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State wants teaching licenses of Indiana coach, accused of abusing student, revoked

The Indiana Department of Education is seeking to revoke the teaching licenses of a Tri-West High School (Lizton, Indiana) football coach who is accused of abusing a teenage student.

Tyler Bruce is on paid administrative leave pending criminal and child welfare investigations. The Department of Education states in a complaint filed Sept. 6 that Bruce “committed acts that involve immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency, and/or willful neglect of duty.”

A lawyer for the student’s family alleged in a tort claim notice Aug. 6 that Bruce molested and abused the student and threatened to make her “look bad” if she told anyone. His actions threw the girl’s “life into chaos,” the notice said, and caused her emotional distress and trauma.

Lawyer: Tri-West coach talked to student on Snapchat, asked for ‘pictures of her curves’

Bruce has denied the allegations, and he has not been charged with a crime. He has been under investigation by the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office and the Indiana Department of Child Services since a school resource officer submitted a tip to the sheriff’s office in May.

The North West Hendricks School Corporation Board of Trustees unanimously denied in July a recommendation to fire Bruce. In an August statement, the board said it didn’t fire him because of “the preponderance of evidence delivered at the employee’s requested conference with the school board.”

The statement does not elaborate on what evidence was presented at the conference. Jim Diagostino, president of the board of trustees, did not elaborate on the evidence when IndyStar reached him by email.

Bruce’s lawyer did not immediately respond to an email from IndyStar seeking comment.

Bruce is a 2007 graduate of Tri-West High School and has coached the Bruins the past two seasons. He was the offensive coordinator in 2016 before replacing former coach Chris Coll, who was hired at Franklin. Bruce was the quarterback of the 2004 Class 2A state championship team and went on to play at Western Kentucky University.

Jason Ward is managing day-to-day operations of the Tri-West High School football program.

Follow the investigation at the IndyStar.


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