After sending inappropriate messages to a high school student, a middle-school orchestra teacher from Indiana is now under investigation.
Ben Yoder, 37 years old, is the director for orchestras at Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate and Junior High Schools in Fishers, Indiana. This suburb is northeast of Indianapolis. A new Daily Signal report claims that Yoder recently reached out to an inquisitive high school student via Instagram, suggesting that his interest went beyond the boundaries of a student-teacher relationship.
A screenshot taken by a concerned parent shows that @bennybooboobooboo, an Instagram account believed to be Yoder, reached out to the student via direct messaging last August, right before the student began his senior year at high school. “Benny,” in an initial attempt to determine the student’s age, asked, “Are your out yet?” Or is it the senior year? Although his name is not being released due to his age, the student who attended Hamilton Southeastern High School confirmed that he has “one more year” of school.
Benny learned that his correspondent was still at high school and discussed his desire to “get into trouble” with him. Benny responded, “I guess it is not quite a time for you to get into trouble yet lol.”
Benny said that the student should let his imagination run wild when he was asked by the student to explain “trouble.” Benny replied, “Trouble can be anything you want it to be lol.”
Benny said, “I’ll try my best to wait haha.”
BREAKING: Indiana teacher and LGBTQ+ advocate Ben Yoder caught sending sexually-suggestive private messages to student.
Local police & @HSESchools are investigating.https://t.co/XQpdP4egBu
— Tony Kinnett (@TheTonus) February 2, 2023
The Daily Signal acknowledged that it was unable to “independently confirm the accuracy and legitimacy of the screenshots” or that Yoder’s Instagram account is authentic. The Instagram account in question has, however, reportedly posted photos of Yoder and his students over the years.
The Daily Signal claimed that Yoder had previously posted explicit messages and photos on other social media accounts. However, he said that he deleted most of these objectionable posts when he was elected to the position of vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
Yoder tweeted “At gay strip club” in 2011. “Get ready to see co**s swing all night.”
Yoder recently pinned a tweet showing a statement he made on his alleged Twitter account in 2020 to the top. It read: “My students recite The Pledge of Allegiance every morning, but children who are like me cannot count on the promise of liberty, justice, and for all.”
The work continues. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/Z0h6JVuGTf
— Mr. Ben Yoder (he/him) 🎻 🏳️🌈 ✊🏾 (@MrBenYoder) June 3, 2020
Other screenshots show that Yoder is interested in greater representation of gay people in teaching and music and that he supports teaching children about “preferred pronouns”.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools’ director for school and community relations Emily Abbotts told the Daily Signal that Yoder had sent the district information via “the anonymous mobile reporting app”. Abbotts stated that while the district will investigate any concerns raised, and in the interests of protecting the identities of the parties involved, the district will not discuss the matter publicly.
Fishers Police Department also stated that they are aware of the incident and are investigating it.
Yoder has been a Hamilton Southeastern district resident for at least thirteen years. According to a feature in Ball State University magazine about Yoder, Yoder, an alum of BSU who advocates for equity and inclusion, was named Indiana’s Middle School Music Teacher of the Year in 2020.
Yoder didn’t respond to requests for comment.