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Brush School District administrators speak out after charges dropped in in-house sexting investigation

Administrators calling for new policy, training when it comes to investigating sexting incidents.
Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-14 00:21:16-05

BRUSH, Colo. — Two Brush School District administrators charged in connection to an in-house sexting investigation are speaking out after those charges were dropped.

In April 2022, Bradley Bass, assistant director of Brush High School, and Scott Hodgson, director of secondary schools, were made aware of a possible sexting incident between Brush High School students. The two told Denver7 they contacted the school resource officer, who works with the Brush Police Department, and then began their own investigation.

“As far as our policy reads, (you) need to have two administrators in the room with students as you’re searching, whatever the case may be. In this case, it was a cell phone,” said Hodgson.

“Whether it’s kids have alcohol or drugs or a BB gun or whatever it is, they’re not supposed to have on school property, we take a photo of that and document, just because our school policy says we have to be able to present evidence if a parent questions why their child is being disciplined,” said Bass.

Bass says they documented images — which were all on Snapchat — from a student's phone, then transferred the photos to a "secure location" on the school's computer network. Little did the pair know things would take a turn after that.

On May 11, officers executed a search warrant at the Brush Secondary Campus and seized multiple electronic devices. Brush PD said at the time that inappropriate photos of juvenile students were found on at least one of the devices, which was issued to Bass.

Bass was arrested in June for four counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Hodgson was arrested for four counts of complicity to commit sexual exploitation of a child.

After a motions hearing in September, Hodgson’s charges were dismissed.

“The motion is based on the Colorado Safe Schools Act, which is an immunity piece that states when you’re acting in accordance with your job duties in good faith to enforce your schools rules and policies, (you) can’t be held criminally or civilly liable,” said Hodgson.

Bass’ charges were dismissed last month.

Hodgson went back to work in October, and Bass is still on paid leave. He hopes his job will be reinstated by the school board at the end of the month.

“This is my home, obviously, and pretty near and dear to my heart, and (I) really do like my job and value public education,” said Bass.

Bass’ attorney told Denver7 there was no existing school board policy on how to handle a sexting investigation, and the two relied on existing policy. He says Bass was also never offered training.

“You want people to be protected and not go through what we went through, but the hard part is we ask teachers to be trained in so many things,” said Bass.

“Unfortunately, I think this is something that’s going to continue to grow,” said Hodgson.

Moving forward, Hodgson says he’d like to see the school board update school policy.

“That’s something we’ve kind of set as a goal when Bradley returns is going through some review process,” said Hodgson.

“If you have a passion for public education, don’t shy away because of this,” said Bass.

Denver7 reached out to the Brush Police Department and the district attorney's office for a statement, but have yet to hear back.

When it comes to how schools should handle situations like this, the Colorado Department of Education tells Denver7 the state legislature doesn't require policies for administrators around sexting. However, the legislature did pass a bill in 2017 that requires the state's School Safety Resource Center to make a curriculum around sexting available to teachers.

Meanwhile, local school boards may enact their own requirements around what teachers need to know in regards to sexting, the Colorado Department of Education said.

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