Troubled Lied Middle School gets new principal

Families of Lied Middle School have been subjected to their share of controversy over the past six months because two male teachers were charged with sex crimes against children, but the upheaval isn’t over.

The teachers facing criminal charges are gone, but Principal Kimberly Bass-Davis also has been transferred from Lied. She landed in the Clark County School District’s purchasing department and was demoted two pay grades, according to records provided by the district Thursday.

Citing personnel privacy laws, district officials wouldn’t reveal whether Bass-Davis’ transfer is connected to its investigation of Lied or the criminal cases involving the two teachers.

Bass-Davis spent the first two and a half months of this school year as Lied principal while suspended with pay, earning about $20,000 for staying home and away from the school near Tropical Parkway and Bradley Road. The district then transferred her directly from suspension to the purchasing department on Nov. 18, district spokeswoman Melinda Malone said Thursday.

Bass-Davis is now a coordinator in the district’s Purchasing and Warehousing Department, earning a salary of $87,087, which is 9 percent less than her $96,030 salary as Lied principal for about five years.

When Bass-Davis was put on paid suspension in September, district officials wouldn’t confirm whether the principal’s leave was related to the arrests of the two teachers. The district doesn’t typically transfer or suspend school leaders in the wake of staff members being charged with sex charges involving students.

Bass-Davis’ suspension started Sept. 3, less than a month after 47-year-old Lied English teacher and girls basketball coach Alphonso Washington was arrested on two misdemeanor lewdness charges alleging he inappropriately touched female students.

Two weeks into the principal’s suspension, Las Vegas police arrested Lied history teacher and boys basketball coach Michael Barclay for two felony charges of attempted sex acts with a minor.

In the spring of 2012, the 44-year-old teacher took a 14-year-old boy, who played basketball at the school, out to dinner, according to Barclay’s arrest report. The two then went to Barclay’s home.

At the house, Barclay began to talk to the boy in detail about his own past sexual encounters, and the conversation eventually led to Barclay soliciting oral sex from the boy and offering to perform oral sex on the minor, the arrest report said. The boy declined both requests and told police that Barclay had been a “mentor” to him. The boy said he “felt betrayed by Barclay after this incident,” according to the report, which said other victims might have been approached by Barclay via Facebook.

Washington and Barclay were put on paid administrative leave but remained district employees when arrested and charged last year, Malone said in September. Malone reported Thursday that both teachers are “no longer employed by the district” but wouldn’t elaborate on whether they were terminated or resigned.

In January, Washington agreed to an Alford plea in District Court to one count of open and gross lewdness for inappropriately touching a female student. The plea means he will not admit guilt but agrees that prosecutors can prove their case. Washington will be sentenced June 9 for a gross misdemeanor charge, which is a probationable offense. As part of probation, a defendant can be sentenced to up to a year in jail.

Barclay is on house arrest and awaiting a status check in his case for negotiations on March 13 before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis.

While they wait, Lied Middle School has been given new leadership. Kelly O’Rourke, principal of North Las Vegas’ Craig Elementary School for more than two school years, agreed to take over the middle school on Feb. 10 understanding the challenge and taking no pay raise.

“The school is just in shock,” said O’Rourke, noting that no one talks about the school’s recent troubles. “But you can tell there’s stress. The kids are good kids, though, and the staff, they’re ready to move forward. They just want to be proud.”

O’Rourke is faced with the task of getting the school back on track after the tumultuousness of the past six months.

“There definitely needs to be some structure,” she said. “Kids are allowed to get away with things. When the bell rings, you actually need to be in class.”

The school was dealt another blow over the Presidents Day weekend. Michael Fredrickson, 61, the school’s guitar instructor of 17 years, died after suffering a heart attack.

One of O’Rourke’s first tasks was to record a phone message to parents informing them of Fredrickson’s sudden death on Valentine’s Day. The district sent its crisis response team to the school and provided counseling for any teachers or students in need. It has made for a rocky year.

“But I think the school’s going to be fine,” she said.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279702-383-0279.CallSend SMSAdd to SkypeYou’ll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

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