Poteet Police Department received a call Thursday, September 27 that a 14-yearold girl had been beaten by football players near the practice field.
Poteet Police Sgt., Luis Gutierrez, who is also the Poteet ISD School Resource Officer (SRO), responded to the call and spoke with Jazmine Delgado, 14, a Poteet Middle School student, and her mother, Joy Delgado, about the claim that she had been assaulted. Jazmine reported to Officer Gutierrez that she was walking home and had been knocked down and stomped on by football players with cleats. She showed Officer Gutierrez scrapes and bruises on her leg and shoulder.
Officer Gutierrez went to the Poteet High School football practice area to question the high school football coaches and members of the football team about the incident. Officer Gutierrez approached Poteet High School Athletic Director Bart Oropeza and told him about the girl’s claim. Officer Gutierrez asked Oropeza to bring the freshmen football team out so that the girl could have the opportunity to identify players.
Officer Gutierrez had Jazmine and Ms. Delgado sit in the back of the patrol car, which had darkened windows allowing them to see outside but no one to see inside the car. The freshmen football players were brought out one by one to the car for Jazmine to identify those allegedly involved. Officer Gutierrez stated that Jazmine could not identify any of the players.
Eric Smith, Pleasanton Express Sports Editor, met on Monday with Superintendent Andres Castillo and Oropeza, to discuss the claims against the football players. Both Castillo and Oropeza repeated to Smith basically the same facts that Officer Gutierrez had reported to the Pleasanton Express. Upon completion of the attempt to identify the football players, Oropeza told Officer Gutierrez that he would continue to investigate the situation and would get back to him with any details.
Oropeza explained that moments after Officer Gutierrez left that he was approached by the Poteet High School football trainer and two water boys. Oropeza said that they gave their explanation of what happened that day. The trainer told Oropeza that Coach Willis had asked all players to leave the field due to heavy rain. The trainer told Oropeza that the water boys were hurrying off the field when they lost control of the large water cart they were pushing. The water cart hit Jazmine and knocked her down. Oropeza said that one of the water boys told him that he had helped Jazmine up and then offered for her to see the trainer. The boys told Oropeza that the girl declined the assistance of the trainer stating that she was fine. They told Oropeza that she then went to talk with her freshman football friend. Oropeza said that the incident occurred on the pavement area between the football practice field and the field house.
On Thursday evening, Oropeza called and spoke to both Jazmine’s mother and father. He said that he explained what had happened at the school according to the water boys and that he and Superintendent Castillo would like to meet with them Friday morning. Oropeza then called Castillo and told him what had occurred. He also called Officer Gutierrez and explained what the trainer and water boys had told him.
Castillo told Sports Editor, Smith, that on Friday morning, September 28 at 8:30 a.m., the school received a letter faxed from Stephen Foster the attorney, representing the Delgado’s. The letter stated that it was not necessary to speak with the mother or daughter because they needed time to heal emotionally. Because of the attorney’s letter, the meeting, which Oropeza discussed with the Delgado’s, was not held.
Castillo said that they further investigated the incident by contacting the Jr. High School Principal, Manuel Aragon and the SRO, Officer Gutierrez. Ten statements were taken from nine students and one from a coach who witnessed the incident on the field Thursday. The coach’s statement matched the statement given by the water boys, which stated that it was an accident.
Castillo said that they completed the district’s investigation around 2:00 p.m. on Friday and the conclusion was that it was just an accident. Castillo said that the district has turned the matter over to their attorney Mr. Rob Decker of the firm Walsh Anderson.
“I am at a stand still,” said Castillo. “It is an unfortunate incident that occurred. We do not tolerate bullying at Poteet ISD and we can assure parents that it is not allowed to go on. Once again the investigation came to a conclusion that the bullying did not happen. If incidents happen like this, we investigate and handle accordingly.”
The story about Jazmine Delgado aired on KENS-TV at 10:00 p.m. on September 27 and again on the 6:00 p.m. news on September 28. Additionally, two stories appeared on kenstv.com. The lead story reported that Delgado was walking home as she normally does by taking a short cut through the football field. Delgado stated to the reporter that about 10 football players from Poteet shoved and kicked her to the ground leaving cleat marks, scrapes and bruises on her body. She said that it was because of bullying and that no one offered to help her. It was further reported that the teen had gone to South Texas Regional Medical Center to be treated for her injuries. Joy Delgado said in the report that bullying is a big problem and that she wanted school administrators to take her daughter’s matter seriously before someone else gets hurt.
The Pleasanton Express contacted the Delgado’s lawyer, Stephen Foster, on Monday to ask about the incident. Foster stated that the facts were the same as were reported on KENS-TV. He further stated that he had called and sent a certified letter to the school asking that any videotapes of the incident be left in tact for his review. He stated at that time that he had not heard back from the school.