Bromwell elementary school fires basketball coach after Facebook pictures show drug paraphernalia

DENVER - A Denver public school has fired an after-school basketball coach after 7NEWS notified the school district of drug paraphernalia pictures publicly posted on his Facebook account.

The photos were sent to 7NEWS by a concerned citizen who viewed the photos set to "public."  The photos were posted last June and September.

One Facebook picture shows several bongs on a coffee table with the caption, "early morning sesh,, [sic] f*** i'm turnt up!! for you dumb haters that's over a $1000 worth of glass for your b*** a**, and don't get me started."

Another picture shows what appears to be a drug on brown paper surrounded by bongs, with the caption, "Shatter Sunday."

7NEWS confirmed the man worked as a contractor for DPS, coaching after-school basketball at Bromwell Elementary for six years. The district said he only worked at Bromwell.

Kristy Armstrong, a DPS spokesperson, said in an email to 7NEWS, "The school ended their contract and services with him."

Even though marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, employers may prohibit employees from using it and may take action against those who violate employer policies.

We contacted the elementary's PTA President Gregg Rippey, who was unaware of the pictures.

Once he saw them, Rippey said, "I certainly didn't like what I saw there. Even though I couldn't identify individual items in the pictures being one thing or another. Clearly it seems to have an influence I wouldn't want my kids around."

The PTA interviews people for the after-school enrichment programs, which range from sports to arts. Once the individual is chosen, the district runs a criminal background check on the individual. DPS confirmed a criminal background check was run on the basketball coach.

7NEWS Reporter Lindsey Sablan asked Rippey, "Do you think the district or the school should be doing something to vet people when it comes to social media?"

"I think it would be smart. I think there are cases where it's going to turn up things you wouldn't find out otherwise, but I also think it's a classic grey area because there might be some Facebook pages that's clearly something I don't like but then there are going to be those marginal ones where it may just be some language or some photos that are may be more mildly unpleasant," Rippey said. "We will be eager to do anything we can to vet the teachers...I don't envision the PTA board going and looking at Facebook pages independently and starting to make those judgments, but if that's a perspective that a parent has that we need to start doing that, we can certainly have that discussion."

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