Ozen's new football coach is under scrutiny for past suspension - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Ozen's new football coach is under scrutiny for past suspension

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Once again the Beaumont Independent School District's vetting process is being questioned.

This after last Thursday's hiring of Plez Atkins as Ozen High School's new head football coach.

It turns out that the State Board for Educator Certification disciplined Atkins in 2006, and his teaching certificate was suspended for three years.

BISD superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois recommended Atkins, and the board of trustees unanimously approved his hiring, but at least one of them, Mike Neil, says he was unaware of Atkins' suspension.

Atkins has not started at Ozen yet, so we left him a message on his cell phone. We have not heard back.

We also reached out to the school district for comment, but no luck.

We did speak to DeEtta Culbertson with the Texas Education Agency, she told us we would have to send a public information request in order to find out exactly why Atkins was disciplined.

We did and we're waiting, but according to TEA's website, a teacher can be disciplined for numerous reasons.  Breaking the law, violating the Code of Ethics and cheating are just a few.

Other questions raising concerns involve Akins' termination from Navarro College.  According to the Corsicana Daily Sun, Atkins was fired in October of 2007.

Atkins coached at North Forest in 2012, leading the football team to an 11-1 record and an area round playoff appearance, yet he was let go when North Forest was annexed by Houston ISD.

At the time, Atkins told the Houston Chronicle, "You're assuming everybody was part of the problem, look at our body of work.  That's all I'm saying."

Neil is also concerned that a longtime BISD coach, who applied for the Ozen job, did not get a call back. 

Neil suspects it might have been retaliation since that coach has filed a grievance against the district before.

However Neil says the coach deserved the courtesy of a call back.

This is not the first BISD employee whose credentials and employment backgrounds have been under scrutiny this past year, and 12News has learned that Dr. Chargois has renewed the contracts of two of those employees, they are Patricia Lambert and Kervis Fontenot.

There's also been a new development concerning Jessie Haynes, BISD's communications director, who's been on assault leave since last August.

12News learned Monday that Haynes is appealing the state's decision to deny her worker's compensation claim.

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