LaPoynor ISD removes Christian flag

November 1608:10 AM

Students at LaPoynor ISD are upset about a Christian flag being removed from their school. This comes after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a formal complaint in October, asking the district to take it down. The group fights for separation of church and state and said the flag was non-inclusive. "We were all devastated and ticked off about it," said Jared Sanchez, a student at LaPoynor High School. view article arw

Texas school districts, law enforcement and courts have a relatively new tool at their disposal to help fight cyberbullying. 'David's Law' is named after David Bartlett Molak, a San Antonio teenager who killed himself in January of 2016 at the age of 16. David's family said the Eagle Scout was "continuously harassed, humiliated and threatened by a group of students through text messages and social media." "After the loss of David, there were a lot of legislators who realized we need to do something," said El Paso-area State Representative Mary Gonzalez, a co-sponsor of the bill. view article arw

What happened on a stage over the summer is putting a spotlight on McKinney ISD. Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel held hands and prayed during a staff assembly at Prestonwood Baptist Church. Fast forward to a November school board meeting, a small group is taking up an age-old fight over the separation of church and state. view article arw

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - With both gun rights supporters and gun control advocates nationwide looking on, lawyers for Newtown families and gun maker Remington Arms are set to face off Tuesday before the Connecticut Supreme Court to argue whether the company should be held liable for the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.  Gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012, with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle, the same type of firearm used in other mass shootings including at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, earlier this month. Lanza also fatally shot his mother at their Newtown home and killed himself as police arrived at the school. view article arw

Request for Opinion - As Chair of the House Committee on Elections, I respectfully request a formal opinion regarding the authority given by the legislature to local school boards in Texas to create and use term limits as part of their specific district governance policies.  view article arw

In addition to being funded through a state-funded program designed to establish a minimum educational threshold in every school, Texas public elementary and secondary schools rely on local property taxes for supplemental revenue. Rodriguez, acting on behalf of students whose families reside in poor districts, challenged this funding scheme by arguing that it underprivileged such students because their schools lacked the vast property tax base that other districts utilized.  view article arw

The mother of a child with special needs alleges a PE teacher attacked her son, slamming him onto concrete, leaving bruises from his face to his hands. “This scar that’s right here. He has scratches on his chest,” said Ashley Degrate, describing the bruises over her son, Cavontrell Smith. More Headlines Morton Ranch High School student arrested, charged after bringing gun to campus Rifle listed among items at raffle for high school seniors Video: Army dad surprises wife, daughter at elementary school after… Smith, 10, is enrolled in fifth grade at Lane Elementary School, located on the 2000 block of Aldine Bender Road. Lane is considered an alternative school. Cavontrell is there, his mother says, because of a behavioral and emotional disorder. view article arw

Back in 2014, Daniel Barker was working as an art teacher and football coach at Leonard Junior High. That's when authorities say he began messaging one of his students, a 13-year-old girl. "It started with social media and texting and then the messages back and forth got hot and heavy," said Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser. view article arw

The Gatesville Hornet football program has been surrounded by controversy this season, based on allegations that six varsity players used performance-enhancing drugs over the summer. On Oct. 27, District 13-4A’s District Executive Committee (DEC) voted to suspend those players for 30 days, to the dismay of Liberty Hill ISD Superintendent and DEC Chair Dr. Rob Hart. That same afternoon, the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) State Executive Committee (SEC), sharing Hart’s view, overturned the suspension. On Friday, those six Hornets will be on the field against Liberty Hill in their final district game. view article arw

The Christian flag has been removed from LaPoynor ISD's property and installed on a nearby utility pole. It's not clear when the flag was taken down or moved, or which utility company owns the right of way where it has been erected. Superintendent James Young could not be reached on Wednesday. In an Athens Daily Review story on Nov. 1, Mat Staver, the founder of the Liberty Counsel, a non-profit faith-based advocacy organization, said the Christian flag at LaPoynor ISD could continue to fly under one condition — add a secular flag to fly with the U.S., Christian and Texas flags. view article arw

The son of an Alief ISD trustee was acquitted by reason of insanity in the stabbing death of his mother. Blake Jefferson entered an insanity plea Wednesday morning. He was accused of stabbing his mother to death back in December. view article arw

Some school board members who voted to rescind a 4-month-old ethics and conflict-of-interest policy say they were unaware what they were approving and want it reinstated. The Fort Worth school district’s Board Policy Committee is expected to revisit the matter at a meeting this week, perhaps as early as Thursday.  The six-page policy includes strict rules regarding campaign contributions from entities that are “financially interested in the outcome of a contract,” guidelines on what constitutes a conflict of interest for board members and their family and limitations on gifts for board members. Vendors found in violation of the policy would be subject to penalties as well. view article arw

A Trophy Club man who resigned this week from a Fort Worth-area school board had planned to visit Mexico to have sex with a 16-year-old girl and swapped child pornography with an online group that included a purported pastor, according to his arrest warrant affidavit. view article arw

Repost from yesterday; there is application to other proposed state funding of programs without any accountability - js - Federal investigators have seized millions of dollars in assets from the owner of Retail Ready Career Center in Garland, the for-profit vocational school attended by more than 300 veterans that abruptly shut down in late September. Students said they were in the middle of a six-week HVAC certification course when they were told the school was closing and they needed to leave campus. "When the school closed, it really took me by surprise," said one former student, Marine veteran Patrick Thompson. view article arw

A board member for Northwest ISD in Fort Worth resigned after he was arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of possession of child pornography. Mel Fuller, 52, was jailed after Trophy Club police received a tip about the distribution of child pornography from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. view article arw

The Ninth Court of Appeals has turned down an appeal from the Kountze Independent School District to reconsider a ruling allowing cheerleaders to make religious banners. The decision affirms the court's ruling last month in favor of the squad. Parents of seven Kountze ISD cheerleaders sued the district in 2012 after the district, in response to a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, banned the squad from putting Bible verses on signs at football games. view article arw

The attorney for the family of a Harlingen teenager killed nearly one year ago when the boy fell from a moving school bus called the official ruling of the boy’s death as suicide a “sham.” “Our son was happy, you didn’t even call us or talk to us to get this information,” attorney Terry Gorman said the family told investigators. view article arw

DALLAS (CBS11) – A state senator isn’t waiting for voters to make changes at Dallas County Schools.  Senator Don Huffines, R-Dallas, is calling for the immediate resignation of three board members, calling claims of a complete overhaul and new leadership “patently false.”   The letter requesting the resignation comes as early voting has started on a ballot measure to shut down the agency. DCS has faced mounting criticism for safety violations, and budget shortfalls.  In a letter sent Monday, Huffines was responding to claims from DCS leaders they have turned the transportation agency around. view article arw

The Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont has denied a request by the Kountze Independent School District to reconsider dismissing a claim that its cheerleaders' displaying bible verses at football games is constitutionally protected speech. Kountze's cheerleaders won the appeal in September, when the court decided the bible verse banners were protected personal speech as opposed to the district's. Attorneys for Kountze ISD on Monday asked the court to reconsider its decision, claiming the nearly 5-year-old case became moot on March 24. view article arw

The Texas 14th Court of Appeals has rejected a former employee's appeal of the claims against the Houston Independent School District, upholding a lower court’s dismissal. The appeal was heard by a panel that included Justices Kevin Jewell, William J. Boyce and John Donovan. Jewell wrote the Oct. 19 opinion for the court. Latasha Rose filed an appeal of a ruling by the 127th District Court in Harris County that dismissed her claims against the HISD, her former employer. view article arw

Long before President Trump escalated the debate over protests during the national anthem, two Texas teenagers began challenging injustice in their own way, by sitting through the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Now, they are separately suing their schools, saying that teachers and administrators shamed or punished them for their protests, violating their constitutional rights. The students, both in the Houston area, said they had received especially harsh treatment in recent months. view article arw

HARLINGEN — The family of a Harlingen middle school student killed one year ago after falling from a bus emergency door on a school trip in Hidalgo County has filed a $100 million wrongful-death lawsuit. The suit alleges the death of 13-year-old Gabriel Miranda along I-2/U.S. Expressway 83 in Edinburg resulted from negligence on the part of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, its superintendent, Arturo Cavazos, teachers A.J. Ayala and Michael J. Carlsted and bus driver Laura Castro Ruiz. view article arw

Amarillo Independent School District said Thursday that the five employees placed on leave in the aftermath of a controversial Facebook post had returned to work, and an attorney said four of them planned to file a defamation lawsuit against the post’s author.  The five had been placed on administrative leave earlier this month after a Facebook postsurfaced claiming the employees had been mocking students with disabilities and their parents in an Amarillo restaurant. Amarillo ISD issued a statement Thursday morning saying the employees had returned to work and that the district had “completed its investigation and addressed the situation appropriately.” view article arw

In an emergency hearing Friday, the State Executive Committee (SEC) overruled the suspension handed down by the 13-4A District Executive Committee earlier in the day and said the six Gatesville High School football players at the center of the testosterone scandal would be eligible to play because nobody involved had been charged with a crime. view article arw

The FBI executed search warrants at the home and office of a businessman whose partnership with the agency that runs school buses in Dallas lost millions of dollars of taxpayer money.  A federal judge sealed the search warrants. But NBC 5 Investigates confirmed federal agents raided a high-rise office in downtown Dallas and a luxury home in a New Orleans suburb on June 26.  The home belongs to Robert Leonard, the chief executive of Force Multiplier Solutions; the downtown location was the company's Dallas office on the 49th floor of Chase Tower. Force Multiplier is the company Dallas County Schools partnered with on a deal for school-bus cameras that put the agency near financial ruin. view article arw

Since a state appeals court blocked payments to Ken Paxton’s prosecutors in August, the focus has been on the ruling’s potential to upend the criminal case against the state attorney general.  But with the payment issue now on appeal before the state’s highest criminal court, a leading defense lawyers group has lined up behind Paxton’s prosecutors, arguing that the payment fight could endanger the system for ensuring that indigent defendants receive proper representation at trial. view article arw

When laws are passed during the Texas Legislature’s biennial session, school districts must review their policies and bring them into compliance. One such law, Senate Bill 1398, passed during the Legislature’s 2017 session. It deals with cameras in special education classrooms. That was the reason the Killeen Independent School board discussed changes to their special education camera policy during their workshop Tuesday evening, according to Terry Abbott, KISD chief communications officer. view article arw

A man who worked as a substitute teacher for the Northside Independent School district has been fired amid claims of molestation by an 11-year-old girl. Barry Perez, NISD executive director of communications, said Luis Lopez, 75, was removed from the position earlier this week immediately after the allegations were raised. view article arw

As the superintendent for ARP ISD, Dwight Thomas says keeping students safe has always been his number one priority. After a district employee was arrested for an improper relationship with a student this month, Thomas is focused on student safety now more than ever. "It's always scary to get these types of allegations, and we take them very seriously,” says Thomas. “Like any school district, there is zero tolerance for this." view article arw

ABILENE, Texas (AP) - Two West Texas teachers and two other campus workers have been put on administrative leave as police investigate alleged prescription drug abuse linked to a middle school. Abilene police on Tuesday announced the investigation involving Madison Middle School . A school resource officer on Oct. 18 received reports about alleged drug-related incidents and contacted police.  Investigators say two teachers who were in a relationship acknowledged using illegal drugs and implicated a teacher's aide. view article arw

A Vista Ridge High School staff member has resigned from his position following an inappropriate student-teacher allegation, according to a letter sent home to families. Another district notified them of a former misconduct allegation involving the staff member that reportedly occurred in 2012 while he was employed by that district. After LISD was informed of the allegation, the employee was immediately removed from the school and they began an investigation. The employee ended up resigning from his position. view article arw

A Klein ISD high school student and American Atheists filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the school district alleging harassment by teachers, administrators and other students after she did not participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. The student, who initially stopped standing in 2014 for the Pledge, was repeatedly disciplined by school officials at Klein Oak High School, forced to transfer out of classes and apparently bullied by other students, according to the lawsuit. view article arw

Victor Leos, a former Garland ISD human resources director and a central figure in a scheme to abuse work visas to recruit hundreds of teachers, was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay $317,482 in restitution Monday.  "Garland ISD is appalled by the actions of Mr. Leos," school district attorney Alaina Smith said in a victim impact statement read before sentencing in federal court. "Mr. Leos betrayed the trust that the district, the community and the teachers he recruited placed in him." view article arw

State District Judge Kyle Carter this morning ruled in favor of Sharon Koonce's application for a temporary restraining order against the Houston ISD. Attorney Scott Newar had argued that prohibiting Koonce from talking with any students, parents or HISD employees was a violation of her constitutional rights. The TRO stays in effect for 14 days until another hearing is held. view article arw

The red, white and blue has flown outside LaPoynor High School in LaRue, Texas for as far back as anyone can remember. But instead of 50 stars on a blue field, this flag bears a cross - a symbol of the Christian faith. The Christian flag flies alongside the Texas flag and Old Glory. view article arw