A band director placed on leave following revelations that he left a previous job amid an investigation into his behavior with an underage student is out at Denham Springs High School, and the assistant director has been appointed to take his place.
Livingston Parish School District officials would not say Tuesday whether Vincent Fortado quit or was fired from the school, and his lawyer did not return requests for comment.
A letter distributed to band parents Monday announced that Carlye Latas, who served as the assistant director of the Yellow Jacket Band for the past five years, had been promoted to the top job.
The letter from Denham Springs High School Principal Kelly Jones referenced a "tumultuous" period to start the school year but did not elaborate on Fortado's exit. The Advocate reported in September that Fortado had been investigated by a Texas police department in 2013 for having an improper relationship with a student and had quit his post as school district officials prepared to fire him. Fortado was cleared of criminal wrongdoing but received a formal reprimand from the state of Texas.
"I appreciate the support that you have provided to the school and the band program as we have endured a tumultuous time over the past month," Jones wrote to the parents. "We realize that students and parents alike want what is best for our program. I appreciate you placing your faith in us to accomplish that goal."
Fortado's lawyer, Jill Craft, said last month that the former band director was placed on an unpaid administrative leave as school officials investigated whether he made false claims during his application process. Craft claims her client was "100 percent forthcoming" and disclosed the allegations to Jones during an interview for the job.
"They 100 percent knew what happened in Texas at the time of hire," Craft said last month.
Delia Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish School Board, said she could not comment on what Fortado said during his job interviews.
A public records request for correspondence between Fortado and Jones revealed emails between the two about scheduling interviews and the job offer. There was no discussion in them about the Texas investigation.
In his job application, Fortado did not disclose that his Texas teaching license bore an "inscribed reprimand" imposed after he left Brazoswood High School. He also said he never resigned to avoid termination, but a letter from the Brazosport Independent School District superintendent indicates the Board of Trustees had been planning to fire him when he resigned.
Records show that the suspended band director at Denham Springs High School did not disclose on his job application that he quit a Texas job a…
Public records show that, when Fortado was a band instructor at Brazoswood in 2013, he was the subject of a school and police investigation into his relationships with female students. A minor student told police that he had made inappropriate comments, including that he had "feelings for her," that seeing her in running clothes "makes (him) think things he shouldn't," and asking whether she had ever had sex.
The band teacher denied any inappropriate physical contact with the girl. He told investigators he sent "flirty" text messages but that he was only trying to help a troubled student.
Results from a separate school investigation were turned over to the Texas Education Agency, the state board that oversees schools there, according to public records. In November 2013, that board issued Fortado an "inscribed reprimand" that was placed on his teaching license the next month. According to a copy of the consent decree, the state's investigation found he "exercised poor judgment in maintaining appropriate boundaries with students. Respondent overstepped these boundaries in an effort to help students with their personal problems."
Denham Springs High School is interviewing candidates for a new assistant band director.
Jones did not respond to a phone message seeking comment.