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Elkhorn South band director facing felony child abuse charge

Michelle A. Bluford, 55.
Michelle A. Bluford, 55.(PHOTO: Douglas County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - An Elkhorn South High School band director is facing a felony child abuse charge stemming from a complaint spanning two years.

Douglas County Court issued a warrant for Michelle A. Bluford, 55, on Friday, according to court documents. She was booked around 7 p.m. on Monday.

The warrant lists a charge of intentional child abuse with no injury, a Class 3A felony. That charge could include endangering the life of a child; depriving them of necessities; placing the child in a situation that could lead to sexual exploitation; or forcing the child to engage in prostitution, indecency, pornography, or another situation allowing for sexual abuse.

In an ongoing investigation with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, they were informed of a possible inappropriate relationship with a faculty member and student at Elkhorn South High School. According to the release, “Michelle Bluford initiated and nurtured an inappropriate relationship with a former student over a period of approximately three years.”

DSCO says the time frame was about three years but court documents say two.

Further into the release, DCSO states, “the relationship consisted of predatory grooming behaviors which eventually lead to inappropriate sexual contact with the former student by Dr. Bluford.” Officials say no more details will be released to the public until the investigation is complete and the Elkhorn Public School admission has been fully cooperative.

The complaint filed by Deputy County Attorney Molly Keane on Thursday alleges a minor child was put into an exploitive situation in the span of two years, from June 26, 2017-2019.

Elkhorn Public Schools is aware of the issuance of an arrest warrant for Michelle Bluford, and we continue to cooperate with the Douglas County Sheriff’s office in their investigation. At this time, this remains an ongoing personnel matter. Pursuant to state law, we are unable to respond to questions or provide additional information.

Elkhorn Public Schools

According to an ESHS band website, Bluford has been a teacher for 33 years — 21 of them in the Elkhorn school district. She also taught for six years at Omaha Benson and Ponca Public School, according to her bio on that site, and has also served as president of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association.

“Her bands, orchestras, and jazz bands have consistently earned Superior Plus and Superior ratings at District Music Contest, state and regional competitions,” the website states.

Elkhorn South band teachers were placed on administrative leave at the end of June as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigated allegations of an “inappropriate relationship” involving a staff member and a former student. At that time, the school district and DCSO said they could not share further details until the investigation had concluded.

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