Brookeland ISD parents fed up with district allegedly withholding information

Robert Alvarado
Robert Alvarado
Kristi Dyer
Kristi Dyer
Superintendent Kevin McCugh
Superintendent Kevin McCugh
Tanya Ford
Tanya Ford

SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Back in September, a frantic father of a Brookeland High School student called the East Texas News saying that there were several problems within the school's athletic program.

Brookeland is about 60 miles southeast of Lufkin in Sabine County.

Robert Alvarado, whose daughter is a senior at the school, said he wasn't getting any information from the school district and was concerned. Since then, the East Texas News has received dozens of phone calls from other parents complaining about issues from within the athletics department.

On Thursday, some of those concerns were brought up in a school board meeting and while nothing was achieved, parents say they want their voices and questions heard. Parents say they are upset after Superintendent Kevin McCugh demoted their favorite athletic director to boys basketball coach and placed himself in the position. They say they were never notified about the changes.

"We've not been formally notified in any changes in coaching personnel. We've not been formally notified in changes in Athletic Director, but we've heard [about] these changes and that those things have occurred," said parent Kristi Dyer at the school board meeting. "Our concern in general is that [the coach] and the entire coaching staff has built this team in a position to go to state and we're concerned that with that shift and uncertainty that it's bleeding over into their performance on the court…"

"That's a personnel matter," said McCugh at the meeting.

"Ok, so who is our athletic director?" said Dyer.

"I am," said McCugh.

In a statement sent to KTRE from McCugh, it says "under federal law…Brookeland ISD cannot release or discuss details of any students educational matters, including athletics."

But parents are wondering when they are going to be notified.

"He's [the coach] still in control of our children. The kids love him. The parents support him. He appears to be an outstanding coach to everything that we can tell. The kids speak highly of him and yet he gets demoted mid season for a mystery issue," said parent Jason Walker.

But that's not the only complaint parents have.

Tanya Ford alleges her daughters were kicked off the basketball team in September. Ford says she then went to the district for answers and didn't receive a letter from Principal Charlotte Odom until two months later that read "the girls were never removed from the team." Odom also says Ford's daughter was reprimanded by the coach saying "your daughter called the coach a bastard."

McCugh said in the statement "when Ms. Ford complained in mid-October that her children had been removed from the team, the district investigated and provided a timely response, consistent with district policy. Ms. Ford's children both remain on the basketball team and have never missed any practices or games."

However, parents feel they still aren't getting the answers they would like.

"I'm realizing that there are a lot of parents that haven't had the opportunity to step up and have their voice heard," said Alvarado.

Parents say they understand that there are state laws that prevent the district from revealing personnel issues, but that they would just like notification.

They are asking other parents in the district to come forward with their own issues about the way the district is handling certain situations.

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