Breckenridge Texan

Recent BHS graduate’s mom addresses school board about allegations against former coach

Recent BHS graduate’s mom addresses school board about allegations against former coach
June 24
18:14 2021

By Carla McKeown and Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

The Breckenridge Independent School District Board of Trustees met in a special meeting shortly after noon today, June 24, to discuss several proposed employment contracts, but before their discussions began, Arlene Hernandez addressed the board regarding the recent situation involving alleged improper electronic communications between a BISD employee and a recently graduated student.

Hernandez began by making sure that the board members knew that her daughter was the former student involved in the situation that came to light earlier this week when BISD Superintendent Bryan Allen issued a statement about the district’s and police department’s investigations into the allegations.

“In my opinion, it was not handled correctly,” Hernandez said. “I was never notified. I found out through my daughter. By this time she’s already blaming herself for what happened. She was told by this person a totally different story, causing her to blame herself.”

When word began to spread around town about text messages between the 18-year-old and BISD Head Baseball Coach Kevin Bartley, Hernandez said, her daughter didn’t know how to handle the situation. “Had I been contacted first, brought her in and talked to her and then gone to the authorities, this would have never happened,” she said. “I wouldn’t have to be pushing her to keep her head up, telling her that she would be OK and that this will pass. I wouldn’t have to be pushing her to eat or sleep next to her at night to make sure she sleeps. I would have never heard her say she wished she was gone.”

Although the school board couldn’t discuss the topic or Hernandez’s comments since the topic wasn’t listed on the agenda, the board members listened to what she had to say. In an email later in the day, Allen said that BISD has made a report to the Texas Education Agency’s Division of Educator Misconduct and Investigations regarding the matter. Additionally, he said that, to his knowledge, Hernandez was in contact with Breckenridge High School Principal William Paul on the afternoon of June 17, the day Bartley turned in his letter of resignation.

As she addressed the board, Hernandez described her daughter’s many accomplishments at BHS. “She was respected, loved and admired. Let me rephrase that — she is loved, respected and admired by many,” she said. “She deserved much more from the school system and not just tossed out to fend for herself.”

She complained about the common practice of many teachers using text messaging to contact students. “Teachers shouldn’t have kids’ cell phone numbers,” Hernandez said. “I’m sure every kid in this school has at least one teacher’s phone number in there. Mine kid did. My kids do. Or did.”

BISD has an “electronic communication” policy that allows for approved school-related communication to take place. Click the box below to read the policy. Also, you can click here to read the entire policy, including the Employee Standards of Conduct.

BISD Electronic Communication Policy

A certified employee, licensed employee, or any other employee designated in writing by the Superintendent or a campus principal may use electronic communication, as this term is defined by law, with currently enrolled students only about matters within the scope of the employee’s professional responsibilities.

Unless an exception has been made in accordance with the employee handbook or other administrative regulations, an employee shall not use a personal electronic communication platform, application, or account to communicate with currently enrolled students.

Unless authorized above, all other employees are prohibited from using electronic communication directly with students who are currently enrolled in the District. The employee handbook or other administrative regulations shall further detail:

1. Exceptions for family and social relationships;

2. The circumstances under which an employee may use text messaging to communicate with individual students or student groups;

3. Hours of the day during which electronic communication is discouraged or prohibited; and

4. Other matters deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or designee.

In accordance with ethical standards applicable to all District employees, an employee shall be prohibited from using electronic communications in a manner that constitutes prohibited harassment or abuse of a District student; adversely affects the student’s learning, mental health, or safety; includes threats of violence against the student; reveals confidential information about the student; or constitutes an inappropriate communication with a student, as described in the Educators’ Code of Ethics.

An employee shall have no expectation of privacy in electronic communications with students. Each employee shall comply with the District’s requirements for records retention and destruction to the extent those requirements apply to electronic communication.

“It’s called trust, and after this I don’t know how I will trust y’all with the rest of my children this upcoming year,” Hernandez said, explaining that some of her kids don’t want to go to school-related activities this summer because of the potential for conflict related to the ongoing investigation. “But I’m here. I will make sure this will not happen to another child again. We’re not running away. And I hope that you can fix this and learn how to handle a situation like this.”

Arlene Hernandez talks to the BISD Board of Trustees on Thursday, June 24, about allegations regarding a former coach and her daughter. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

After the trustees went into executive session to discuss hiring personnel, Hernandez spoke with the Breckenridge Texan, but she said she didn’t want to reveal anything that would jeopardize the investigations into the situation.

She said she regularly monitors her kids’ cell phone usage, including text messages, and hadn’t seen any red flags until shortly before school was out. However, initially, her daughter denied that anything improper was going on. Later, her daughter showed her some text messages and said she didn’t know what to do, Hernandez said.

Regarding what she would like to see happen now, Hernandez said she wants her daughter’s name cleared so that “she feels better about herself,” she said. “And then, if he’s to be found guilty, that he doesn’t go teach at another school, that he does not get exposed to another child.”

She also said that she would like to see the school district make its policies more available and understandable to parents.

In the past, Hernandez said, one of her children was being bullied and she couldn’t easily locate the required reporting form. After contacting Region 14 for help in finding the form, it was made more visible on the BISD website. She said she reported the bullying and it was stopped. (The Bully Report Form is located on the BISD website, under the “Buckaroos” tab and then under “Helpful Forms.” It is available as a PDF and as a downloadable Word document.)

Hernandez also said that she has heard rumors that other girls have received improper messages but are afraid to come forward because of the way her daughter is getting treated by some people in the community. She said she has posted on her Facebook page and talked to some people, encouraging the girls to reach out to her if they aren’t comfortable making complaints on their own.

“If you’re afraid to talk to your parents, I’ll go with you. If you’re afraid to talk to the police, I’ll go with you. (I’ll be) right there,” she said. “I’ll make sure they’re OK. And I’ll fight with them.”

As she wrapped up her comments to the school board, Hernandez said, “No child deserves this. Yes, she was 18, but she still graduated from the school and she should have had a much better support,” she said.

The Breckenridge Texan first reported the story on Tuesday afternoon, following Allen’s statement. Later that day, Breckenridge Police Chief Bacel Cantrell acknowledged that Bartley was the school employee who was under investigation. Bartley resigned last week from both his BISD job and his summer job at the City of Breckenridge swimming pool.

Today, Cantrell said the investigation is ongoing and that he has not heard from any other alleged victims in the case. However, he is continuing to look into Bartley and his actions.

 

Cutline, top story: Arlene Hernandez, left, attended the special meeting of the Breckenridge Independent School District’s Board of Trustees on Thursday afternoon, June 24, to address recent allegations about a BISD coach texting her daughter. The school board was meeting to discuss personnel appointments and could not talk about the allegations. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


Make sure you don’t miss any of the Breckenridge Texan’s news…click here to sign up for our email newsletter, the Weekly News Roundup. It has links to stories, photo galleries and more! It’s free to sign up, and it comes to you every Monday morning.


 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Support The Breckenridge Texan





Archives

Title of the document Sign up for our
e-newsletter
Click Here