Beloved Boerne ISD teacher’s mysterious extended absence has district families seeking answers

Hundreds packed a school board meeting this week as they work to find clarity on Mr. Vick’s extended absence at a crucial time of the year.

BOERNE, Texas — Mr. Vick has been with Boerne ISD for nearly two decades. Students say he’s more than a shop teacher; he’s a model to aspire to. 

“We call the shop, it’s like a family to everyone,” said Camden Graves, a senior at Boerne Champion High School, where Vick works. “He is like the father of the family.”

“The least important thing you learn from Vick is how to weld and how to build things,” added Eli Christian, another Champion High School senior. “He teaches us how to be good people.”

“You could say he welds us all together,” laughed Jack Burkhart, another senior.

But now sparks are flying at Boerne ISD after the esteemed and beloved welding instructor stopped coming to class.

According to students, Mr. Vick was last in the classroom on April 24. Officials at Boerne Champion High School say Dorman Vick is on an “extended teacher absence,” but families aren’t satisfied by that answer. 

“All of our admin was acting weird, they just took us from the shop to the cafeteria,” said Christian. “We didn’t hear anything. So far, since Vick has been gone, which is three weeks today, we have only been able to do one day of work in the shop.”

Families say they were given no formal notice. However, a handful of parents received an email from the school principal saying Mr. Vick is on the extended absence. 

When pressed by one of the parents, Champion High School Principal Beto Hinojosa responded that matters involving teachers and staff are confidential. 

“Out of respect for Mr. Vick’s privacy, we do not have a comment on his absence,” Hinojosa went on to say. “We are not aware of a criminal investigation nor is there a reason for us to believe there is a safety concern in your son’s agriculture mechanics program.”

On Monday, hundreds of people packed a Boerne ISD school board meeting to voice their support for Mr. Vick. 

Among them was Michael Ethridge, who took Mr. Vick’s class 19 years ago. 

“I understand the need for privacy when there is an HR personnel issue, but what I don’t get is the district letting the rumor mills write the stories,” he said. “There’s just awful rumors flying around that we know are untrue. The district was selective in letting a few parents know that there’s no criminal activity going on; put that out as an official statement. I know you can’t say what has happened, but you certainly can say what hasn’t happened. Maybe give us a timeline on when this will be wrapped up, at least let the students know if they are going to finish their school year without their teacher.”

KENS 5 reached out multiple times for comment. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Boerne ISD responded, saying the district “does not discuss personnel matters.” 

Parents told KENS 5 they’ve seen Mr. Vick at school events, but he’s unable to speak about the matter.

“I can’t imagine what Mr. Vick is going through, not being able to talk to anyone about this,” said Ethridge. “I call him, I text him, he doesn’t respond. He can’t respond.”

Meanwhile, students say their education is suffering. Several year-end projects are now on hold. Students were repairing Samuel V. Champion’s headstone and had planned to present the upgrades to his widow. They were also repairing a sentimental truck for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“It’s three hours of our day that we are in here,” said senior Hayden Landis. “Every other day in the shop, we just sit there. It’s really disappointing because we are coming to the end of our senior year. I spent every Friday night missing football games to be here with the guys, working until 1 a.m. Every waking moment where I am not doing something at home, I am out here working on projects. We get so close to the end… and to have that all ripped away from us, it really hurts.”

“It’s a stressful time because kids are graduating in less than a week,” added junior Bryce Smajstrla. “Getting no answers and no authority to finish these projects, it’s hard.”

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