By: Sarah Snyder
When it comes to politics mud slinging is nothing new, but things are getting pretty heated in the fight for the District 5 council seat in Odessa. Last week, NewsWest 9 told you about current councilman Benjamin Velasquez who admitted to 23 traffic violations and driving without a license. But his challenger, Roy Hunton also has a few skeletons in his closet.
NewsWest 9 obtained papers from the Ector County school district alleging two cases of physical and verbal abuse against students while Roy Hunton worked as a teacher. In this investigation, school leaders called for his termination from the district in 2001 but he was never fired. NewsWest 9 sat down with Hunton to find out what happened and how these allegations might affect his campaign.
Roy Hunton worked as a vocational, special education, psychology teacher and coach. He also worked with the alternative education program, and that's where the problems started. He said an argument broke out among students. When he tried to stop it, he collided with one of them.
"I was aggravated, so instead of arguing, I decided the best thing was to leave and as I was leaving the student jumped up out of his desk and we collided," Hunton said. "I tripped over him or tripped with him and that was it."
Hunton was placed on administrative leave, but the charges against him were eventually dismissed and he returned to his job. But that wouldn't be the last time school leaders conducted an investigation the second happened about four years later in shop class when, he claims, a student tried to shove a metal object inside an electrical outlet.
"It could result in electrocution, so in a parental way, I tapped him on the back of the head to get him to stop and once again, it was the same scenario," Hunton said.
In these documents, the principal overseeing Mr. Hunton recommended that he be terminated based on "unprofessional" behavior and "verbal and physical abuse" towards a student.
On Thursday, NewsWest 9 also spoke with officials at the Ector County district. They said there's no administrators currently working there who were a part of this investigation.
Hunton said right now, he's just focusing on the campaign against incumbent, Benjamin Velasquez.
"It did seem to turn into mudslinging, yes. The issues are there and they are important issues that will require good sound decisions to keep Odessa moving in a positive direction," Hunton said.
NewsWest 9 also asked Mr. Hunton if he thought these investigations would cripple his campaign. He said "absolutely not." He said he's even contacted constituents who questioned his credibility and explained his side of the story.