The afterschool program director for the Carpinteria Boys and Girls Club resigned this week in the wake of allegations that he hit children’s hands with a pool cue.
David Bleecker handed out a letter to parents along with a Health and Human Services agency licensing report that addressed the incident.
“In August, a few students reported that I hit them on their hands with a pool cue while we were playing a game of pool,” Bleecker wrote. “What happened was I used the pool cue to lightly tap the table’s cushion if the student’s hands were over the cushion.
"I did this slowly and lightly while we all played. I have never hit children, I have never condoned hitting children, and I do not condone the use of corporal punishment.”
Licensing Evaluator Patricia Gutierrez made an unannounced visit Sept. 4 — a month after the Aug. 5 incident was reported – and reported that Bleecker had hit children’s hands with pool sticks if they didn’t remove their hands when told.
He had also instructed other staff members to do the same if children failed to follow instructions, according to the report.
Gutierrez found that the licensed afterschool program failed to comply with regulations by violating children’s personal rights and not providing adequate care and supervision, which the club must address or risk a civil penalty.
The United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County is appealing aspects of the report, Carpinteria unit director Jamie Collins said.
There’s already a transition plan in place as well, with afterschool program teacher Dolly Chang taking over as the new director, she said.
“We’re really excited about her and her ideas, and she’s with the program so the kids already know her.”
Even with the appeal of the report, the “stress of this inaccurate accusation has taken its toll on me both emotionally and physically, and for that reason I have decided to resign,” Bleecker wrote.
The case was reportedly investigated by law enforcement, but the District Attorney’s Office has not filed any charges.
“As of today, the Boys and Girls Club has not alerted parents officially that this incident even happened, even though it happened over a month ago,” a concerned parent wrote to Noozhawk. “The state concluded it happened yet (Bleecker) continued to work and parents remained unaware.”