TB Investigates

Southeastern Regional Superintendent Luis Lopes Has Long History Of Hiring And Covering For Teachers Who Make Sexual Allegations Against Faculty And Administration, Refers Complaints On Tony Branch To Tony Branch


Southeastern Regional School District Superintendent Luis Lopes sent out an email to the entire school district after Turtleboy showed up at a School Committee meeting and confront Chairman Tony Branch about accusations that he had sex with a 15 year old girl.

“This is a private matter between two individuals and all inquiries and or concerns should be addressed through the chair.”

No, these are public allegations being made in court documents, which were deemed to be credible by a judge in Plymouth County Probate Court.

The official policy of the Southeastern School District is that inquiries about whether or not Tony Branch is a sexual predator who is lying about being a Bishop, must be sent to the chair, who happens to be Tony Branch. They have assigned Tony Branch to investigate the claims made against Tony Branch, and in the meantime he will continue to be allowed around other people’s children. He will be part of the committee that picks the next superintendent, and will be in charge of a $25 million budget, despite owing over $150K to creditors, filing bankruptcy in 2016, not paying his taxes, lying about his income to obtain Section 8 vouchers, doctoring Bachelor’s Degrees from Bradford College (which doesn’t exist) in order to get jobs, and squatting in a house that he was foreclosed on and evicted from in 2018.

Tony Branch is not involved in any sort of “private matter.” He is choosing to sue me for exposing him, knowing that all of this would be public record. He offered me a deal of $600 and he would drop the lawsuit because he knew that all of this would come to light and damage the reputation of the Southeastern School District. He selfishly pushed forward anyway without thinking how it would affect the students and teachers he supposedly serves.

Southeastern School District provides cover for sexual predators. As long as Luis Lopes continues to cover for him like this that reputation will remain the same. They put the feelings of one narcissistic, sociopathic liar ahead of the needs of the children in the district. 

“The matters reported do not represent the core values, beliefs, or mission of the staff, students, parents, etc.”

I’m glad to know that the statutory rape, gun charges, abuse, and restraining orders are not values the Southeastern Regional School District aligns itself with. That might mean something if the head of their School Committee wasn’t guilty or accused of all of those things.

While it is true that Branch was “elected” (he ran unopposed, as most do in Brockton), and they committee can’t force him to step down, there are steps the School Committee can take to show that they do not stand with Tony Branch:

  • They could censure him
  • They could issue a public statement calling for his resignation
  • They could individually respond when they get emails instead of forwarding them all to Tony Branch

Instead they’re doing nothing. These are the names and the emails of the 9 men and women who are actively providing cover for Tony Branch. Feel free to reach out to see if just one of them has the fortitude to do the right thing and say something:

Gerson Monteiro (Brockton), Andrew Heath (East Bridgewater), Michael Pietrowski (Easton), Stephen Udden (Foxborough), Christina Gaze (Mansfield), Barbara Kaplan (Norton), Mindy Kempner (Sharon), Robin Zoll (Stoughton), Susan Sullivan (West Bridgewater)

[email protected][email protected], [email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected][email protected]

Coverups of sexual allegations made against employees has been part for the course under the leadership for Luis Lopes, so his response to the Branch allegation isn’t surprising. In 2020 a teacher at Southeastern Regional High School named Matthew Parris was arrested and charged with raping 2 students. Parris is Lopes’ wife’s nephew, and was hired by Lopes. At least 2 students were sexually assaulted on campus as a result of this nepotism.

Parris was placed in a shop with a teacher named Chad Wunschel, who was hired by Lopes in 2010, and previously worked with Lopes at New Bedford Tech. Wunschel was hired despite the fact that he was fired at New Bedford Tech for poisoning his own coffee at school in a ploy to get his ex-girlfriend to feel bad for him. As a result of this ploy innocent children were scrutinized by the police and suspected of poisoning their teacher. 

A despondent vocational school teacher who was looking for attention after his girlfriend broke up with him laced his own coffee with a chemical commonly used to remove graffiti and pretended that someone in his shop class might have tried to poison him, police said. Teacher Chad Wunschel, 27, of New Bedford tried to get his ex-girlfriend’s sympathy when he feigned sickness after taking a sip of iced coffee and spitting it out Wednesday morning in a welding shop at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical School. Wunschel had targeted his ploy at “an audience of one,” New Bedford Police Chief Ronald E. Teachman said during a Friday press conference. Instead, Wunschel sparked an intense media storm and police investigation that ended two days later when he admitted to detectives that he had poured the chemical into his coffee.

Despite this public shame Southeastern still hired him, and he still works there today. No other school district ever would’ve hired someone like this, and Wunschel knew that he could not rock the boat. There was virtually no chance that a person this dishonest, and in this position, would turn in the superintendent’s wife’s nephew.

In 2017 the Brockton Enterprise reported that Principal David Wheeler, who was hired by Lopes a decade earlier, was resigning in the middle of the school year. According to Lopes Wheeler “wanted to pursue other avenues” professionally.

“He resigned about a week ago,” said Luis Lopes, superintendent of the public vocational school, reached on Saturday. “We had been having discussion, quite frankly, about the job. It’s a pretty demanding job.”

Lopes that typically principals stay on the job for an average of three years.

“The fact that he made it 10 years is admirable,” Lopes said. “He didn’t see himself doing it forever. He wanted to pursue other avenues. he has a passion for writing, music and so forth. he just made the decision. It was time.”

Reached by email on Saturday, Wheeler said that there wasn’t anything that happened that prompted him to step down from the long-held principal job in the during the school year. Wheeler said he made the decision during February vacation.

“It was just time,” Wheeler told The Enterprise. “It’s something I’d been thinking of for a while.

But what Lopes failed to mention, which came out two years later, was that Wheeler was accused of being inappropriate with students.

Two years ago, when the principal of Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in Easton resigned in the middle of the school year, he and the superintendent said the reason was simply that time had run its course after 10 years in a demanding position. David Wheeler, who is also the chairperson of the Brockton Planning Board, and was once a columnist for The Enterprise, said he wanted to pursue other passions.

“Southeastern is in great hands and this seemed to be as good a time as any to make way for someone else,” Wheeler said at the time. “It was just time.”

It turns out that, according to public documents obtained by The Enterprise from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Wheeler resigned in early March 2017 “after being confronted by the district regarding allegations” of misconduct involving at least one student. Those allegations led to an investigation of Wheeler’s moral character, and he was given the option to surrender his educator’s license or provide a response to the allegations showing why he shouldn’t be sanctioned.

“The Department has learned of allegations that you engaged in conduct that calls into question your fitness to maintain this license,” wrote Quinton Dale, chief of investigations for the education department.

In July of that year, Wheeler signed an agreement to surrender his educator’s license, stipulating that he would not seek or accept employment as an educator in the future. At the same time, Wheeler was being investigated by local law enforcement authorities, although there is no evidence that Wheeler was ever charged with a crime.

Lopes confirmed that there were allegations against Wheeler, without going into any detail about the nature of the complaint. Lopes said allegations involving at least one student were investigated by police and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Lopes said he has not received any word back from either agency about any wrongdoing by Wheeler.

A principal would not sign an agreement to give up his teaching license in the middle of a school year if the allegations being made against him were not legitimate. David Wheeler did.

“The Department has learned of allegations that you engaged in conduct that calls into question your fitness to maintain this license,” wrote Quinton Dale, chief of investigations for the education department.

Louis Lopes lied to the media about Wheeler’s resignation and covered for his friend. As a direct result of this coverup Wheeler was able to find another job working with kids in Boston, where he was fired from after parents from Southeastern alerted them of the allegations:

And as recently as last month, Wheeler continued a career in the education field, holding a leadership position at a nonprofit in Boston that provides elective in-school programming at public schools. Wheeler was the interim regional executive director of BUILD Boston, which uses mentors and on-site teachers to unlock the potential of high-schoolers from under-resourced communities through business education and entrepreneurship.

“I can confirm that David Wheeler was briefly employed by our organization and separated by mutual agreement in early February,” wrote Ayele Shakur, in an email to The Enterprise.

Reached by The Enterprise on Wednesday, Wheeler was asked whether he violated his agreement to surrender his educator’s license.

“I did not,” Wheeler said. “I was not working in a school. I was not working as an educator.”

Wheeler declined to comment about the allegations of misconduct against him that were made at Southeastern in Easton, responding later in an email to The Enterprise.

Lopes didn’t want his friend to have trouble finding new employment, but he admitted that there were complaints made against Wheeler.

“Did anyone complain about Mr. Wheeler? Yeah, absolutely,” Lopes said. “

He never mentioned this in the 2017 Enterprise article. But it the allegations were looked into, and there was nothing there, the school would not ask for his resignation, and they most definitely would not ask him to sign a document surrendering his teacher’s license. Lopes admitted that he would never do that if he were innocent:

Asked if he would agree to forfeit his educator’s license based on an allegation without supporting facts, Lopes said he wouldn’t. While it has nothing to do with potential criminal liability, signing an agreement to forfeit an educator’s license amid an allegation of misconduct spares the subject a lengthy investigation, a potential hearing and the process of further appeals. Lopes said Wheeler was in a different situation because he wanted to move to Florida and pursue passions beyond the field of education, including writing.

“Would I? No,” Lopes said. “But I’ve been in education since I was 18. I’ve been doing it for a long time. This is what I love to do. I told him what I told everyone: Find something you’re passionate about. … There were days he’d come in and vent about the job. I said, ‘Find something else if this isn’t making you happy.’ I wasn’t surprised he was walking away because we had been having talks for several years about how much longer he’d want to do it.”

Except Wheeler didn’t move to Florida. He still lives in Brockton, got a job working with kids in Boston, and was spared an investigation in return for giving up his license. Lopes intentionally lied to the media in order to cover for his friend, and in doing so potentially put more kids in danger.

To make matters worse, students attempted to blow the whistle on Wheeler in 2010 by creating three Facebook pages (the first two were forced to be taken down) that blasted him for his alleged inappropriate behavior with students. In response Wheeler suspended the students behind the page and presented himself as a victim of bullying. He even attempted to have them charged by alerting Easton Police. It happened right around the time that a girl in South Hadley killed herself as a result of bullying, and was compared to that in a Brockton Enterprise article.

Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School suspended three students last week and is considering legal action against a former student in a crackdown on abuse on the Facebook social networking site. Principal David Wheeler said he took the action after students posted defamatory and sexually explicit remarks about him, other administrators and a staff member last week on three Facebook “fan pages” created by Southeastern students and a former student.

“I want kids to understand this is not acceptable behavior,” Wheeler said. “I want students to understand what is appropriate to put on the Internet, what is inappropriate, and what charges can result from inappropriate things they put on the Internet.”

Cally Gurney, an Easton police officer assigned to Southeastern, said the department is still investigating whether charges can be brought. Because no direct threats were made against staff and no violence resulted from threats, it appears only civil charges, such as defamation of character, could result, Gurney said.

Like other schools, Southeastern has had problems with students fighting at school because of remarks posted on Facebook, Wheeler said. But the issue flared anew last week when administrators were alerted to a so-called “fan page” about Southeastern, which students could join with the click of a computer key and then use to post comments about their school. About 390 students joined as “fans.”

One student, who has been suspended, admitted establishing the fan page and voluntarily took it down, said Wheeler. That led another student to launch a second page, specifically targeting Wheeler, which Facebook itself took down because of inappropriate content, according to Wheeler and Gurney.

A third page was also established, possibly by a former student, Wheeler said.

At one point, the former student threatened to post the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all Southeastern teachers and staff, Wheeler said. Another post called Wheeler names.

The first two pages were created by students, who Wheeler had power over and could suspend for making public allegations about him. But he couldn’t stop the third page because the person who made it was a former student.

Under the administration of Luis Lopes he has:

  • Hired a relative to teach who ended up raping 2 students on campus
  • Hired a principal who was accused of inappropriate behavior with students, and then lied to the media about why the principal resigned mid year in order to cover up and protect the school’s reputation
  • Hired a teacher he knew immediately after that teacher was fired for trying to frame students for poisoning him, and then allowed that teacher to supervise his rapey nephew

Now he’s providing cover for a School Committee member who has been credibly accused of statutory rape. Tony Branch is Lopes’ boss and can make life difficult for Lopes before he retires at the end of the year. Branch is in charge of choosing his replacement. 

You can dismiss this as fake news from Turtleboy, but it’s all documented, and it’s undeniable. If you apply to send your kids to Southeastern, or they are currently enrolled there now, then they are in danger the moment they walk in the doors. If something happens to them administration will suspend any students who took about it publicly in order to protect the adults, just like they’re currently doing with Tony Branch.


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