New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 6, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 12 — Herald-Zeitunc — Thursday, January 6, 2011
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ually explicit manner... by asking her what her thoughts were on the subject of masturbation and what she knew about her hotly and what she enjoyed about her body, by asking her if she has ever ‘flashed’ someone, by asking her if a boy has ever seen her naked, by asking her how she controls her sexual desires and urges.”
The girl’s parents knew their daughter and the teacher had texted each other for educational purposes. But the girl’s mother discovered an explicit text on the morning of Dec. 2.
"The victim confirmed the fact that they had been communicating via text messages on many occasions and stated the content in said text messages was an inappropriate conversation she had with Beck. ... She stated the text conversations began to get inappropriate at the beginning of November, stating he had asked her one time what her fantasies were,” Schroeder said.
I he detective said Beck and his attorney Matthew Kyle had met with him, and that Beck told him the victim didn’t have anyone to talk to at home and that she felt comfortable talking to him. The detective said Beck told him they had 10-15 different days of text conversation.
However, phone records provided by the victim’s parents showed many more days, Schroeder said.
Beck told Schroeder on the day the texts were discovered by the victim’s parents, that he had been tex-ting the victim for an hour to an hour-and-a-half in
According to the NBISD Employee Code of Conduct:
• Employees will be held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic media as they are for any other public conduct
• While the NBISD code doesn't prohibit teachers from the use of electronic media with students, it forbids "posting messages or accessing materials that are abusive, obscene, sexually oriented
• It also says employees who use electronic media to communicate with students "shall limit communications to matters within the
duration, with time gaps to put up Christmas lights outside, cook dinner and watch TV.
Records provided by the victim’s parents told a different story, Schroeder said.
"The records ... show the conversation the day in question was approximately five-and-a-half hours in duration with minimal time gaps, with approximately 292 traded text messages hack and forth between Beck and the victim,” Schroeder said.
Allegations of sexually explicit text messages between teachers and students are rare, said Lt. Michael Penshorn of the New Braunfels Police Department.
But Beck’s behavior appears to he a textbook case of online solicitation, a crime definition which includes texting as well as online messages, Penshorn said. "His actions fit the description of that offense and we have probable cause to charge him with it."
A conviction for online solicitation of a minor under 14 would be a second degree felony, carrying with it a sentence of 2 to 20 years
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scope of the employee's professional responsibilities (i.e., for classroom teachers, matters relating to class work, homework and tests; for an employee with an extracurricular duty, matters relating to the extracurricular activity.)
• "The employee shall not communicate directly with any student through electronic media during inappropriate hours."
• The code prohibits "soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student."
in prison and up to $10,000 fine.
Beck made his $25,000 bond in just over an hour after he was hooked into Comal County Jail.
Penshorn said authorities are investigating to see if there have been other allegations in which youth might have been victimized in a similar manner.
We would encourage people who have any additional information to let us know about it,’’ he said, asking individuals with information to call the NBPD at (830) 221-4600.
Beck’s attorney speaks
Reached for a phone interview Wednesday, attorney Matthew Kyle said he is waiting to see what a Comal County grand jury will do with the case.
“There’s nothing formal that has been done yet ...
1 hat will be their province — their job to see if an indictment will he issued,” he said.
Kyle pointed to his client’s willingness to cooperate, coming into the police department for an hour-and-a-half interview in December, and then turning himself in when told there was a warrant for his arrest.
“He’ll stand on his record as a teacher and what people think of him as a teacher,” he said, adding that his client misses his
"He enjoys the teaching profession and he enjoys coaching,” Kyle said. “He’s anxious to defend his case.”
Det. Schroeder said he teamed from NBISD school officials that texting a student is prohibited in their policy and procedures in the form Beck was communicating with the victim and Beck has had in-service training on the subject matter prior to the incident.
According to the NBISD Employee Code of Conduct, employees are prohibited from sending, displaying or downloading offensive messages or pictures.
As role models for the district’s students, employees are responsible for their public conduct even when they are not acting as district employees.
“Employees will be held to the same professional standards in their public use of electronic media as they are for any other public conduct. If an employee’s use of electronic media interferes with the employee’s ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment...
“The employee continues to he subject to applicable state and federal laws, local policies, administrative regulations and Code of Ethics and Standard Practices for Texas Educators, even when communicating regarding personal and private matters, regardless of whether the employee is using private or public equipment, on or off campus.”
While the NBISD code doesn’t prohibit teachers from the use of electronic media with students, it forbids “posting messages or accessing materials that are abusive, obscene, sexually oriented ...”
It also says*employees who use electronic media to communicate with students "shall limit commu-
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nications to matters within the scope of the employee’s professional responsibilities (i.e., for classroom teachers, matters relating to class work, homework and tests; for an employee with an extracurricular duty, matters relating to the extracurricular activity.)
"The employee shall not communicate directly with any student through electronic media during inappropriate hours.”
The code prohibits “soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct or a romantic relationship with a student.” The New Braunfels Independent School District sent a letter home to parents in December, before the break, and Beck was placed on administrative leave.
“He was placed on adminstrative leave in December after allegations came forward regarding inappropriate interaction between teacher and student ...” said Stephanie Ferguson, the NBISD public information officer.
“When they are in and around children, if you have an allegation of this sort, you take it very seriously and investigate to do what you need to do to clarify or fix the situation.”
Beck remains on paid administrative leave pending the school district investigation, which is ongoing.
“His arrest and our investigation and his employment status are separate things,” said Ferguson. “It’s part of due process — whether that status will change is still a personnel matter.”
To her knowledge, district equipment and time were not used in the alleged acts.
At presstime on Wednesday, Ferguson had not heard of any other students or teachers involved in similar situations.
“We believe it to be an isolated incident,” she said.
While the school district is not offering any specific counseling, “any time a child has a question or a concern, they’re certainly welcome to go to a counselor, trusted teacher or administrator,” Ferguson said.MEALS
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been approved for the Meals on Wheels program, Walker said.
"Cx)mal County is estimated to grow at a rapid pace within the next few years, which will bring a larger clientele to our services,” Walker said. "This growth is not expected to decline anytime soon, nor will the demand for our services.”
This past week, a private person, who belongs to the Leadership Worth Following organization, gave $1,000 donation to support the program, said Mary Durham, Comal County Senior Citizens Center vice-president of operations.
“It’s not that shocking that people right at 60 years old are calling up for meals,” Walker said. "It’s a free meal offered to seniors that they don’t have to cook. These seniors might own a house, but that’s all they have.”
Monday through Friday, about 200 volunteer drivers take one of 17 daily shifts to deliver the meals — most drivers are seniors themselves, Walker said.
“A lot of drivers become receivers later,” said Linda Hildebrand, Comal County Senior Citizens Center assistant food service manager. “People are accepting Meals on Wheels when they can’t drive anymore.”
Daily contact with drivers enables seniors to have outside interaction, which reduces their feelings of isolation, Walker said.
"They have some of the most beautiful and wonderful people who deliver Meals On Wheels,” said Bill Joiner, 92-year-old meal receiver. “So many of us can’t cook like we want to. I am in a wheelchair, and my wife has Alzheimer’s.” Hildebrand said drivers not only deliver meals, but also go above and beyond by providing assistance if needed, such as calling Emergency Medical Services.
“We get very good service," said Raymond Spring, 83-year-old receiver. “We started receiving meals about two or three years ago. I do everything in the house like cleaning and cooking. We needed the help.”
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