Entertainment

The Sexual Assault Charges Against An Illinois Principal Highlights One Of The Biggest Problems In Our Education System

According to a 2008 report by the Oregonian, there are quite a few reasons as to why sexual abuse occurs in schools. Among the reasons include the fact that perpetrators of such sexual misconduct and abuse are not consistently enough disciplined and brought to justice. As an example of proof, the Oregonian highlighted the fact that in incidents where teachers are engaged in a sexual relationship with a student, one in four teachers had committed and been disciplined for similar actions but allowed to return to school. What’s more, the study says that for every teacher charged with sexual abuse of a student, there is one who will never be charged despite admitting to their actions to school officials.

The case of an elementary school principal charged with sexual abuse of a teenager is highlighting this deep-seated problem within the school system once again after one of his victims came forward with his abuse.

Illinois elementary school principal Curtiss Tolefree was charged with three counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff and two counts of exposing genitals to a child earlier this week.

kenoshanews.com

Tolefree, a 42-year-old principal of Beulah Park Elementary School, faces criminal charges in Wisconsin after authorities accused him of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage student in incidents that took place almost a decade ago. Accorind to online court records, Tolefree was charged with two counts of exposing genitals to a child and three counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff. According to local reports, Tolefree was put on administrative leave by the school the moment they were made aware of the charges. A report by Kenosha News alleges that an anonymous woman came to authorities in 2018 with claims that he had abused her when she was a 17-year-old junior at Bradford High School. According to the unnamed woman the relationship began in 2009 and continued into 2009 at a time whenTolefree was dean of students at the high school.

The unidentified woman said in her complainant that her behavior in school of ten caused her to be sent to Tolefree’s office for discipline.

In her complaint to the police, the woman said that she had sex with Tolefree for the first time in his office in the fall of 2008 and that the two had sex an almost daily basis during the course of her junior year. Sexual encounters also occurred outside of school at Tolefree’s home and hotel rooms. According to the woman, Tolefree would often call her out of class to have sex. The police complaint states that when the woman started seeing another person in early 2010 Tolefree became jealous. 

The high school dean allegedly told the woman that she ought to focus on school when she began seeing someone.

The woman’s complaint claims that when she told Tolefree she had started to see someone else he urged that  “she should be focusing on school and should not be getting into a relationship with someone.” In reply, the woman told Tolefree that she replied by telling him “that what the defendant and she had been doing was wrong.”

In response to the allegations, Zion School District 6 Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts addressed the claims in a letter to parents.

“On December 9, 2019, Zion School District 6 was notified that Curtiss Tolefree, Principal at Beulah Park Elementary School has been charged in Kenosha, Wisconsin with 3 counts of Sexual Assault of Student by School Staff and 2 counts of Exposing Genitals to a Child,” Dr. Roberts wrote. “According to the Kenosha District Attorney’s charging documents, the current charges stem from an incident that occurred in September of 2008, which is before Mr. Tolefree was employed by Zion Elementary School District 6. Based on the information provided to the District, there is no indication whatsoever that the alleged criminal conduct involves District 6 or its students. Immediately upon learning of the charges, Mr. Tolefree was placed on administrative leave. Ms. Jackson, Assistant Principal, will continue to uphold the administrative responsibilities for Beulah Park Elementary School.”

According to a report by The Kenosha NewsTolefree was accused of having inappropriate sexual relationships with at least two staffers at a middle school in Wisconsin in 2018. At the time he was the school’s principal. 

Whether or not Tolefree has entered pleas to the charges remains unknown at this time. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages. Online chat is available 24/7/365 in Spanish. Get help without saying a word.

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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