Hale Coach Says School Is Trying To Move Forward

Thursday, September 9th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A student accused in the attempted rape of a Hale High School teacher last Tuesday has been charged under the Youthful Offender Act. Tulsa Police say if the 15 year-old boy is convicted of attempted first-degree rape, he'll be jailed as an adult.

Meanwhile, a Hale coach who helped apprehend the suspect says students and faculty are sticking together and trying to move on. Jeff Dudley is proud of the girls softball team he coaches at Hale High. His team is ranked 6th in the state 5-A class. Dudley also teaches freshman U.S. history at Hale. He's been an educator for six years.

His experience helped prepare him for a moment no one could anticipate: the attempted rape of a fellow teacher. Dudley had just arrived at school around 7:30 am when he saw a commotion and overheard guards say the suspect's name.
"He exited out this door right here on the west side of the school and headed south around the baseball field, and made it to a residential street," said Dudley.

Dudley jumped into his truck and headed into the neighborhood, where he saw the suspect. "I called the school on the cell phone because I knew they were in contact with the Tulsa Police Department," he remembered.

Dudley drove past the boy as he walked, keeping him in view in his car mirror, then made a turn and drove toward him near Whitney Middle School. "At that point he did see me and he was kind of indecisive," said Dudley. "The police then turned down that street and that's when they apprehended him."

The student had been in one of Dudley's classes last year. He says many things went through his mind during those moments. "I just wanted to stay back, keep an eye on him and make sure he didn't hurt himself," he said. "Or get me hurt or hurt anybody else."

Dudley is being praised for his calm action, but he credits Hale's principal, guards and teachers for the outcome. He says he hopes the school can now move forward. "We're a tight faculty. We help each other out," he said. "Hale High School is a great place to be and people need to know that. This is not a place they should be fearful when they come to the school. This was an isolated incident."