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Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Local Principal Accused of Improper Relationship with Student

Crime

Ruben Lee Bergara | Image by Denton County Jail

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Police have arrested a former assistant principal who worked for the Ponder Independent School District on suspicion of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Ruben Lee Bergara, 41, was an assistant principal at Ponder Junior High School. In late March, a student attending Ponder High School reported to school officials that Bergara might have engaged in “serious misconduct and suspicious activities,” according to the school district.


Ponder ISD officials then reported the alleged matter to the Ponder Police Department, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Texas Education Agency.

Multiple agencies subsequently undertook a joint investigation. Bergara was identified as a potential suspect, resulting in him being placed on administrative leave by school officials.

Shortly after being placed on leave in early May, Bergara resigned.

Upon completion of the investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Bergara, and he surrendered himself to the Denton County Sheriff’s Office on August 31. He was booked at Denton County Jail and released on bond the following day.

Bergara has been charged with “improper relationship between teacher and student,” a specific crime in Texas distinct from the various sex crimes that can be perpetrated against a minor.

Law enforcement authorities have stated that additional charges could still be filed against Bergara and that they are currently investigating whether there are other potential victims.

Ponder ISD released a statement the day after Bergara handed himself over to police, reading:

“We understand that we have a great responsibility to the students and parents of Ponder, and we hope the actions we have taken in this unfortunate circumstance affirm our continued commitment to the safety and wellbeing of all our district stakeholders.”

Bergara’s bond conditions do not allow him to come within 1,000 feet of any Ponder school district property or any Ponder school district activity that the alleged victim might attend, regardless of location.     

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