School's staff implicated in sex scandal

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A Richmond County Board of Education investigation has uncovered a sex scandal involving teachers, coaches and the principal of an Augusta middle school.

Calling it an "embarrassment" and "yucky," Superintendent Dana Bedden said seven Spirit Creek Middle School faculty members have been implicated in the incidents, which ranged from a pat on the butt to sexual trysts on an inflatable mattress in the school's public safety office during school hours.

At a news conference Monday, Dr. Bedden added several more faculty members to the lengthy list of staff and faculty implicated in the incidents. Refusing to provide names, Dr. Bedden said the school's graduation coach, who is listed as John Barksdale, was issued a letter of reprimand. Another unnamed teacher has been reprimanded and suspended.

A special education teacher and a physical education teacher were issued letters of advisement, which Dr. Bedden said informed them that allegations had been made against them but that the school board did not have enough information to pursue punishment.

This comes after the resignations of teacher Denise Ogden and former Principal Sharon McAlevy in November, and the firing of former school board public safety officer Ronnie Collins from his job with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in October.

The investigation into the incidents began earlier this year when Ms. Ogden, writing under a pseudonym, sent an e-mail to the members of the school system claiming that faculty members were having sex during school hours.

After roughly two months, during which the Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted polygraph tests on school staff, Dr. Bedden said investigators concluded Ms. Ogden was having a relationship with Mr. Collins -- who was one of the school's public safety officers at the time. A third person, whose identity was unclear, Dr. Bedden said, completed what has been called a "love triangle."

Dr. Bedden apologized and said no pupils are believed to have been around when the incidents occurred. Calling the situation "uncomfortable," Dr. Bedden said the sheer number of allegations made it difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

"I have to be honest with you, as superintendent, this is probably one of the most difficult things I've had to do to try to make sure to be fair to people, but at the same time to hold these people accountable," he said.

Dr. Bedden did not rule out additional action against faculty and staff should more information come to light.

"This is not a perfect science," he said. "Anytime you are dealing with people, allegations are made that are true and some that are made are false. But in the end we try get at the truth as opposed to what is sensationalized or what makes for exciting conversation."

Two out of the seven people accused are still working at the middle school, he said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (158) Add comment
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reader54
307
Points
reader54 12/09/08 - 01:19 am
0
0
Sex education Richmond County

Sex education Richmond County style ! What hypcocrites!!

justus4
109
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justus4 12/09/08 - 03:18 am
0
0
A failure of the Principal to
Unpublished

A failure of the Principal to properly control personnel and the result is a natural one of a breakdown in professional conduct. Sounds like too many females, too few males and the teacher sending an e-mail on her way out to alert the school system possibly due to bitterness. Ha! And don't think the students didn't know because they are extremely aware of such relationships between adults, 'cause those same adults are telling students to be honorable, truthful, and doing whats right. Again, Ha!

D_DoDirty
0
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D_DoDirty 12/09/08 - 05:12 am
0
0
I would like to see more

I would like to see more photos of all those that were reprimanded and fired.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 12/09/08 - 05:58 am
0
0
You would think teachers

You would think teachers would be more aware of the "a time and place" philosophy.

Brenda_G
1
Points
Brenda_G 12/09/08 - 06:00 am
0
0
I actually heard about this

I actually heard about this on Jay Leno's show weeks ago during his monologue before it was ever broken in the news here. His remark was "how ugly do the students have to be that the teachers are having sex with each other". I couldn't believe my ears!

HotFoot
17
Points
HotFoot 12/09/08 - 06:14 am
0
0
"Ghetto mentality"? Most

"Ghetto mentality"? Most everyone would acknowledge that "ghetto" is code for black among a certain portion of our white population. Do you know for a fact that all involved are African-American? There are lots of perfectly accurate and descriptive words for what this conduct is, but "ghetto" is not one of them.

bone
23
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bone 12/09/08 - 06:31 am
0
0
so, midwesterntransplant,

so, midwesterntransplant, what other words do you believe are code for referencing blacks? do you hear these words even when people aren't speaking to you (i.e. "little voices in your little head")? do you have al sharpton on speed dial for those moments when you're sure you're good and outraged?

justsoyaknow
3
Points
justsoyaknow 12/09/08 - 06:32 am
0
0
Midwest -- it is what it is.

Midwest -- it is what it is. You can label by race if that's your choice, but I don't think that was the intent of 'ilet'. Staff doing the nasty while on the job (especially a public job directly involving children) is nothing shy of ghetto. The only real shame here is that many of the culprits are still employed, on our dime.

TechLover
15
Points
TechLover 12/09/08 - 06:34 am
0
0
Girl's sofball coach in

Girl's sofball coach in Columbia County has sex with female student. If they could just get over that "ghetto" mentality in Col County.

Riverman1
90284
Points
Riverman1 12/09/08 - 06:40 am
0
0
The sign in the teachers'

The sign in the teachers' lounge used to have to only say "NO SMOKING." I wonder if they will add other things to it? :)

bebbe
1
Points
bebbe 12/09/08 - 06:42 am
0
0
So... let me get this

So... let me get this correct...James Barksdale was reprimanded because he DID NOT tattle on his fellow co-workers. Some change from just a few years ago when 27 teachers gave testimony of unethical and illegal conduct to the same Sgt. Ike Williams regarding a former principal of CT Walker Magnet school. We all know what happened there. Hence, the teachers are damned if they inform and damned if they don't.

usnvet
0
Points
usnvet 12/09/08 - 06:50 am
0
0
WOW The sex police are out in

WOW The sex police are out in force, huh? Make everything a crime so everyone will be criminals.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 12/09/08 - 06:58 am
0
0
That's how some folks make it

That's how some folks make it to the top by having sex with the boss or someone in a supervisory position. This bunch sounds like were acting like a bunch of animals in heat and they definitely lack self control. A mattress in the school's public safety office? Didn't they think anyone would notice. Duh! I wonder if they took their mattress home with them when they got the boot!

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 12/09/08 - 07:04 am
0
0
usnvet, I don't believe that

usnvet, I don't believe that these escapades are part of their job duties and are what we are paying our teachers for. If they want each other so badly then they need to rent a room or go wherever on their own time. Any spouses involved? If so, I wonder what they think about their partner's "work performance".

kiddspur
2
Points
kiddspur 12/09/08 - 07:05 am
0
0
Just think all they used to

Just think all they used to teach at school was reading, writing and arithmatic -- times have changed -- no wonder our students are mixed up about some things....

Riverman1
90284
Points
Riverman1 12/09/08 - 07:06 am
0
0
That didn't call it a

That didn't call it a mattress. It was the spaceship to the heavens.

gnumbgnuts
0
Points
gnumbgnuts 12/09/08 - 07:10 am
0
0
What's that mattress doing in

What's that mattress doing in here? And why's it so sticky?

LadyCisback
4
Points
LadyCisback 12/09/08 - 07:13 am
0
0
what a load of trash!!!

what a load of trash!!!

aintryt
189
Points
aintryt 12/09/08 - 07:27 am
0
0
So Ogden busts everyone under

So Ogden busts everyone under a false name because she got burned - spell it with me class - I-M-M-A-T-U-R-E

Riverman1
90284
Points
Riverman1 12/09/08 - 07:30 am
0
0
PA sytem: "Baby, come to the

PA sytem: "Baby, come to the office now."

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/09/08 - 07:30 am
0
0
What is the difference

What is the difference between an adult and a child? Just their age in this case.

I4PUTT
5
Points
I4PUTT 12/09/08 - 07:35 am
0
0
As distasteful as this is,

As distasteful as this is, the silver lining may be that no innocent children were involved. I think it's important that participants are named, pictures are published, teaching licenses are revoked. These folks will show up at other schools responsible for our children if not.

augusta49
0
Points
augusta49 12/09/08 - 07:45 am
0
0
I agree....they NEVER put

I agree....they NEVER put photos of people like that in here anymore. Their faces should be plastered all over the tv news AND newspaper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Others have been in the past and they didn't do HALF of what these have done!!!

tfh
0
Points
tfh 12/09/08 - 07:46 am
0
0
and homeschooling is a bad

and homeschooling is a bad idea because.....??????

karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 12/09/08 - 07:49 am
0
0
These people are

These people are animals...acting like randy goats and should be fired..all names should be published and public humiliation incouraged. Where is the outrage from the parents of the children at this school??? Is this such a common place thing in that community that having sex on a mattress in a classroom is considered ok???? and there is no "silver lining" here kids are not stupid...next the kids themselves will be performing acts in the restrooms..oh...wait they already do that...monkey see...monkey do.

christian134
1
Points
christian134 12/09/08 - 07:49 am
0
0
"ghetto" meaning, in this

"ghetto" meaning, in this instance, a minority,hopefully, of sex-crazed low-minded individuals who are involved in same behaviors and careers...Ghetto could describe any group of people who are viewed with less than equal status or a group viewed as overworked and underpaid i.e. police officers, teachers, firemen, women(pink ghetto)...The idea that ghetto is unique to a specific race is racist...Ghetto is correctly used when it comes to disgusting unprofessional behaviors such as the above activities...

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/09/08 - 08:04 am
0
0
Ghetto-1: a quarter of a city

Ghetto-1: a quarter of a city in which Jews were formerly required to live
2: a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure.
Yep the only minority specifically mentioned are the jews. Minority would likely be asian, hispanic, or black.
I guess the assumption of race is revealing and perhaps racist.

Bizarro
13
Points
Bizarro 12/09/08 - 08:13 am
0
0
Public school employees don't

Public school employees don't make much money. Maybe this should just be considered a perk. I know my years teaching college wouldn't have been worth it if not for the hundreds of young females I was able to seduce. I considered it a part of their education and my salary. Just kiddin! hee.hee.hee. But the practice is common place. All my mentors (married) for my graduate degrees were all fooling around with the students. One even warned me of the temptation and not to do it-although it never stopped him.

chey
2
Points
chey 12/09/08 - 08:17 am
0
0
wow, so Ms. Ogden was angry

wow, so Ms. Ogden was angry because she was dissed. So she tried to "anonymously" of some sort, "tattletell". And in turn, her name got put all out there. Way to go. That's the way to do it. I'll bet she has a myspace page with "unprofessional" pictures on it.

Bushmaster
0
Points
Bushmaster 12/09/08 - 08:17 am
0
0
looks like a Jerry Springer

looks like a Jerry Springer hour from South Augusta. Yes, I do live in South Augusta and am proud of it. I have lived in South Augusta since 1965, but incidents like this are what conjures up images of what people perceive of what south Augusta is all about. I say all involved should be terminated from their jobs for conduct unbecoming as they are the guardians and stewards of our young people while they are at school. This does not involve blacks, whites or any other ethnicity, this is downright immoral for this to happen in a place of education.

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