Raymondville schools fire band director

RAYMONDVILLE — The school district’s former band director is facing a felony charge of sexual performance by a child as a result of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Savas Ramirez, 39, of Harlingen posted $50,000 bail for his release Saturday from the Willacy County Jail following Friday’s arrest stemming from an allegation of an incident with a student.

On Tuesday, the school district’s investigation continued into Ramirez, who served as the Bearkats’ band director since 2016, district Police Chief Oscar Gutierrez said.

“It’s still under investigation,” he said.

Port Isabel’s report

Last month, a report from the Port Isabel school district, where Ramirez was previously employed, led to the investigation, Gustavo Acevedo, the Raymondville school district’s attorney, said.

“We received information that a student from Port Isabel (and) band member had made an outcry,” he said.

Port Isabel officials referred to an alleged incident occurring between 2011 and 2015, Ben Clinton, the Raymondville school district’s deputy superintendent, said.

“There was something that happened in PI when he was a teacher there,” Municipal Judge Felicita Gutierrez said as she explained the reason she set Ramirez’s bond at $50,000.

The judge said the victim was about 15 or 16 at the time of the alleged incident.

“There was some history,” she said. “There was a previous incident where you had a minor. There was a pattern.”

Ramirez suspended

Based on Port Isabel’s information, officials here suspended Ramirez on Feb. 17.

“Once RISD was aware of possible issues with the band director, it immediately took action to remove the employee from the district,” Superintendent Stetson Roane wrote in the district’s website. “If the district suspects or receives a report of employee misconduct, we will continue to work with law enforcement to conduct a full investigation.”

District launches investigation

Port Isabel’s information led officials to launch an investigation into Ramirez, Clinton said.

“Our police started talking with students,” he said.

The investigation led officials to identify a Raymondville student as a victim, Acevedo said.

“Based on our own investigation, we believe there may have been contact between this individual and another student,” he said.

The alleged incident occurred at school in July 2019, Judge Gutierrez said.

As a result, officials filed the second-degree felony charge of sexual performance by a child.

Ramirez fired, reported to state

On Feb. 27, officials fired Ramirez, reporting his alleged offense to the Texas Education Agency, authorities said.

“The law requires reporting when there’s reason to believe (there’s been) illegal activity with a student,” Acevedo said.

When they hired Ramirez in 2016, officials conducted “a full national background check,” which turned up no red flags, Clinton said.

“Nothing had been reported in Port Isabel yet,” he said, referring to the reason the initial background check didn’t turn up Port Isabel’s information.

In Port Isabel, Superintendent Theresa Ann Alarcon could not be reached for comment Tuesday.