The Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) on Wednesday filed a formal complaint with Marshall ISD, urging the school board to rescind a March 7 letter in which Superintendent Jerry Gibson ordered all teachers and administrators at David Crockett Elementary School to state their “interest in remaining employed” by the school district, a release from TSTA said. The complaint was filed on behalf of several TSTA members on the Crockett faculty and staff. view article arw

City Council reassigned a small portion of Houston's delinquent tax roll Wednesday from the politically-connected tax giant Linebarger to its higher-performing competitor Perdue, even as some council members questioned why Perdue wasn't receiving a larger slice of the pie. Perdue, Brandon, Fielder, Collins & Mott and Greenberg Traurig, which collects on 13 percent of the city's delinquent tax roll, maintained an 81 percent collection rate this fiscal year, according to the city, compared with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson's 43 percent collection rate on the remaining accounts. view article arw

Police made two more arrests on Monday in a hazing scandal involving sexual assault at La Vernia High School. Two students were led out of the high school in handcuffs, which brings the total to nine students that face sexual assault charges after seven students were arrested on March 23. view article arw

Cleburne High football coach Jeff Merket is speaking out about his attempt to resign and a round of student protests about his alleged treatment. Merket made headlines after submitting a searing resignation letter March 8, which prompted hundreds of students to protest this week in support of Merket and other teachers, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reports. view article arw

A million dollars in waste and it could lead to some serious punishments. That's after an external investigation into the purchase of computer software at the Dallas Independent School District. At least two senior level employees have been fired. In all, seven DISD employees have been disciplined. All over an alleged scheme to circumvent the bid process and award a $5-million contract to an out-of-state technology firm. view article arw

School districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said Wednesday in an 8-0 ruling. The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.The case centered on a child with autism and attention deficit disorder whose parents removed him from public school in fifth grade. He went on to make better progress in a private school. His parents argued that the individualized education plan provided by the public school was inadequate, and they sued to compel the school district to pay his private school tuition. view article arw

A federal appeals court in New Orleans will be asked to reconsider its ruling allowing student-led prayer at school board meetings. On Monday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in a Texas case that such prayers don't run afoul of the prohibition against government-established religion. The American Humanist Association, a plaintiff in the case, disagreed. Monica Miller, a lawyer with the group said in an interview Wednesday that a request for a hearing by the full 15-member court will be filed in the next two weeks. view article arw

Jurors in the case of a former Hebron 9th grade campus student who is suing the Lewisville ISD for Title IX violations started deliberating Tuesday afternoon and expect to be back at on Wednesday morning. The case is going on in the Chase Bank building in Sherman with Judge Ron Clark presiding. view article arw

Jurors in a federal case against Lewisville ISD determined Wednesday that the district did not retaliate against a ninth-grader who accused two football players of raping her at an off-campus party in 2012. The young woman and her family accused the district of violating the federal Title IX law by favoring the accused football players over her. She also alleged that Hebron 9th Grade Center didn't do enough to address the bullying and cyberbullying she said she endured at school after the alleged sexual assault. view article arw

A jury ruled in favor of Lewisville ISD regarding a civil trial filed on behalf of a former student. On Wednesday, the jury announced its verdict closing out the civil case that began March 13. The lawsuit alleged that LISD officials knew of numerous sexual assaults and harassments regarding its students and failed to promptly and adequately investigate the claims. It also alleges that the school violated the Title IX rules by retaliating against her for filing sexual assault and bullying complaints. Title IX is a federal law that protects students from sex-based discrimination. At the time of the alleged sexual assaults, the girl was a 14-year-old student at Hebron 9th Grade Center. view article arw

 A Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led public prayers without running afoul of the Constitution's prohibition against government-established religion, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District. The suit was filed by the American Humanist Association and a graduate of Birdville High School. view article arw

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that school districts must go the extra mile to accommodate students with disabilities in a unanimous decision that could dramatically expand the rights of special education students.  All eight justices sided with the Colorado student in the case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in one of the most significant special education cases in decades. Endrew was diagnosed with autism and his parents feel his public school and individualized education program had failed him. They sought reimbursement for the cost of sending him to private school. view article arw

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that school districts must go the extra mile to accommodate students with disabilities in a unanimous decision that could dramatically expand the rights of special education students.  All eight justices sided with the Colorado student in the case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, in one of the most significant special education cases in decades. Endrew was diagnosed with autism and his parents feel his public school and individualized education program had failed him. They sought reimbursement for the cost of sending him to private school. view article arw

A close reading of the Constitution and the independent writings of Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams lay down two distinct possibilities regarding whether public facilities should be set aside as places for prayer and religious invocation: Either the concept of church-state separation should stand and no religious activities permitted — or else such venues must be open and available to those of all religious faiths. view article arw

A Lockhart High School science teacher has been arrested for having an improper relationship with a 17-year-old male student. Sarah Fowlkes started at the district in October 2014. On March 10, 2017 a school administrator reached out to Lockhart Police after receiving a "concerning report." LPD launched an investigation and determined Fowlkes was engaged in sexual contact with the student. view article arw

Frisco ISD responded tersely on Friday to the Texas attorney general's concerns about the legality of a prayer room at Frisco's Liberty High School that is often -- but not solely -- used by Muslim students.  Frisco ISD learned of the AG's concerns on Friday from the media about the same time a news release was sent from the AG's office along with a copy of a letter addressed to district Superintendent Jeremy Lyon. The letter from Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie states that "it appears that students are being treated differently based on their religious beliefs," which would violate the First Amendment. view article arw

DALLAS - The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote a letter to Frisco ISD Friday expressing concern over a “prayer room” in one of the district’s schools.  Liberty High School has an empty classroom where students can pray during the school day. Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie’s letter to Frisco ISD’s superintendent questioned the legality of the prayer room, saying the room is dedicated to Islamic students and excludes other religions.  “Liberty High School’s policy should be neutral toward religion,” the letter reads. “However, it appears that students are being treated different based on their religious beliefs. Such a practice, of course, is irreconcilable with our nation’s enduring commitment to religious liberty.” view article arw

Every day at lunch, a handful of teenagers in Frisco, Tex., would pop into room C112, face a whiteboard and kneel for one of their five daily prayers. It was just a spare classroom, used for everything from teachers’ grading to Buddhist meditation, school officials say. But Muslims at Liberty High seemed to like it. “Takes like five minutes, instead of having to leave school, get in a car and go to my parents,” junior Sarah Qureshi told the school news site early this month. “This is the seventh year we’ve been doing this, and we’ve never had one issue,” school principal Scott Warstler said. Last week, however, top state officials learned about the room — and suddenly Liberty High had a big issue indeed. view article arw

A young woman who has alleged she was raped by members of the Hebron (Texas) football team at a 2012 party and then neglected by the school district has fired back in a new lawsuit, claiming that members of Lewisville Independent School District — Hebron’s parent district — ‘kicked me under the rug, didn’t care what happened to me.’ The allegations from the unnamed young woman came in the course of testimony heard Thursday which alleged a group of Hebron football players raped a then 14-year-old girl in 2012, then was bullied by both other students and retaliated against by officials at the school when she reported the alleged crime. view article arw

A deputy attorney general in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office says a Frisco school's prayer room may violate the First Amendment's protection of religious liberty. In a letter to Jeremy Lyon, superintendent of the Frisco Independent School District, Deputy Attorney General Andrew Leonie urged neutrality toward all religions in response to complaints that Liberty High School's prayer room excluded non-Muslim students. "It appears that students are being treated different based on their religious beliefs," said the letter. "Such a practice, of course, is irreconcilable with our nation's enduring commitment to religious liberty." Leonie encouraged the environment of free religious practice, but warned against favoring one religion over another. view article arw

A 19-year-old woman testified on Thursday that she lost respect for herself and felt worthless because of the “relentless” bullying she endured after accusing two football players of sexually assaulting her at a party in 2012. She was 14 and a student at Hebron 9th Grade Center when she attended the off-campus party. She said she had been drinking and alleges that her drink was spiked with a drug. view article arw

A high school student’s allegation that two football players sexually assaulted her at an off-campus party in 2012 went uninvestigated by school officials for several months, her ex-principal testified on Wednesday. And when the girl’s parents told a school counselor she was being bullied and called derogatory names at school, that allegation was never investigated, said Mark Dalton, who used to be the Hebron 9th Grade Center’s principal. view article arw

The 19-year-old girl at the heart of the case against Lewisville Independent School District for violating Title IX testified Thursday. The case is going on in federal courtroom at the Chase Bank Building in Sherman with Judge Ron Clark presiding. The girl's parents filed the federal suit while she was still a minor, but she has since taken over the case on her own. The suit alleges that the school violated Title IX by retaliating against the girl for filing the sexual assault and bullying complaints. Title IX law prohibits institutions that receive federal funding from discriminating against anyone based on gender. The Herald Democrat is not naming the girl involved because alleged victims of sexual assault are generally not named in coverage. view article arw

A new sexual assault case at Southwestern University in Georgetown is being investigated by the Office of Civil Rights. The Title IX investigation into campus sexual violence was launched on March 13. This is the second investigation since the first one launched in February of 2016. The Office of Civil Rights does not discuss details of its investigations. But in an email from the SU president to students last year, Edward Burger wrote, “The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education asked Southwestern to provide some information regarding Southwestern’s handling of a certain case of sexual misconduct from a previous year, and its policies for handling sexual misconduct allegations as required nu Title IX of the Education Amendments of 197.”  view article arw

 A high school student’s allegation that two football players sexually assaulted her at an off-campus party in 2012 went uninvestigated by school officials for several months, her ex-principal testified on Wednesday. And when the girl’s parents told a school counselor she was being bullied and called derogatory names at school, that allegation was never investigated, said Mark Dalton, who used to be the Hebron 9th Grade Center’s principal.The young woman, who was 14 at the time, has sued Lewisville Independent School District in federal court, accusing the district of retaliating against her after her parents reported the alleged attacks to Hebron officials. view article arw

The plaintiffs continued building their case Tuesday in the instance of a student at Lewisville ISD who is suing the school for Title IX violations. The girl was 14 years old when she said she went to a high school party and got sexually assaulted by two high school football players at Hebron, a school in the Lewisville district. view article arw

Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated on the basis of race when they drew redistricting maps in 2011, according to a long-delayed federal ruling delivered last Friday night. That could eventually force the state to redraw the districts for the 36 members of its congressional delegation. Three districts of those districts are invalid, the judges found, and reworking them could have ripple effects for the districts around them. But that business about “intentional discrimination” could turn out to be much more significant: The courts could order the state to get federal government permission for any future changes to its voting and election laws. view article arw

Before yesterday's House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee hearing on Chairman Joe Moody's HB 81, which would reduce penalties for low levels of marijuana to a civil penalty, Grits commented to a friend that the over/under for how many people would testify against it IMO was probably 1.5. "Under" won. Only one person spoke against the bill last night, Ector County DA Bobby Bland (not to be confused with the late, great blues singer of the same name, who would certainly have favored the measure). Consider that: No police chiefs testified against. The Sheriff's Association laid off the bill. So did the Texas Probation Association and all its members. No anti-drug advocates were against it. No neighborhood associations. No mayors or city council members. No county commissioners. No teachers, or doctors, or mental health advocates. No judges. view article arw

Hebron High School’s head football coach spent the first day of spring break in federal court Monday, explaining why he didn’t discipline two players who were accused of sexually assaulting a classmate at an off-campus party in 2012. Coach Brian Brazil said that he had heard rumors about an assault but that he didn’t take any action because school administrators told him they were dealing with the investigation. The Lewisville Independent School District is defending the way it handled the case in a lawsuit filed by the young woman who said she was assaulted. Her suit claims that the school district violated Title IX, a federal law protecting students from sex-based discrimination, and retaliated against her after she reported the alleged sex assault to Hebron High’s administrators.  view article arw

A jury will weigh this week whether Lewisville ISD dropped the ball while investigating a student’s allegation that two Hebron High School football players sexually assaulted her at an off-campus party in 2012 when she was a freshman. The young woman, now 19, was 14 at the time of the alleged attack. She has accused the school district of retaliating against her after her parents reported the alleged assault to Hebron administrators. view article arw

A teacher’s assistant who is also a football coach at an Oak Cliff-area high school was arrested Saturday, accused of having an improper relationship with a female student. Mickey Paul Jones, 38, was arrested at 4:30 a.m. and booked into the Lew Sterrett jail, Dallas police said. Mickey Paul Jones, 38.  Jones remained in jail Sunday evening with bail set at $50,000.  view article arw

The Texas Education Agency on Wednesday launched a special accreditation investigation into the San Antonio School for Inquiry and Creativity, the same day it suspended operations at the local charter school district. Commissioner of Education Mike Morath authorized the investigation in response to a referral by the TEA's Fingerprinting Audit Unit and an initial review by the agency's Special Investigations Unit, according to a letter sent to SASIC's superintendent and president of the board of trustees. Investigators will look into the same allegations that caused SASIC to be suspended: possible lack of compliance with state requirements governing the criminal history of employees and protection of the health, safety and welfare of students. view article arw

 On March 9, the Port Arthur Independent School District had its motion for judgment nunc pro tunc denied by a district judge, shutting down the district’s attempt to revert a judgment in a discrimination suit. The case stems from a suit brought by Ingrid Shores, a white woman who sued PAISD for discrimination on Dec. 23, 2014 in Jefferson County District Court. The case was called up for trial on Dec. 12. On Dec. 19, a jury found race was not a motivating factor when PAISD opted not to renew the white teacher’s employment contract. The next day, the trial court signed off on a final judgment accepting the jury’s findings, court records show. view article arw

An employee of Frenship Independent School District resigned after what officials called "inappropriate communication" between the employee and a student. District officials said administration was notified of the allegations on Friday, March 3. A statement from Frenship ISD said the employee was questioned that day and submitted a resignation letter later that afternoon. view article arw

The Somerville ISD school board has terminated the contract of a teacher arrested February 22. School leaders made the move at Wednesday night's meeting. Mike Vela was charged with online solicitation of a minor and sexual assault of a child. Investigators said the charges stem from an "extensive investigation" where a teenage boy made allegations of inappropriate and unlawful conduct with Vela. view article arw