Coweta School Board Bans New Board Member From Campus

Monday, March 9th 2015, 4:55 pm
By: News On 6

A recently-elected Coweta school board member will be banned from school property except for official board meetings.

The board voted Monday night to ban Doyle Burress, citing allegations made against him by two students for sexually inappropriate behavior.

The allegations from the students stem from the late 90s and, after hearing that, the board voted to uphold the superintendent's suggestion to restrict Burress' access citing student safety.

A lawyer representing Superintendent Jeff Holmes listed a number of exhibits that included letters from two students claiming Burress made sexual advances towards them while he was their band instructor in Wagoner Public Schools in the late 90s.

Burress' representative called the hearing a witch hunt and asked for a complete dismissal of the request to restrict his access.

He also questioned why the district waited until now to do anything since they initially heard about the allegations in 2011.

A number of parents stood up for Burress, calling him the epitome of what the district wants around its students.

Paperwork shows it was around late 2011 that the district began the process of calling for his resignation from his role - at that time as Coweta High School principal.

Burress did in fact resign, but now that he is officially elected onto the board, a lawyer for the district said this hearing had to happen.

"He lied. Within 15 minutes he was admitting allegations had been made and that he had talked with folks at the school in 1995 and 1999," lawyer John Moyer said.

Burress' lawyer said, "He is an upstanding member of society, never been arrested - he is an upstanding member of the community. If it can happen to him, can it happen to anybody?"

"I never saw him do anything that was unkind or inappropriate in any way. If I had, I would've gone straight to the superintendent or probably called the law," parent Sherry Deetz said.

As for the law, the district said it went to the district attorney immediately after hearing about the allegations four years ago.

As for why no criminal charges were ever filed, the district said to ask the DA.

Burress will remain a board member, only having access to school property for official meetings.