When a verbal or physical altercation is recorded on the school surveillance system, it can seem easier to determine which movie won the Oscar for 2017’s Best Picture than to figure out who gets to see the video, who gets a copy of it, and whose faces need to be blurred. Below we will open the big red envelope that we have double-checked is labeled “FERPA” to get our answer.

The Texas Education Agency is reviewing complaints against the Kirbyville school district. view article arw

Two former Beaumont ISD employees who accused the district and more than 30 others of defamation and a racist conspiracy are appealing the dismissal of their case in federal court. Calvin Walker, a former contract electrician, and Jessie Haynes, a former district spokeswoman, filed a notice of appeal Monday in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, challenging Judge Marcia Crone's dismissal of all of their claims. view article arw

UPDATE on Tuesday, July 18, 2017: The superintendent of La Vernia ISD now says the district will reverse its course and release documents to the News 4 Trouble Shooters. When those documents are released, we will provide an update. view article arw

The La Vernia Independent School District is now suing the Texas Attorney General to keep from having to release documents to the News 4 Trouble Shooters. News 4 requested the records as part of its investigation into hazing allegations that rocked the community earlier this year. This past March ten students, most of them juveniles, were arrested for alleged sexual assault in a hazing scandal at La Vernia High School. The Trouble Shooters requested employee records for teachers and coaches to see if the district knew what had been going on. view article arw

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is investigating after vandals targeted the Hamshire-Fannett School District. view article arw

A Frisco middle school teacher has been arrested after text messages were discovered that suggest he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student. Travis Chupe, an eighth grade teacher at Staley Middle School in Frisco ISD, was arrested around 2 p.m. Wednesday and charged with improper relationship with a student and indecency with a child. Both are second-degree felonies punisha view article arw

Beaumont ISD, Self-Insured TASB Risk Management Fund has answered a suit brought by a former teacher, Ashli Feacher. Feacher claims she was “harassed and terminated” because of her sickle cell disease, high absenteeism and for filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim, which the BISD Fund took special exception to in its answer, filed June 21. view article arw

 The grievance process for three Edinburg school district teachers who were unhappy with actions taken by the district’s superintendent came to an end last week after their sought-after meeting with the board of trustees. The trustees granted several requests from the teachers, including providing training on workplace bullying, employee rights to free speech and Site Based Decision Making, or SBDM, process for district administrators, teachers and staff, according to a news release from the Edinburg American Federation of Teachers. view article arw

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) - Federal agents have arrested a West Texas county commissioner and a West Texas city official after they were accused of undertaking a bribery scheme.  A six-count federal indictment was unsealed Friday charges Presidio County Precinct 3 Commissioner Lorenzo Padilla (pah-DEE'-yah) Hernandez and Presidio school board member Carlos Eduardo Nieto (nee-YEH'-toh), who also is Presidio's city special projects coordinator.  Hernandez is charged with two counts each of bribery and mail fraud and a conspiracy count. Nieto is charged with single conspiracy and mail fraud counts. view article arw

A coach at Huntsville High School has been charged with having an improper relationship with a student. According to police reports, Dillon Gaffney was arrested on an out of county warrant out of Matagorda County. He is listed as the head women's soccer coach and social studies teacher on Huntsville ISD's Website Gaffney was transferred to the Matagorda County jail following his arrest. view article arw

AUSTIN - A judge ruled Thursday that Tommy Wallis' former management team at the Bryan school district and two trustees were not responsible for disclosing documents sealed by a court that relate to the ex-superintendent's forced resignation. However, District Judge Orlinda Naranjo said there "clearly was a violation" of the court's temporary injunction, so she will consider the testimony that unfolded over the two-day hearing and announce later next week whether the district itself should be found in contempt. view article arw

A federal judge has declared a mistrial involving five former El Paso school administrators after prosecutors for a third time turned over evidence to defense lawyers well after the trial had already begun. U.S. District Judge David Briones said the defendants will be retried after declaring the mistrial Wednesday, more than two weeks into the proceedings. A prosecutor told Briones that she didn’t believe the latest records that were withheld were germane to the case. view article arw

 In his first public defense of his audits of Beaumont ISD, the former auditor contended his work adhered to professional standards and said he never found any weaknesses in the district's internal controls. On the third day of a hearing to revoke his Certified Public Accountant license, Gayle Botley was questioned for four hours about alleged shortcomings in his audits of the Beaumont ISD during fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012. He was hired to conduct annual audits of the district from 2009 to 2013. view article arw

Calvin Walker, a former Beaumont ISD contract electrician facing criminal charges of fraud and money-laundering in a Jefferson County court, is one of a half-dozen people being sued by Sabine Pass ISD and Jefferson County for delinquent taxes. According to a petition filed in 60th District Court, Walker owes more than $14,400 in back taxes for three acres in Sabine Pass. view article arw

Highlighting the district's lack of internal controls and the alleged shortcomings of a former auditing firm, Beaumont ISD's systems operator testified for more than four hours Tuesday about incidents ranging from a 2013 FBI raid of district offices to how former contract electrician Calvin Walker was paid with Child Nutrition Program funds. Jillian Gohlke's testimony came on day two of a five-day hearing in Austin to determine if Gayle Botley will keep his professional accountant's license. Botley, who reached a $750,000 settlement with BISD last month in a negligence suit, was hired to conduct annual audits of the district from 2009 to 2013. Gohlke testified on Tuesday that no one from Botley's Port Arthur firm requested documents to perform audits following a 2013 FBI raid of Beaumont ISD offices. That raid led to the eventual convictions of former Beaumont ISD chief financial officer Devin McCraney and Sharika Allison, the district's former comptroller. McCraney and Allison, who stole millions from the district, pleaded guilty in April 2014 to federal conspiracy and embezzlement charges. view article arw

Judge Steve Burgess declared a mistrial in a discrimination case against a local school district after one juror wound up in a hospital the day of opening arguments in 158th Judicial District Court. Kenneth Lyons, a former Denton ISD substitute teacher, is suing the district because he believes he was fired for reporting discrimination against African-American employees. A jury of eight women and four men were selected Tuesday and set to hear arguments Wednesday morning. After one woman juror failed to show up to court Wednesday morning without notice, court officials began calling local hospitals, said Randy Stout, an attorney for Denton ISD. Though he wasn't sure what her ailment was, Stout said she was admitted to a local hospital that morning. view article arw

Former Bryan ISD Superintendent Dr. Tommy Wallis appeared in a Travis County courtroom Wednesday in an effort to learn who leaked confidential documents to KBTX and The Eagle. Wallis is wanting the person, or people responsible to be either jailed or fined, and is seeking a monetary award. 419th Civil District Court Judge Orlinda Naranjo approved a request by media attorneys to quash subpoenas for KBTX News Anchor Rusty Surette and The Eagle Editor Kelly Brown. view article arw

After multiple open records requests, a law firm representing the Denison Independent School District released that the district settled a May lawsuit for $500,000. The parents of a special needs student at Denison High School filed a federal lawsuit last year alleging that a Denison High employee manhandled their son while he was a student at the school and that the school had no system in place to protect the child from the employee. In a hearing held in early May, in Federal District Judge Amos Mazzant’s courtroom in Sherman, Meredith Prykryl Walker represented the district along with Denison ISD board of trustee President Randy Sedlacek, while Anthony O’Hanlon represented the Sexton family. Ed Richardson represented the Sextons’ son, who was not named in the suit. view article arw

A lawyer for Bryan ex-superintendent Tommy Wallis is expected to question school administrators and the board president in an Austin courtroom today, just as an unrelated legal battle starts to unfold in his current district of Kirbyville. view article arw

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other proponents of school voucher programs are praising a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said a Lutheran church was wrongly denied a state grant for its preschool playground. But opponents say the ruling is far from an endorsement of the use of public money for religious schools.  The court, by a 7-2 vote, sided with Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri, which had sought a state grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground. view article arw

With its current term ending this week, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a handful of rulings on high-profile cases, including President Donald Trump's executive order barring entry into the U.S. from several predominantly Muslim countries.  The justices will return to a full plate in October. Meanwhile, here are the highlights from today's rulings, and what they mean for Texas. view article arw

After multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, a law firm representing the Denison Independent School District released that the district paid $500,000 to settle a lawsuit back in May. The parents of a special needs student at Denison High School filed a federal lawsuit last year alleging that a Denison High employee manhandled their son while he was a student at the school and that the school had no system in place to protect the child from the employee. view article arw

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that taxpayer-funded grants for playgrounds available to nonprofits under a state program could not be denied to a school run by a church. "The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. By denying a benefit to a church school because of its avowedly religious character, he said, the state is penalizing the free exercise of religions guaranteed by the Constitution. view article arw

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that barring a church-affiliated preschool from receiving a general public benefit violates constitutional protections for the free exercise of religion. The justices ruled, 7–2, that Missouri officials could not use a provision in the state’s constitution that bans state aid to religious organizations to exclude Trinity Lutheran’s preschool from a state grant program that funds the use of recycled tires to make safer playground surfaces. Five of those seven justices clarified that the decision applies only to playground resurfacing.   view article arw

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules next year on a religious refusal case that started in 2012 at a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, its decision could have reverberations in Texas. The court announced Monday that it will take up Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, agreeing to weigh in on whether a baker can legally refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his religious objections to their union. At the heart of the case is the question of religious refusal, an issue that also dominated the Texas Legislature’s most recent session — most notably with House Bill 3859, a new law that allows welfare providers citing “sincerely held religious beliefs” to deny adoptions and other services to LGBT people. view article arw

A Jasper ISD cafeteria worker turned herself in to authorities on felony and misdemeanor charges last week in connection to allegations that she was altering records and making unauthorized transactions. view article arw

Spring Hill ISD is asking the Texas Attorney General if it can withhold an email identifying the person funding a new half-million dollar scoreboard from public release.  The email is one portion of a series of documents requested by the News-Journal under the Texas Public Information Act after the district announced private donations rather than taxpayer dollars would be funding the scoreboard.  The News-Journal requested emails and text messages between Superintendent Steven Snell and members of the Spring Hill ISD Board of Trustees through an open records request. Spring Hill ISD has already released a number of emails and text messages that fell within that request, but it is seeking to withhold one email because the document would identify the scoreboard donor. view article arw

Former superintendent Tommy Wallis is asking a district judge to find the Bryan school district and five of its leaders in contempt of court, arguing they should face jail time and fines following media reports that detail ethical complaints filed against him leading up to his forced resignation last fall. view article arw

A boy is playing in a sandbox on his school’s playground. Suddenly, the ground caves in beneath him and drops him into a rattlesnake den. The child is seriously injured. Worse for him, the child lives in Texas. The boy’s parents contact longtime personal injury lawyer John Kemmerer Ivey of Boerne and ask him to file a lawsuit against the school district. view article arw

All eyes are going to be on this next week. On Monday, June 26, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia will hear the City of San Antonio’s request for a preliminary injunction to block Senate Bill 4, the “sanctuary cities” law, from taking effect on Sept. 1. The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) is representing the City in the lawsuit, along with the following nonprofit organizations: The Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, the Workers Defense Project, and La Unión Del Pueblo Entero. The hearing, which is open to the public, will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse at 655 E. César E. Chavez Blvd. view article arw

The theft case against Clarisa Garcia, who was accused of stealing more than $53,000 from the Alice Coyote Booster Club, was dismissed on Monday, June 19. Alice Coyote Booster Club President Adrain Pena said in exchange for not going to court, Garcia made full restitution in the amount of $53,067.79 to the booster club, resigned as teacher from Alice school district, and will never work in Alice ISD or any other school district in Jim Wells County. view article arw

The Grand Prairie school board has hired an attorney to look into practices involved in the purchase and renovations on a school district-owned home where Superintendent Susan Simpson Hull lives.  Board President Steve Pryor announced the hiring of the attorney — who is from outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area and was not named — at the board's regular meeting Thursday.   The attorney was hired "to be an impartial investigator to determine if any board policies, district procedures or competitive bidding guidelines were not followed," Pryor said at the meeting. view article arw

A federal appeals court has thrown out a $4.5 million judgment against a San Antonio-area school district where a principal was convicted of molesting a student over several years. The principal, Michael Alcoser, was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. His victim then sued the South San Antonio Independent School District under Title IX of federal education law and a trial jury in 2015 decided the district was liable for Alcoser's conduct and awarded the money. view article arw

NBC 5 Investigates has learned The Texas Rangers and the FBI are asking questions about the financial crisis at Dallas County Schools.  The Texas Rangers, an elite state law enforcement agency that investigates public corruption cases, among other things, said they’re reviewing documents turned over by DCS and that there is "currently no additional information available."  DCS confirmed one of the documents provided to the Rangers is a report detailing an internal investigation conducted by a former FBI agent DCS hired to look into whether crimes contributed to the agency's financial crisis. view article arw