Prince William County Schools superintendent under investigation over private messages with students

Prince William County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts is defending himself against accusations he had inappropriate conversations with students via direct message on Twitter.

Walts is under investigation over messages he reportedly sent to a 14-year-old girl and there are three complaints at the center of the investigation, which is now being conducted by an outside firm.

FOX 5's Tisha Lewis reports this story began when Gainesville resident Guy Morgan said he stumbled upon Walts public Twitter page.

Morgan says he thought some pictures he saw with Walts and students were inappropriate. He then tweeted Walts expressing his concern but saw that the tweets continued. That's when Morgan says after talking with other community members, he filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to see Walts' direct messages.

One in particular, that is at the basis for the complaint, is Walts’ interactions with a 14-year-old girl.

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"This young girl initiated the conversation by simply asking when grades were due. She mentioned that she loved him and that she would like him to follow her on Twitter. This was all happening close to midnight. Sometime during the next day, Dr. Walts actually without telling her or her parents, drove to her school the next morning without telling her or her parents, used his superintendent status, apparently, to try and have her pulled from class," said Morgan. 

School board regulations require parents be copied on electronic communications with students — Morgan says they did not happen.

FOX 5's Tisha Lewis asked Morgan several times why he looked into this in the first place. He says he's just a concerned citizen.

Late Thursday afternoon, the superintedent spoke out on Twitter, saying there's more to this story.

FOX 5 has learned Walts had 10,000 direct messages within a 14 to15 month period in his public Twitter account, many reportedly with students.

The school board last month retained the independent outside firm to conduct an external review and provide the board with a confidential report.