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Bismarck Public Schools has suspended a third-grade teacher at Dorothy Moses Elementary School, but officials aren't saying whether racist and sexually explicit text messages supposedly written by the teacher are what prompted the investigation.

The teacher's attorney said the text messages that recently surfaced on social media are fake.

Nicole Gabel was put on administrative leave on Wednesday, the school district said in a statement released late Thursday.

The district offered no reason, saying only that Gabel is suspended "pending the outcome of a comprehensive investigation. It also said "another Moses employee has been hired as a replacement."

The statement said the district would have no further comment until the conclusion of the investigation. Bismarck Public Schools spokeswoman Renae Hoffmann Walker told the Tribune she could offer no additional information.

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Court exhibits filed in a recent child custody case involving Gabel include text messages written by her, but none match the purported texts that surfaced on social media.

Amanda Harris, Gabel's attorney in that case, said in a statement to the Tribune that Gabel "is confident the truth will come out once the investigation is complete and her reputation as a hard-working devoted teacher will be restored."

"We pray the people responsible for intentionally fabricating and distributing these obscene texts will be brought to justice," Harris said.

No criminal charges have been filed against Gabel anywhere in North Dakota, a check of court files shows.

A check of her school personnel file shows no complaints from parents. 

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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