September 24, 2021
Dear BPS Staff and Families,
The purpose of these weekly updates has always been to communicate directly with you important information related to our school district and to do so with as much honesty and transparency as we can. We value your support of our schools and understand that earning and maintaining your trust is critical to our success.
By now, you are likely aware of the recent arrest of one of our first grade teachers at East Elementary. I received a phone call from an FBI agent late Wednesday night informing me that second-year teacher Heather Bycroft had been arrested on a sealed federal warrant. Upon hearing this news, we immediately placed her under suspension and coordinated with the site principal to make a plan to manage the next day. After her arraignment (and the unsealing of her warrant) yesterday afternoon, we learned just how horrific and repulsive these offenses were. Ms. Bycroft and her husband (who was arrested on Sept 10) have both been charged with the production of child pornography. The primary charges appear to stem from an incident involving a young child at a 4th of July party in 2015.
While it appears that all of these offenses occurred at least five years before Ms. Bycroft was hired in Bixby, it is highly disturbing to me that we had a teacher who could be capable of such egregious behavior in one of our classrooms. At the same time, we have no reason to believe that Ms. Bycroft engaged in any illegal or inappropriate acts with any current or former BPS student.
As part of our hiring process, we perform a comprehensive background check on all new employees. There was nothing in Ms. Bycroft’s past that would indicate that she might be a potential threat to children. That said, I sincerely apologize to the families and students who will now be impacted by her immediate removal from the classroom. While there is a statutory process school districts must follow to dismiss a certified teacher, I promise you this teacher will never step foot in one of our schools again. We have also notified the State Department of Education to begin proceedings to immediately and permanently suspend her teaching certificate.
Moving forward, our district team is meeting with families of her students this afternoon to answer questions, provide support, and share our plan for serving their children over the remainder of this year. We know that many are upset and frustrated by these events. We are too. This was clearly someone who had no business serving in an occupation involving the care and safeguarding of children. Her past actions betrayed your trust and ours. Subsequently, we are committed to doing all we can to make this a great year for these children.
Please reach out directly to me if you have any additional concerns or questions I can address.