By JOHN T. WARD
Ousted Rumson-Fair Haven Regional football coach Bryan Batchler has resigned as a teacher in a secret settlement with the school, redbankgreen has learned.
In a statement issued Thursday, the school’s board of education said it had accepted Batchler’s resignation on August 9.
The resignation appears to end a saga that began last December, when Batchler was put on paid administrative leave from his job teaching algebra and advanced-placement statistics for reasons that have never been publicly stated by school officials.
Two months later, Batchler was stripped of his coaching position, from which he led the Bulldogs to three consecutive state sectional titles, the latest just nine days before his suspension. His removal came even as the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office said it would not file criminal charges against Batchler over an allegation that it also did not disclose, but which Batchler’s attorney said in February had to do with “an inappropriate relationship with a student.”
Here’s the board statement released Thursday:
Batchler, who told redbankgreen in June that he had been falsely accused of kissing a 16-year-old female student, declined comment on the statement.
Superintendent Pete Righi also declined comment, calling it a personnel matter. He also declined to say how much, if anything, Batchler had been paid in exchange for his resignation.
A person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified said the terms of the agreement prohibit both the school and Batchler from publicly discussing it.
From the time of his suspension, Batchler, a 40-year-old Fair Haven resident, had remained on paid leave from the teaching job he started in 2008, and his name stayed on the school’s online staff directory. It has since been removed.
Batchler told redbankgreen in June that he was never interviewed by the police or the prosecutor’s office, and had no official word until May of the specific allegation against him: that he had kissed a female student in the parking lot of a Rumson business where she worked.
He denied the allegation, and said it was lodged by a student he had reported to the school administration six weeks earlier for inappropriate behavior toward him. In the incident that led to his suspension, he said the girl unexpectedly gave him “a peck” on his lips and ran off as he sat at the wheel of his parked car. Two days later, the girl’s mother reported the incident to police, prompting the suspension, he said.
The girl’s mother did not respond to redbankgreen‘s requests for comment.
Batchler said Righi, with whom he had been friendly, targeted him out of spite for unrelated matters, and was threatening to strip him of tenure and block a pay raise.
“I went through a police investigation, I went through an institutional investigation,” he said in July. “It’s clearly a personal issue, not a personnel issue.”
At the time, Batchler said he needed to return to RFH as either a teacher or a coach, “because I live in this town and I need to clear my name.
“If I don’t go back in any capacity, if I never step foot into that building, people are still going to think, ‘he could have done something wrong,’” he said.
In an email response Thursday to a question about his present employment, Batchler told redbankgreen:
I had a great opportunity to join a firm in nyc which was the best thing for me and my family. I am really excited to be back in nyc after having a successful career on Wall Street from 1998-2002. I enjoyed my time at Rfh and the opportunity to teach and coach outstanding students and athletes.