Authorities arrested an award-winning Texas middle school teacher who stands accused of fondling and kissing a 12-year-old female student.
On Monday, May 23, the Bexar County Sheriffs Office took Frederick Darnell Ward, 49, into custody. They charged him with the second degree felony charge of indecency with a child by contact. This followed an alleged incident last week that occurred at the San Antonio area Kitty Hawk Middle School where the now former teacher taught sixth grade Social Studies.
Ward was a 2014 recipient of the Judson Independent School District’s Spirit of Judson educator excellence awards. The school district recognizes teachers “who consistently show a level quality in teaching students that includes respect and results in the classroom,” according to the Judson ISD website.
However, Ward purportedly fondled and kissed a 12-year-old female student on Tuesday, May 17, according to the San Antonio Express News. The girl told a school counselor Ward touched her chest through her clothing and kissed her. She also said the inappropriate contact was not an accident because Ward asked “if she was OK with it” and touched her again, according to the arrest affidavit, KSAT 12 (ABC) reported.
Following the incident’s report, Kitty Hawk Middle School principal Rodney Vigil summoned Ward to his office. The teacher purportedly then instead gathered his personal belonging and left the campus. According to the San Antonio ABC affiliate, Vigil phoned Ward on his cellphone but the teacher refused to return because he did not want to be “escorted out that way.”
The two men agreed to meet at the Judson ISD Central Office where Ward was later asked to speak with campus police department officers for further questioning, as reported by the Express News. Ward denied any sexual contact with the student in a written statement. He said the girl “often gets a side hug but no touching (or) sexually things go on.”
After Ward spoke to Judson ISD police, the school district place him on administrative leave. The teacher then resigned last Wednesday, May 18. At this time, authorities have no reason to believe this involves any other students.
Ward was employed with the school district since 2013, first as an instructional aide and later as a teacher. The school district issued a statement about Wade’s arrest on Monday.
The statement read:
Bexar County Sheriff’s Office today charged Frederick Darnell Ward with indecency with a child after an alleged incident at Kitty Hawk Middle School on Tuesday, 5-17-16. This incident was immediately brought to the attention of administrators at the school by the student and an investigation by [Judson] ISD immediately followed. That investigation led to the employee being put on administrative leave first and he resigned from his position the next day.
Mr. Ward had been with the district as an instructional aide and later as a teacher since early 2013. Judson ISD’s policy on incidents such as this is consistent to investigate allegations and to pursue them as fairly and efficiently as possible.
There is no evidence from the investigation that this employee has harmed or had any similar contact with any other students at this or any other campus within [Judson] ISD.
Late Monday afternoon, Bexar County Sheriffs released Ward after he posted a $50,000 bail bond.
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