HIGHLAND, Ind. (CBS) — A northwest Indiana high school teacher has been fired and is expected to soon face criminal charges for what the school board described as “inappropriate conduct” with a female student.

CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports the local school board in Highland, Ind., fired teacher Sam Fies, 33, on Wednesday, after first learning of the allegations against him in October.

“I think it’s sad for the girl, but scary for the students,” said Highland High School student Shadia Alnajjar.

Students who know Fies also said everyone’s been talking about accusations against him for months.

Fies was fired after allegations he had inappropriate contact with a female student.

Alnajjar said Fies was her study hall teacher this year.

“I thought he tried to be too much of a friend to students and not a teacher,” she said.

School administrators said they found out about the alleged misconduct in October.

After the school board launched an investigation and reported the allegations to police, the principal recommended Fies’ contract be terminated.

The board voted to end that contract Wednesday morning.

“If, in fact, it’s true … it’s appalling that anyone would behave like that, particularly a teacher or someone you put in trust with your kids,” said mother Carin Olah.

She said her daughter had Fies as a teacher in 7th grade and, now, she’s questioning his conduct in her class, too.

“I could believe that he was flirting with us,” her daughter, Dakotah Olah said.

“It’s tragic,” Carin Olah said.

Asked if it concerns her that her daughter’s thoughts have turned to her prior interactions with this teacher now, Olah said, “Sure, sure. Because now, you know, she’s trying to think back and see, you know, is there something she might have done or something he was doing?”

The school board sent a statement saying “the entire School Town of Highland community is saddened and disturbed by these events. We pride ourselves in putting our students first.”

Officials have not said how long this alleged inappropriate relationship went on or what the extent of the inappropriate conduct was.

Those details could come out when the Lake County, Ind., prosecutor signs off on criminal charges.

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