Former Spring Valley cheerleading coach Joshua Balelo, 29, was arrested for two felony counts of lewdness with a minor over the age of 14, and two felony counts of child abuse on March 19.
Balelo was fired by Principal Tam Larnerd in September 2017 when the Clark County School District Police Department began their investigation, CCSD Police Captain Ken Young announced yesterday. Balelo was the school’s junior varsity cheer coach since August 2013, prior to his dismissal.
Following Balelo’s arrest yesterday, Assistant Principal Ian Salzman sent out automated calls explaining that Balelo was dismissed because of investigations that later led to his arrest. Salzman assured parents that the safety of students is a top priority, and that measures to protect students were taken.
“A former cheer coach who was assigned to our school was recently arrested regarding inappropriate behavior involving students,” Salzman said in the message. “I wanted to let you know the coach was removed from campus in September of 2017 once the investigation began. Our school is committed to providing quality instruction and we’ll ensure our students continue receiving and excellent education.”
Parents were also asked to communicate with their students, and to report any behavior that seems inappropriate.
Balelo is being detained at the Clark County Detention Center, and is scheduled to appear in court on April 2 according to court and jail records. His bail is set at $25,000.
This marks the sixth arrest this year of a CCSD or former CCSD employee on similar charges.
With an increase of inappropriate relationships between CCSD staff and students in recent years, all students in the district were required to watch videos on how to appropriately communicate with teachers. The video outlined appropriate methods of communication, such as Google Classroom, and gave specific hours for students and teachers to use them.
Spring Valley students expressed surprise over the news, stating that they feel safe at school.
“I was shocked because I never knew that this was going on,” said Senior Abigaele Joseph. “I really do trust the teachers here at Spring Valley, so this is a very big shock to me.”