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Woman fired from Fargo high school over nude photos also worked as a nanny for superintendent’s family – InForum

FARGO – A woman fired from Fargo Davies High School amid allegations of exchanging nude photos with a boy at school also worked as a nanny for the school district’s leader, the superintendent confirmed.

Ashley Peterson, 33, was a behavioral management specialist at Davies before he was fired in October 2023 due to an investigation that began three days earlier.

She had worked for the school district for two years.

On May 13, Peterson was charged in Cass County Court with promoting a sexual performance by a minor, a misdemeanor, and contributing to the deprivation or delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor.

The Forum received a tip that Superintendent Rupak Gandhi had also hired Peterson as a nanny.

On Monday, May 20, Gandhi released a statement confirming that his family fired Peterson as an employee in their home immediately after learning of her dismissal from the school district.

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Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Rupak Gandhi answers questions during the final Fargo Public Schools Long Range Planning Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School.

Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Gandhi said he and his wife asked Peterson to remove belongings from their home, which she immediately did.

Fargo’s chief said the situation was challenging for the family, including their young children, “who were immediately abandoned by a trusted adult due to the adult’s reprehensible actions,” the statement said.

Gandhi said it was also important to note that Peterson’s role in the family was not related to her inappropriate professional conduct at school.

Last week, the Fargo school board unanimously approved a new two-year contract for Gandhi, who has worked for the district since 2018.

His wife, Britney Gandhi, is the superintendent of the Richland #44 School District in Colfax.

Peterson, their former nanny, was accused of exchanging nude photos via social media with a boy at Davies for months in 2023.

According to court documents, a school employee questioned Peterson about having conversations with students over social media, which she denied.

The officer then interviewed the student, who said he was 16 when he became Snapchat friends with Peterson over the Christmas holidays in 2022. The boy said he knew she worked at the school and that she knew he was a student.

In the summer of 2023, Peterson asked the boy to send her a nude photo and the two began exchanging private nude photos, according to court documents.

The boy told detectives that Peterson often asked him to meet her, which made him feel uncomfortable.

He said he never met her in person and the social media messages eventually ended, the documents said.

Peterson is due back in court on June 20.

Here is Superintendent Gandhi’s full statement:

My wife Britney and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter directly. When I became aware of the allegations against Ashley Peterson, I immediately recused myself from the situation to ensure a fair and impartial investigation regarding her work. During this investigation, Ms. Peterson was not responsible for the care of our children. The results of the investigation led to her subsequent termination by the Fargo Public Schools (FOD).

Immediately upon notice of her resignation from the FPS, my wife and I made the decision to terminate Mrs. Peterson’s employment as a nanny for our family and requested that all of her belongings be removed from our home, which she did without delay. Since that time, she has had no contact or interaction with my family that was not related to communicating the termination of her employment as our nanny.

This situation was challenging for my family, including my young children, who were immediately abandoned by a trusted adult because of that adult’s reprehensible actions. We unequivocally condemn her behavior and have cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities throughout the investigation. If necessary, we will continue to do this in the future.

My family and I are trying to overcome this difficult situation. It is crucial for the well-being of my children that we can put this behind us.

While I understand that the news that Mrs. Peterson is our nanny is upsetting to some, it is important to clarify that her role within our family has nothing to do with her inappropriate professional behavior at school.

Thank you for your understanding and for providing me with this explanation.