Kevin Braney: Boulder High principal's arrest not disrupting school, rep says
Has there been an uproar among students and staffers at Boulder High today -- the first full school session since news broke that principal Kevin Braney had been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and a couple of other charges?
Far from it, says Briggs Gamblin, spokesman for the Boulder Valley School District, who visited the institution earlier and was pleased to see that disruptions due to Braney's bust and a (temporary?) leadership switch were minimal to non-existent.
At around 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Boulder Daily Camera, members of the Boulder Police Department responded to the home Braney shares with his kids and his wife, Andrea -- at least for now. Andrea told officers she and her husband are in the midst of a divorce.
Boulder High School.
The subsequent dispute appears to pivot on distribution of their property. In the police report obtained by the Camera, Andrea said she'd been removing her belongings from his room and placing stuff of his on bookshelves there when Braney became upset. She accuses him of yelling at her and throwing and/or damaging items like a picture frame and a lamp. The mattress and box springs of the bed had also been overturned by the time cops arrived.
Braney, who was hired at Boulder High in 2009, was subsequently booked on suspicion of criminal mischief, domestic violence and child abuse -- the latter because a youngster had seen what happened.
Afterward, Braney offered a voluntary statement saying he'd reacted to the sight of his wife taking her things out of his room by returning the favor in hers, with one of the items in question being the bed's headboard -- a possible explanation for the disarray of the mattress and box springs, as well as the damage to the lamp. He stressed that he never touched his wife and didn't yell at her, either. Instead, they exchanged "stern" words about finances, he maintained.
In comments to the Camera, Todd Burnham, Braney's attorney, described his client as having "an impeccable reputation" and being "an Ivy League-educated individual with no criminal history whatsoever." He added, "I find it convenient that he is arrested and charged with criminal mischief and domestic violence contemporaneously with divorce papers being filed."
After school district officials learned of Braney's arrest, they placed him on paid administrative leave and installed assistant principal Scott Cawlfield as head man on an interim basis -- actions that Gamblin describes as standard procedure. Indeed, something similar happened in the case of Jim Kozlowski, a Boulder High teacher and coach, who was arrested in August for allegedly exposing himself at yard sales. In December, he entered a guilty plea in the case.
Administrators also informed parents via e-mail about what had taken place, and as of yesterday, Gamblin says his office had received just one response -- a single-sentence expression of support for Braney and Cawlfield.
As for the staff and students, "I dropped by this morning," Gamblin notes, "and I can tell you there's probably some sadness, and certainly some hope that this gets resolved soon, but not a lot of disruption. At a staff meeting this morning, everyone was very professional. They realize that two people" -- Braney and his wife -- "are going through a very tough time."
The teachers "seem to be handling the situation very well," he goes on. "There's strong leadership on the staff at Boulder High, and they understand why it ended up in the media -- because of the high-profile position. But they feel this is really a personal crisis for two people and not something they need to publicly speculate about."
Because the incident took place off school grounds and didn't involve a student, Gamblin says there's no direct role for the school district in the police investigation. As such, officials are simply waiting for the cops and the Boulder District Attorney's Office to make a determination about whether or not charges are appropriate before moving forward.
Meanwhile, counseling has been made available for any student having difficulty processing what happened. As of earlier this morning, Gamblin says, "no one had taken advantage of it."
Here's a larger look at Braney's booking photo.
More from our Education archive: "Jim Kozlowski, Boulder teacher/coach, on leave after allegedly exposing his junk at garage sales."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.