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Kerr County Commissioner uses radio show to call KISD teacher “a groomer”

Kerr County Commissioner Harley David Belew attacks a teacher over what he calls grooming videos, but are they?

Kerr County Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley David Belew called a Hal Peterson Middle School teacher a “groomer” after he said she showed a series of videos that sexualized children. 

“This teacher decided to squander time and show the grooming video. It makes you wonder about the teacher. Is this teacher transitioning? Is this teacher? Well, it’s grooming. That ought to tell you something.” 

Harley David Belew on his Dec. 9 radio show

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During his Dec. 8 radio show, Belew attacked the teacher by her last name, calling for her termination from the Kerrville Independent School District and claiming he watched the “grooming videos” shown to students. Belew doubled down on his accusations during his Dec. 9 radio show, and a right-wing Kerr County group called for people to protest a teacher during Monday’s board of trustees meeting. 

An excerpt from Harley David Belew’s Dec. 9 radio show

“In this particular case it was for grooming,” Belew said on Dec. 9. “That’s what these videos do.


“It gets pretty involved with what these videos were and how they were wildly inappropriate. They are not appropriate in any setting in a school. I’m just going to say that based on what I’ve seen.” 

Belew repeatedly said the only purpose of the videos was to groom children for a sexualized life. The term “grooming” is one used to depict LGBTQ+ as sexual predators. Additionally, right-wing groups and broadcasters suggest LGBTQ+ is an ideological position.

“This teacher decided to squander time and show the grooming video,” Belew said. “It makes you wonder about the teacher. Is this teacher transitioning? Is this teacher? Well, it’s grooming. That ought to tell you something.” 

Further compounding the issue is a letter to parents from Peterson Middle School Principal Tana Althaus that said the videos were not age-appropriate and did not align with the curriculum. 

The classes in question are “College and Career Readiness.” Althaus explained the content was not age-appropriate and should have never been shown to students because it didn’t align with the curriculum. Furthermore, the school was now off track in completing the courses by the end of the semester. 

“Moving forward, the College and Career Readiness courses will be closely monitored by the administration to ensure the curriculum is followed as expected,” Althaus said. 

Althaus’ admission fueled Belew’s on-air rage about the school district, the middle school and the teacher. Belew also attacked Kerrville Mayor Judy Eychner and the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library and was dismissive of people who opposed his thinking. He called on the Kerrville Independent School District Board of Trustees to fire the teacher. 

“A teacher there wanted to sexualize the kids,” Belew said of the teacher he called out by her last name. 

Of course, as with all Belew comments, the truth and the hyperbole are challenging to disentangle. 

The three videos shown were not sexually explicit. One specifically aimed at middle school students and readily available on YouTube was about stress and bullying. The other two were long-form videos, including one featuring an interview with former First Lady Michelle Obama. 

Althaus included a link to each of the videos shown and her explanation of why they were inappropriate: 

Roadtrip Nation – Beating the Odds

Self-Care in the Middle School

  • Elements of this video that are not age-appropriate include conversations about gender identity and self-harm.

Teens, Social Media and Technology

The RoadTrip Nation video, about an hour in length, featured stories from college students who had overcome abuse or other struggles to go to college. In one of the stories, a man from West Virginia talked about his parents’ battle with drug addiction, which led them to prison when he was 15. There is also a discussion about sexuality. 

Teens, Social Media and Technology is a 2014 news documentary by PBS’ Frontline news magazine. The hour-long piece covers precisely the kind of things Belew complains about — sexualizing children. However, it’s about how social media companies use likes as an enticement for risky behavior — often, the more sexually suggestive, the more engagement the content would receive. 

The content’s reality and Belew’s over-the-top claims could be problematic for him and the Ranch Radio Group, which owns The Hill Country Patriot radio station. This isn’t the first time Belew has used divisive language to deride someone. Still, using terms like “groomer” or the outright depiction of someone engaging or encouraging felonious pedophilia seems to land in Texas’ statute of libel, slander and defamation. 

“That tends to injure a living person’s reputation and thereby expose the person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or financial injury or to impeach any person’s honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation or to publish the natural defects of anyone and thereby expose the person to public hatred, ridicule, or financial injury,” according to Chapter 73 on the Texas Civil Practice Code.

In his role as a Kerr County commissioner, Belew’s conduct is protected — if it happens during a court session. However, it’s a different situation on the radio. 


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