years.

The school's principal Eric Dowdle tells News 4 "She was loved by all. Needless to say, we are shocked by this information".

As are those in the Ironwood Ridge community who say open dialogue with your students is key to keeping them safe.

"Talk to your kids, you really have to talk to your kids and talk with other parents and find out what they know, just have that communication," says Casper.

Dalton did not appear in court Tuesday. But her attorney did. He asked the judge not to read the charges aloud for the cameras.


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