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Hardin Co. students say gym teacher looked into the girls locker room while they were undressed

The marquee of Central Hardin High School
Hardin County Schools
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Students and their parents say Central Hardin High School kept teacher Brian Walters at his post for nearly a week after they complained about his alleged misconduct.

Several students at Central Hardin High School say their physical education teacher looked into the girls locker room while students were undressed.

The students and their families are calling for the teacher, Brian Walters, to be fired for violating their privacy. Some are frustrated it took the school nearly a week to remove Walters from the classroom. Parents are also questioning why the district continued to employ Walters after previous arrests.

‘He was looking around’

Three CHHS ninth graders told LPM News the incident happened Nov. 30. All the girls asked not to be named to protect their privacy.

According to the students, they were changing back into their regular clothes at the end of gym class, when several classmates started yelling excitedly while playing a trending game from TikTok.

“Instead of warning us that he’s coming in … he poked his head in there for a solid two or three seconds before he yelled, ‘Shut up,’ and then walked out,” said the first student, who is 14 years old.

Several girls were near the door and in his line of sight. They were in various states of undress, students said.

“Some were wearing underwear, some were, like, only wearing sweatpants and a bra, some were not even in a bra,” the first student said.

“We could see his face in there — he was looking around, which is just not ok.”

Two other students who were in the locker room at the time confirmed that story.

A second student, who is 15 years old, said she was wearing no shirt and no bra when she heard Walters coming towards the locker room entrance. The locker room has no door, according to students, and is connected to an office that Walters uses as a storage room.

The second student said she screamed and ran to hide behind the lockers.

A third student, who is 14 years old, said Walters lingered in the doorway.

“Mr. Walters walks over to the locker room door and stared in for a few seconds and yelled at us to be quiet, and then stared for a few more seconds and then walked out … There were like plenty of girls that were in their bras and underwear that were in the front row where he could see them,” the third student told LPM News.

“It felt like an invasion of our privacy,” said the second student, who hid behind the lockers.

LPM reached out to Walters by phone and email, but he did not respond to requests for comment.

Walters continues to teach for a week after complaint

CHHS parent Ashley Fox said when she spoke with Principal Timothy Isaacs on Wednesday afternoon, he told her that administration didn’t know until Tuesday that students alleged Walters had looked into the locker room.

However, at least two of the students’ mothers said they alerted the administration well before that, as early as the day after the incident.

Asked about the delay in removing Walters from the classroom, district spokesperson John Wright said he could not comment about the investigation.

“Mr. Walters was in the classroom for part of the investigation. Any thorough investigation brings more information to light. Mr. Walters is now not in the classroom,” Wright wrote in an email.

Wright also urged the LPM News reporter not to use certain “verbiage” in describing the alleged incident.

“You weren't there. Neither was I. Neither was the parent. You seem to be casting guilt without the facts you need to do so,” he wrote.

The second student’s mother, who also asked to be unnamed, told LPM News she called the morning after the incident, Dec. 1, to complain to Isaacs. She also said she called one school board member.

Additionally, parents have been posting on social media about the details of the incident since last week.

The second student’s mother had the school change her daughter’s schedule so that she no longer had to take classes with Walters.

“They told me that they would deal with the matter,” the mother said.

But officials did not remove Walters from his position, and he continued to teach P.E. for nearly a full week after parents say they told administrators about the incident.

“I really don’t like that he’s still teaching with a bunch of the other girls,” the second student told LPM News on Dec. 2.

Students said Walters was called to the front office Wednesday, nearly a week after the incident, and they had a substitute for gym later in the day. District officials would only say Walters was no longer in the classroom but would not provide further information on his employment status.

Another CHHS mother, Kara Schultz, said she called the school last week to complain about the incident, but no one called her back or spoke with her about her concerns until she made a trip to the school Tuesday.

“They don’t seem to be taking this seriously at all. In fact, from where I sit, they seem to be spending most of their time trying to sweep it under the rug,” Schultz told LPM News on Dec. 2.

Walters arrested twice before

Records show Walters was arrested in 2008 on a child sex abuse allegation, but those charges were later dropped by the prosecutor. He was also arrested for a domestic violence allegation in 2015, which prompted an investigation by the state Education Professional Review Board (EPSB).

According to a police report from the 2015 incident, Walters’ girlfriend told police he became upset after she asked him to turn down the volume of the TV, “and he grabbed her, pushed her, and placed his hand about her neck. Injury was observed.”

The police report said Walters was also injured. “I observed a mark about his left side of his face and blood on his left hand,” the Kentucky State Police trooper wrote.

The officer wrote that Walters tried to shut the door on him when they asked him to step outside, and that state troopers took him to the ground to place him under arrest. Walters was charged with resisting arrest and 4th degree assault, related to domestic violence with minor injury.

At the time of the arrest, WLKY reported school officials sent the station a statement reading, in part, “His arrest took place on his personal time and did not take place on school property or involve school-related issues. The matter is under investigation.”

Prosecutors later dismissed the domestic violence charge, and Walters pled guilty to disorderly conduct.

Personnel records and court records show Walters was investigated by the EPSB following the 2015 incident. In lieu of a formal hearing, Walters entered into an agreement with the EPSB but was not terminated.

“Walters is admonished for becoming involved in a domestic dispute in 2015 that resulted in a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor,” the order reads. “The Board believes that any misdemeanor conviction reflects poorly upon a licensed educator, regardless of the circumstances.”

The agreement, signed in 2019, required Walters to complete 12 hours of professional development and undergo a “fit-for-duty assessment” by a mental health provider to keep his position. He was also made subject to a number of probationary conditions for two years.

Personnel records obtained by LPM News show Walters has taught for Hardin County Schools since 2005 and coached middle and high school volleyball from 2011 to 2013.

Walters was suspended without pay after he was arrested in 2008 on sex abuse allegations, records show. But after prosecutors dropped the charges, the district reinstated Walters and paid him for his weeks-long leave.

“I wish to thank you for your patience and cooperation during this difficult time in your personal and professional life,” Hardin County Schools’ then-superintendent Nannette Johnston wrote in a July 2008 reinstatement letter.

In addition to his job as P.E. and health teacher for CHHS, Walters is listed as a certified concealed deadly weapons trainer with the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training.

This story was updated to correct the spelling of Central Hardin High School Principal Timothy Isaacs' name.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.