Hickman teacher dies in his home; inquiry ongoing

Staff and students mourned the math teacher Wednesday.
Thursday, May 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:18 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Hickman High School math teacher’s death is under investigation, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.

Dennis Dallman, 56, was found lying on the floor of his living room at 9:55 a.m. Wednesday in his home on Ridgewood Road. Dallman’s car had been left running in the attached garage and there were high levels of carbon monoxide in his house, the sheriff’s department release said.

When Dallman didn’t show up for class or call in to the school, Cathy Dodd, the school resource officer, and security director Preston Bass, were sent to check on his home.

“That certainly wasn’t like him, being absent, so we knew something was wrong,” said Wanda Brown, Hickman’s principal.

When Dodd and Bass weren’t able to reach Dallman, they called the sheriff’s department.

Once the school was informed of the situation, Brown contacted the teachers first via hand-delivered notes to “give them a heads up so they could be there to support students,” she said.

The announcement that Dallman had died was made to students at 1 p.m. Dallman’s students reacted quietly when school officials and counselors informed them of his death, Brown said.

“Then one student said, ‘You know, Mr. Dallman had a great laugh, he would hate for us to cry,’ and they started telling Mr. Dallman stories,” she said.

Crisis counselors will be available for this week and next week for students and staff, Brown said.

Dallman, an employee with the Columbia School District for eight years, devoted much of his time to tutoring students who struggled with school, specifically in math. “He was very much a proponent of at-risk students, and he did a lot of tutoring in our success center here,” Brown said.

“It (is) a very tough time for all of us,” Brown said. “He was a really fine teacher and a wonderful colleague and a very wonderful man, and so it was really tough for the students and staff here at Hickman, and we’re still sort of in a state of shock about it.”

Sgt. Tom Reddin of the sheriff’s department said there was no indication of forced entry or foul play.

An autopsy has been scheduled for this morning.

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