DIETRICH - The first building to greet you in Dietrich is a small church with a tall white steeple. It sits on the bottom of a hill, shielding most of the town from the rest of the outside world.
At the back of 330-person Dietrich is its one and only school building. Inside those brick walls is a science instructor who became a household name.
Longtime teacher Tim McDaniel is at the center of a state investigation. Allegations include sharing private student information, teaching sex education and birth control, and promoting a political candidate while on school property.
Along with a state investigation, McDaniel also faces a possible reprimand from the Dietrich school board.
Many of the town's residents are standing in support of a beloved science teacher.
"This has not been an easy week," McDaniel said last week. "It's affecting my sleep, my teaching and my family is beginning to notice."
Neither McDaniel nor any parents have offered details on the accusation of sharing student information, but McDaniel strongly denies any wrongdoing.
McDaniel won't know whether the school board will choose to reprimand him until the state investigation is over, which could take months to complete. He has said he won't accept a letter of reprimand.
"I won't sign it," he said. "I haven't done anything wrong."
TALKING 'THE TALK'
Scrutiny over McDaniel's teachings began when four parents with students in his class filed a complaint. According to McDaniel, the school board told him that the parents were upset that he explained the biology behind an orgasm and included the word "vagina" in a lesson.
McDaniel said he teaches the human reproductive system because the school's health teacher is too uncomfortable teaching it himself. He said he's been teaching the human reproductive system and different forms of birth control from the school-approved biology textbook for 17 years.
Since he first started teaching in Dietrich, he had never received a complaint about his teaching material or his teaching style. His class isn't used for sex education and students are given the chance to opt out if they feel uncomfortable, he said.
McDaniel said he doesn't mind covering the material. He and his wife have adopted 20 children and raised five of their own, and they laugh that they've got "the talk" down to a science.
"My husband doesn't joke when he's talking about this subject," Shelly McDaniel said. "He doesn't joke in general. He's kind of terrible at it."
She also said that criticism that the complaint was religiously based is false. The McDaniels are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which she said advocates teaching the anatomical parts of the human body to children starting at age 4.
"We all go to the same church," she said. "This didn't start because the church teaches us not to know this."
A SMALL TOWN'S REACTION
McDaniel's story was picked up across the state, nation and even by some international news outlets. That's been a big surprise to Dietrich residents, said Felecia Rollyson, who works as a chef at The Eagle's Nest, the town's only restaurant and bar.
Dietrich is about 32 miles northeast of Twin Falls.
"We have dirt roads for some of our city streets here," she said. "This is the epitome of a small town."
Rollyson said that just a few hours after the school board met with McDaniel to discuss the allegations, it felt like the entire town knew what was going on. Yet she wasn't expecting the rest of the state to be in on the news.
Rollyson said her customers have vocalized their support for McDaniel and his family. Her daughter is in McDaniel's class, and Rollyson said she is standing by his side.
"I don't know if it's because we all go to the same church or what, but it's probably influencing some of this," she said. "It feels like a witch hunt. Everyone has been talking about this. But if you look at the size of his family, you can see he's got a lot of love in his heart."
Shirley Bingham, who works as a substitute teacher for the Dietrich school district, also supports the McDaniel family. Three out of her four children have taken McDaniel's class and she has never had a problem with his material.
"I hope he is allowed to continue teaching like he is," said Bingham.
McDaniel continues to teach science while the state pursues its investigation.
"This has been eye-opening for the community," McDaniel said. "I think it's showing them that you can't make allegations and not get a fight back."