RIPLEY, Okla. — To many, Ripley is a close-knit community.
“It is a town where everyone has known each other for a long time, school employees, school officials they’ve all worked together for years, there’s a lot of trust,” said Dennis Mattheyer, a Ripley native who says his family has lived in the town and attended Ripley school for decades.
For his family, it’s become a family tradition to attend Ripley.
“My mom’s an alumni there, me and my three siblings graduated from there, my girlfriends family graduated from there,” said Mattheyer.
He also has two kids of his own that are also attending Ripley.
Mattheyer is one of the parents who says was surprised when he heard about the arrest of Superintendent Kenneth Beams and 6th grade math teacher’s assistant Kacey Williamson during an illicit sex crime investigation nicknamed "Velvet Fury."
Now, parents in the close-knit community of Ripley say they want answers.
“What people have said to me is there’s just frustration, because answers aren’t coming yet,” said Mattheyer. “But I have no doubt that in Ripley, they will.”
So far, Mattheyer says he and many other parents are staying neutral.
“One should really withhold their judgment until all the information is available,” he said. “I’m just standing in line waiting for answers like the other parents at the moment.”
Ripley Elementary School Principal Lisa Pitts told 2 Works for You that Kenneth Beams is still currently the district’s superintendent, but has not been on the schools campus since last week. Pitts also mentioned that Williamson had stopped showing up to work last week.
The Ripley school district board of education has already met this month and is not scheduled to meet again until November. 2 Works for You reached out to their office to see if the board would be calling an emergency meeting regarding the situation, but has not heard back.
2 Works for You also reached out to the State Department of Education who replied with a statement,
“We are in the process of working with authorities and gathering information. Based on the information we have at this time, we will recommend action on Dr. Beam’s certificate at the Oct. 25 State Board meeting.“
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