READING, Pa. - The fired director of the former Delaware Valley High School in Reading has been arrested on charges he incited violence among the school's students.
Andre Bean turned himself in to detectives with the Berks County district attorney's office on Friday.
Bean, 39, served as the director of the alternative school for troubled students until he was fired on Sept. 14.
The company that runs the school, Unique Educational Experience, subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging that Bean orchestrated a melee among students a week later so that the school would hire him back.
"I'm deeply saddened that anyone, anyone that would work with children would utilize children for personal gain," said David Shulick, chairman, DVHS Management Corp. "It is a sad statement on human beings and what they are capable of."
All of Reading's on-duty police officers responded to the riot on Sept. 21; two of them were injured while trying to get control of the situation. Eight students were arrested.
Bean later filed a response in court to the lawsuit, calling the allegations "ridiculous, wild and defamatory."
The criminal investigation, however, revealed that Bean called at least one of his former students the night before the riot. A witness overheard the student telling Bean, "We got you Dr. Bean. We will get you back," according to court documents.
Bean also promised students jewelry and trips to Dorney Park if he and other fired staff members got their jobs back, according to court documents.
Another student told Bean on Sept. 17 that he and others punched holes in the school's walls and "trashed the cafeteria and bathrooms," according to court documents. Bean then allegedly told the student to tell everyone to keep doing that so they could get their jobs back.
Some students told investigators Bean offered to pay them if they would break into the school, remove some of his belongings and trash the building, according to court documents. The students said they stole a car, drove to the school during the weekend following the riot and took flat-screen televisions and other items that belonged to Bean.
Bean was charged Friday with multiple counts of riot and criminal solicitation and a dozen counts of recklessly endangering another person. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail pending a preliminary hearing on March 22.
"I feel vindicated that these charges were brought, but at the same time, I'm sad that the entire issue occurred," Shulick said.
The Reading School District ended its contract with the owners of Delaware Valley High School last month after the Pennsylvania Department of Education released a report that raised concerns about violent incidents at the school. That report also said students were receiving fewer than three hours of instruction a day.
"I believe that Dr. Bean was working intentionally to undermine the Reading contract," Shulick said.
The state education department is still in the process of deciding whether to revoke the company's license to operate a school.
The Berks County Intermediate Unit has since taken over the district's alternative education program.
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