Dubai: Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD) said it has suspended a teacher after he was arrested in the US, where, according to US officials, he travelled to allegedly have sex with a child.
In a statement on Monday, SISD said: “Through media reports, we are aware that Mr William Ball, a secondary teacher employed at the school, was arrested in Florida, the USA, on February 15, 2018.
“Mr Ball has been suspended with immediate effect pending confirmation and the outcome of the judicial process. The school informed parents and staff as well as the relevant stakeholders.”
According to ABC Action News in the US, Ball — said to be a music teacher — was arrested by US Marshals, who said he paid $5,000 (around Dh18,300) to fly from Dubai to Florida to have sex with a seven-year-old.
ABC Action News reported that the prosecutor in Tampa, Florida, said Ball was “using the internet and a cell phone to set up and meet a seven-year-old”.
According to the media report, the prosecutor also said officials have proof of “extensive internet conversations regarding the case”.
The article said the Department of Homeland Security in the US is handling the case.
Ball is being charged with “soliciting a minor for sex and child pornography”, it added. The Dubai-based teacher is from Mississippi state in America, according to the news outlet.
On Monday, SISD said: “The school would like to confirm that Mr Ball was recruited through a reputable agency with stringent background checks in place.
"In addition to these checks, the school carried out its own verifications. All references also explicitly confirmed that he was suitable to work with children.
“Moreover, it is essential to underline that no related child protection concerns have been reported to the SISD Child Protection Coordinator in the case of this teacher (or any other).
“We take child protection extremely seriously and a Council of International Schools visitor recently commended “the level of detail in place to ensure any person working with children or [who] has the potential of working with children, has the appropriate background checks.”
SISD added: “The well-being of children at our school is our top priority. To that end, our pastoral and child protection teams are monitoring and supporting students closely.
"Immediately, upon returning to school, our teachers and child protection team addressed the matter with students and we continue to work very closely with our community to support children and protect their well-being.”