Ex-North Texas school official charged with improper relationship with junior high student

Courtesy: McClatchy Co.

A former junior high school assistant principal was charged on Aug. 31 with having an improper relationship with a student in the Ponder school district, according to police.

Ruben Lee Bergara, who was an assistant principal at Ponder Junior High, resigned during an investigation that began in March and turned himself in to police on Aug. 31, Ponder police said. In March, a Ponder High School student reported a possible improper relationship between Bergara and a junior high school student to school administrators.

The school district said in a press release that if any student or parent has information about the situation, they should contact the Ponder Police Department at (940) 479-7017.

“Again, we understand that we have a great responsibility to the students and parents of Ponder,” a press release from the district said, “and we hope the actions we have taken in this unfortunate circumstance affirm our continued commitment to the safety and well being of all our district stakeholders.”

Ponder school district Superintendent Jeremy Thompson started an investigation, with the assistance of the Ponder district assistant superintendent and Ponder Junior High School principal, police said. The Ponder Police Department, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Education Agency also participated in the investigation. The investigation consisted of interviews, statements, videos and other media.

During the investigation, Bergara, 41, was placed on paid administrative leave and resigned a short time later. Police issued an arrest warrant and Bergara turned himself in to the Denton County Sheriff’s Office and was booked into the Denton County Jail.

Additional charges may follow, police said. At this time, the investigation is ongoing to determine if other students may have been victims.

Bergara’s bond conditions prohibit him from being on or within 1,000 feet of any Ponder school district property or any Ponder school district activity the alleged victim may attend, regardless of location.