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 Board May Cancel AD’s Contract

May 27, 2009 - While school board members and the superintendent for the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Corporation are making no substantive comments about the matter, it appears the school board will meet Monday to consider terminating Athletic Director David Bradford's employment.

Bradford, who had coached the varsity softball team at Knightstown High School, is accused of striking a KHS player on the arm during an April 23 game, knocking the girl off a bench in the dugout and leaving a mark on her arm. He has been on paid administrative leave since the day after the game.

The seven-member CAB School Board met privately in executive session immediately prior to its May 19 regular monthly meeting to receive information about the allegations against Bradford. According to the agenda notes prepared by Superintendent Gary Storie and included in board members' packets for that night's meeting -- copies of which CAB gave The Banner -- Storie planned to recommend "15 days suspension without pay and other corrective actions" for Bradford. This document does not further identify what the "other corrective actions" would be.

Storie told the board in his agenda notes that if they accepted his recommendation, they would be able to vote on the matter during the public meeting following the executive session. The board did not do this.

Early in the public meeting, School Board President Kevin Knott read the following brief statement addressing the situation with Bradford:

"We, the board ... are moving forward in the process with regard to the athletic director's position. At this time, we have to stay away from any consideration or any final decisions … and we do so in fairness to everyone involved. I will say that there has been a request for a hearing to be scheduled and set, and that hearing will be scheduled as required by state law."

Pursuant to state law, CAB was required to give Bradford written notice if it intended to consider canceling his contract, and Stories' agenda notes for that night's meeting indicate this notice was sent May 1. State statute says the board cannot meet to consider canceling his contract less than 30 or more than 40 days from that date.

Bradford, who has worked at CAB since 2003, had 15 days from the date he was sent the notice to request a hearing to defend himself. Public records CAB provided to The Banner on Tuesday confirmed that Bradford filed his request for a hearing on May 15.

Bradford also asked that CAB provide him with a written statement of the reasons the board was considering canceling his contract. The Banner also asked CAB for a copy of the written statement it gave Bradford, but, as of Tuesday's news deadline, Storie had not determined whether that record was going to be released.

According to a report made by the Knightstown Police Department, Bradford told the KPD on April 27 that his contact with the KHS player had been unintentional, and that he didn't even realize he "must have pushed her" until he saw her crying when she exited the dugout at the end of the inning. Bradford, when contacted by The Banner, declined to comment on the incident.

The board did not announce at last week's meeting when it planned to meet to consider whether to cancel his contract. However, one of the public records released by CAB on Tuesday, the May 1 notice sent to Bradford, states that the board will meet to consider canceling his contract at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 1. CAB has not yet issued the 48-hour advance public notice of this meeting, which is required by the state's Open Door Law, having until Thursday to do so.

While Bradford has asked for a hearing, there is also a possibility that he could change his mind and resign, thereby canceling his own contract before the board votes to do so. According to state statute, though, Bradford can only cancel his contract if the school board agrees to allow him to do that. Should he cancel his contract without the board's agreement, state statute says he would be guilty of unprofessional conduct that could lead to his teaching license being suspended for up to a year.

The KPD recommended to the Henry County Prosecutor's office that Bradford be charged with battery. As of Tuesday afternoon, however, no charges had been filed in the matter.

The crime of battery -- knowingly or intentionally touching another person "in a rude, insolent, or angry manner" is normally a Class B misdemeanor that can bring up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If there is bodily injury, however, it is a Class A misdemeanor that can result in up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

(More news from the May 19 CAB School Board meeting will be published in next week's Banner.)


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