HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Questions and controversy surround the head coach of Hazleton Area’s High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team on Wednesday concerning messages he allegedly sent to a student.
This matter involves Tim Barletta, the head coach of the Hazleton Area High School Cougar Boys’ Basketball Team, and school district officials say it’s a personnel matter.
Multiple sources within the school district tell the I-Team that Tim Barletta was suspended with pay from his job as a school district courier last week.
The suspension came after he allegedly sent messages, via social media, to a 15-year-old female student. Those messages were then posted on social media by a friend of the student.
Eyewitness News must point out Barletta has not been suspended from his position as head coach of the high school boys’ basketball team.
The school district would not comment on its investigation but Hazleton Area School District Superintendent Brian Uplinger said in a statement to Eyewitness News:
As you know, we do not comment to the media about specific personnel matters. I can tell you, however, generally speaking, that the district will always act consistently and swiftly and in accordance with federal and state law, and district policies to ensure the protection of its students through prompt and thorough investigation and action.”Brian Uplinger, Superintendent of Hazleton Area School District
Cindee Deluca of Hazleton brought the message concerns to school district officials.
“I know the mom very well. I went to school with her. I’ve known them a long time, but when it comes to a student you just can’t let go,” Deluca said.
Deluca showed the messages to the I-Team and they appear to be from Tim Barletta to the student. But Eyewitness News cannot independently confirm that information.
“They presented them to me. I reviewed them. I spoke with the student and her mother and proceeded from that point,” Deluca added.
Eyewitness News reached out to Barletta for comment but have not yet heard back.
I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick also reached out to the Chief of the Hazleton Area School District Police Department and has not heard back.
As for the impact, if any at all, this could have on Barletta’s position as a head basketball coach, remains to be seen.
The school board is scheduled to meet Thursday night.