BRIDGEPORT—A soccer coach at Bridgeport Independent School District resigned after being accused of using a school credit card at The Men’s Club in Houston this summer.
According to the Wise County Messenger, J.D. Bales allegedly spent $5,455 at the strip club during a coach’s clinic in July.
Bales resigned from his position as soccer coach and special education teacher soon after the district launched an investigation into the charges.
Although police said they would not file criminal charges against Bales, the former soccer coach had to pay the school back for his strip club activity.
“We were informed by the district in September that a large amount was charged to the Texas Richmond Corporation, which is the club’s parent company,” Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford told the Wise County Messenger. “We then initiated an investigation. [Bales] has repaid the full amount to the district, but we’re still gathering information and conducting interviews.”
In a statement, Bridgeport ISD confirmed their decision to accept Bales’ resignation.
“[Bales] resigned from both his coaching position and his role as a [special education] teacher at Bridgeport Middle School [Friday] morning,” BISD administrators wrote. “Superintendent Dr. Amy Ellis confirmed that the decision to accept the resignation is in the best interest of Bridgeport ISD and the athletic program.”
This is not the first time Bridgeport ISD’s soccer program has come under fire.
Earlier this year, the Bridgeport Police Department arrested six of the school’s soccer players—one juvenile and five legal adults—on hazing charges.
Hazing was reportedly part of an “initiation” done to all underclassmen who joined the team from October 2022 to May 2023.
Stanford described the hazing incident in a statement released in May:
The investigation revealed that over the 2022-23 soccer season, several upperclassmen (players) were involved in the hazing initiation of underclassmen, described as ‘de-pantsing.’ These incidents involved the underclassmen (some as young as 14 years old) being restrained or held down while multiple subjects removed articles of the victim’s clothing, including their pants and underwear. The victim reported that while in an unclothed state, they were filmed and made to repeat phrases such as ‘I’m your b***h.’
Following the arrests, BISD sent a letter to parents explaining new preventative measures, including requiring a staff member to be in the locker room with students at all times and preventing students from accessing the locker rooms, training rooms, gyms, and indoor facilities without staff members present.
Stanford reported that charges against the six students are still pending.
BISD is currency searching for someone to fill Bales’ position and “will notify families once that individual has been named.”
Texas Scorecard recently released Exposed: The Dark Side of Texas Schools, which takes a deeper look at the state of education in Texas.