Report: Lehighton assistant principal falsely accused
Lehighton Area High School Assistant Principal David Hauser was falsely accused by district board member David Bradley of illegally strip-searching a student in 2018 and of distributing an illicit sexual photo involving minors, according to a report accepted Monday by the school board.
Bethlehem attorney Brian Taylor, following a closed-door hearing last week requested by Hauser, prepared the report.
“I’ve been dealing with this for around a year,” Hauser said before the vote on Monday. “I want it done because I’m tired of it.”
According to Taylor’s report, the background between Hauser and Bradley goes back to May 3, 2017, when Hauser was still an English teacher at the high school and was hosting a re-election campaign event for Gloria Bowman at his home in Mahoning Township. Bradley, according to testimony, showed up, uninvited, blocked the driveway and refused to leave upon oral request.
On June 7, 2018, the high school held a “double event” which included a senior assembly in the morning and a sport recognition assembly later that same day.
Upon conclusion of the double event, Hauser and Principal Sue Howland received a report that several students were using electronic cigarettes and vaping. The report, which identified specific students, came from students and faculty members.
One such student was identified and located. Upon questioning, the student denied having any prohibited products.
In the privacy of an empty room, Hauser temporarily detained and requested that the student remove his shoes, bandana and empty his pockets. Hauser said he finger tapped the cargo short pockets that the student was wearing that day.
Upon finding no prohibited substance or items, the student was thanked and returned to his activity.
The student’s parents contacted administration alleging that the detention was improper.
Shortly thereafter, a conference was held between administration, the student and the parent.
Board members Bradley and Joy Beers attended at the invitation of the parent.
According to Hauser, at this meeting, Bradley made several accusations against him, including impugning his job performance in front of the parent.
Of particular note, Bradley stated that Hauser “gets excited to search students and that he was looking to score.”
After the meeting, Bradley released videos on social media indicating that Hauser had “strip searched” a student.
During a June 25, 2018, board meeting, Bradley filled out a comment card stating that a student had been falsely accused and strip searched in violation of the First, Fourth and 15th Amendments.
Bradley questions invite
On Monday, Bradley said he wasn’t made aware of last week’s hearing date.
“I asked and tried to get that information for weeks,” he said.
Taylor countered Bradley’s claim, stating that the two had emailed back and forth multiple times discussing the hearing.
“To say that didn’t happen is being disingenuous to everyone in this room,” Taylor told Bradley.
Bradley was the lone board member to vote no on accepting Taylor’s report. Beers and Wayne Wentz abstained. Gail Maholick left the room before the vote was taken.
“I do not condone the illegal use of educational funds on illegal activities taken by a majority of the Lehighton Area School Board,” Bradley said. “I just will not be a part of it.”
Bradley was also the only board member not in attendance at the name-clearing hearing. Maholick was removed before the hearing over objectivity concerns after reportedly calling it a “farce.”
Bradley also questioned the need for the hearing, saying that the district never disciplined Hauser.
“This was never about the search itself,” Hauser said. “It was about the assertions that I strip searched a student and shared sexually explicit images online. They were false and stigmatizing characterizations of my behavior.”