BISD coach back at work after investigation

Kevin Flanigan

What bothered Flo Edgerly the most about the media coverage regarding West Brook football coach Kevin Flanigan’s very public suspension was not so much what was in the reports but what was not reported.

“It made him look like a bad person, and that’s not him at all,” Edgerly told The Examiner after Flanigan was cleared of any illegal activity and returned to work at Beaumont ISD’s West Brook High School the first week of January 2017. Flanigan had been on paid leave since November 2016 amid allegations he set up video recording in the boys’ locker room to catch a suspected thief. Video recording in locker rooms is illegal in Texas, according to the district attorney’s office, but criminal intent was lacking in this case, the DA’s office further declared.

Flanigan was cleared of allegations of “improper visual recording” by a grand jury on Wednesday, Dec. 21, according to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

“The evidence revealed that Coach Flanigan set up a surveillance camera for the sole purpose of catching the person who had been stealing money from the student-athletes’ lockers,” the DA’s office reported after the grand jury decision. “The camera was set up during the time that the team was on the practice field. The locker room was vacant when the camera was set up, and the camera was removed before any students returned. The camera only captured the thief, who entered the locker room and pilfered through the lockers. No one is seen on the video except for the thief.”

“His intent wasn’t to commit a crime,” Assistant District Attorney Pat Knauth asserted. “His intent was to protect his kids.”

Edgerly said she’s known Flanigan for years and also knows he was just doing what he thought was in the best interest of “his boys.”

“He loves his boys. He loves his job. He’s a good coach,” Edgerly said. In fact, she added, the impetus to plant the video recording device was sparked by concern for his student players. One student had approximately $200 stolen that was earmarked for the family’s electrical bill, which the student was to pay after school.

“They took up money and the coach went and paid the bill – himself. That’s the kind of guy he is,” Edgerly said. At that point, she said, Flanigan knew he had to take action to prevent such a theft from happening again.

“He went above and beyond catching the thief for his boys,” she said. “As soon as he saw the culprits, he immediately took the camera to the principal’s office.”

BISD spokesperson Nakisha Burns said Flanigan was reinstated to his position and pay rate prior to the suspension soon after the grand jury cleared the educator of all criminal allegations.

“He’s good guy,” Edgerly reiterated. “(Flanigan) would never do anything to hurt his boys.

“They’re real fortunate to have him. Let’s hope they can keep him.”