January 15, 2003 at 3:13 AM CST - Updated June 19 at 12:56 PM
A Heartland teacher is in some hot water, after being accused of harassing five of his students.
Investigators say 40-year old Freddie Bobo touched the students in a way that made them feel uncomfortable. Bobo is a middle school teacher and high school basketball coach in the Ballard County School system.
Ballard County High School Principal Sharon Reeves tells Heartland News that Bobo has been suspended from his job with pay, while school leaders try to figure out how they should handle a situation that Kentucky State Police are taking very seriously.
“The investigation involves five of the eighth grade students at the middle school,” says Kentucky State Trooper Barry Meadows. Meadows couldn't divulge exactly what the girls claim that Freddie Bobo did, but his actions apparently made the students uncomfortable enough to go to school officials.
The Ballard County School District then reported the allegations to state police on Friday. The teacher/coach was charged with five counts of harassment on Tuesday. “In Kentucky, harassment is just a violation, for which he may just get a fine,” explains Meadows. “But he'll be dealt with in the court system.”
News of the investigation has dropped a bomb on the “Home of the Bombers,” where Mr. Bobo seems to be quite popular with most students. “Everybody loves him to death,” says Candace Russell, a recent graduate of Ballard Memorial High School. “He's just like a big brother to everybody. He's really nice and he jokes around a lot.”
But these charges are no joke. High School Principal Sharon Reeves says the school district is consulting its lawyer to determine how it should handle the situation. For now, both students and parents are left to wonder if this could cost Bobo his job…and if it should cost him his job. “I just think it would be pretty sad if it did, because I know that he's a real joking, loving person,” says Russell. “Maybe somebody misconstrued it as something that it wasn't, so I would just hate for that to happen.” Russell adds with a shrug, “But if it really did happen, then I’m sorry.”
Bill Cordell is a concerned Ballard County parent. “If the charges are true, then I think he needs to be taken care of to the fullest extent, because I’ve got a daughter out there too. I wouldn't put up with it.”
Heartland News was unable to reach Freddie Bobo for comment.
Bobo is scheduled to face those harassment charges in Ballard District Court on January 27th. If convicted, police say the teacher will not face jail time.