RHINELANDER (WAOW) - A Rhinelander High School English teacher accused of growing 66 marijuana plants at his home has been fired, the school superintendent said Tuesday.
The school board voted 6-0 with one abstention on Monday to terminate the $44,500 contract of Joshua Juergens, who joined the faculty in August, Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said.
On Nov. 8, Juergens, 35, was charged in Oneida County Circuit Court with two felonies - manufacturing at least 50 marijuana plants and possession of a controlled substance - and four misdemeanors, including two counts of theft. His preliminary hearing on the accusations is Thursday.
The charges were filed following a police investigation into the theft of some electronic equipment at the high school. A search of Juergen's home led to what police called a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation in the basement, according to the criminal complaint.
Jacobi said Juergens' teaching contract was terminated because he has not cooperated with a school investigation and "we also found an inconsistency in his application."
The superintendent said the school district has found no evidence that Juergens provided marijuana to students "or anything that would lead us to believe students were involved in any way."
Juergens told investigators that he grew marijuana not to sell it but to smoke it and allow others to smoke it, the complaint said.
Juergens' attorney, Mary Hogan of Rhinelander, did not immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.
Juergens worked at Lincoln Hills School near Irma before joining the Rhinelander School District, Jacobi said.
He remained in the Oneida County Jail on Tuesday on $1,500 cash bail, a jailer said.