The Ardmore Police Department has reopened an investigation into the report of a theft at Second Chance Academy.
The theft was reported April 25, and in a report, it was indicated the incident took place April 22. Cpl. John Randolph met with the reporting party in the 500 block of Maxwell Avenue, which has been determined to be the location of the Second Chance Academy. The academy serves as a transitional place for students to study and prepare for a return to a regular classroom.
At the time, the reporting party declined to file criminal charges, and requested an information report be taken in regard to the incident. One suspect was named and the item taken was valued at less than $100.
The case was closed, but through a request made to the city, the investigation was reopened last week. Prior to the case being reopened, The Ardmoreite made a request for details regarding the reported theft.
The Ardmoreite also made an open records request to Ardmore City Schools for the security tape in an effort to determine what took place. Within the video, Superintendent Sonny Bates is seen with an unidentified teacher entering a security closet. The video shows both Bates and the teacher leaving the room. The teacher appears to have removed an item from the security room.
In a letter included with the video, Bates described what took place.
“The segment of tape you requested shows a conversation that takes place between me and a teacher in her classroom,” Bates said. “The conversation was about a personnel issue which began with the principal and has spread to two other teachers. Towards the end of the tape, it shows the teacher and I leaving the classroom and going into a room where the video equipment is installed. I then come out of the room and return to the classroom first. She follows me out, I stop at the door, she continues to her desk, a few words are said and I leave.
“Events which happened on the 24th and 25th of April led to an interview with this same teacher and brought this event to light. During the interview, the teacher said she removed a CD from the video room during our meeting on the 22nd. After reviewing the video for confirmation, I observed that she did have a CD in her hand. I also observed that I entered the room behind her and exited the room in front of her while she proceeded across the room to her desk. I then exited the classroom. At that time, I did not notice what was in her hand.”
Prior to being told the case had been reopened, Bates said the matter had been investigated and appropriate action is being taken.
When asked why he went into the security room with the teacher, Bates said the incident stemmed from the personnel incident, which was under discussion regarding Academy principal Bobby Upshaw. Bates said the teacher told him she would show him something on a security tape, and led him to the security room. At that point, Bates said he objected to going into the room, and told the teacher they did not need to go into the room.
Bates indicated he was unaware of the teacher having taken anything in the past, but when he was interviewing her three days later, she told him she was still in possession of one disc, and she would bring it back. Bates said he did not know why she had removed a security disc from the room.
“There was another incident two days later, and that was another situation,” he said. “I don’t know how deep I can go into it, and it is an ongoing situation there. What we were talking about that day was a few things that had happened earlier that day with staff, and it escalated from there.”
Bates confirmed the teacher is still employed with the school system. He also said the security room was typically not secured at the academy.
“Security rooms are normally locked, and this one isn’t,” he said. “As a matter of fact, you can get into that room from the hall and from another door in which students walk up and down every day. There is a lot of what-ifs there, which makes it difficult when you are trying to resolve personnel issues.”
Because the investigation has been reopened, any details regarding the report are not available. Ardmore City Attorney Jennifer O’Steen confirmed a request was made to reopen the investigation within the last five days, although she was unable to identify who made the request, because it is part of the investigation.
“Any information is given to the police department, and once the investigation is closed, I will have access to it,” she said.
Randolph, who serves as the school resource officer, filed the original report. O’Steen said a detective is now investigating.
Upshaw confirmed a report had been submitted to the police department, but declined comment on the matter. Upshaw deferred to the police department and Bates for further comment.