In another example of the Texas Legislature taking over classroom instruction, beginning this year the Legislature has told us we must now step down and stop education in order to permit “Patriotic Societies” to have ten minutes to make a presentation to our students. Moreover, this practice should be in place by now. So what does this involve?

A former teacher's aide is charged with improper relationship with a student after police detectives say she became intimately involved with an 18-year-old Texas City High School student. view article arw

This article originally appeared in the Friday, May 18 issue* The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission slapped a paralegal who worked for state Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr. with a $180,000 civil penalty last week for defrauding the La Joya Independent School District. Mario Hinojosa, 58, of Mission created a company called Barcelona Strategies LLC, which he promoted with a misleading brochure. view article arw

According to court records, Barbera Lynn Orpineda, 32, a former Arp ISD employee, was indicted on Wednesday for improper relationship between a student and educator. view article arw

The 17-year-old who allegedly shot and killed 10 people and wounded 13 others at a Texas high school used his father's legally owned shotgun and revolver during the rampage. The Santa Fe school shooting Friday has prompted a lot of debate among state politicians about the causes of the violence, which they attribute to everything from violent video games to the many ways people can get in and out of schools. view article arw

The audit, officials have said, was the impetus of a multiagency fraud investigation that has led to the arrest of seven people, including four Precinct 1 and 2 county tax office employees, since Friday. Twelve other employees were placed on leave Friday by Bruce Elfant, the county’s tax assessor-collector, who said he acted “out of an abundance of caution.” view article arw

I don't believe I have seen an article about SOAH before. - js- When it comes to Texas agencies, the State Office of Administrative Hearings operates in relative obscurity. Ask the average person what the office does, and he or she probably won’t have an answer.  But the office, whose judges preside over disputes involving state agencies, made headlines this year when an administrative judge was forced to resign after presiding over a case involving the Texas Medical Board.  The chief judge who forced that resignation is now taking fire from people, including administrative law experts and her predecessor, who say her actions threaten the agency's independence. But the judge, Lesli Ginn, says she was justified in asking for the judge’s resignation. view article arw

The Navasota ISD Board of Trustees approved a settlement Monday night in the ongoing four-plus year litigation surrounding Rattler Stadium and other Navasota High School facilities. According to Superintendent Dr. Stu Musick, the settlement encompasses flooding that has been occurring in the high school hallway between the band hall, choir hall and the gym. view article arw

A Donna ISD Principal and a Curriculum Specialist are on paid administrative leave Thursday morning in regards to “personnel issue.” We’re told this involves staff from Garza Elementary. At this point, it is unclear as to the exact reasons why the principal and curriculum specialist have been placed on leave. view article arw

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston middle schooler left his phone on in class and it got taken away by a teacher. He never saw it again.   If this phone was off at school, it would never be in this situation.  But that's not the case, and as we investigated we found several curiosities.  It happened inside the Jane Long Academy not long ago. Inside a classroom, student Jonathan Rodriguez's cell phone rang. It's not supposed to be on during class. view article arw

A former Cy-Fair middle school teacher is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a female high school student. According to court documents, Justin Washington is charged with an improper relationship with a student, which is a felony. Washington, 26, was a teacher at Hamilton Middle School when the alleged incident happened in September 2017. view article arw

Texas Targets DACA

May 1708:40 AM

Following last year's ICE raids and the passage of Senate Bill 4, Liam Garcia considered moving away from Texas. The 31-year-old Austinite – brought to this country from Mexico by his parents when he was 2 years old – sees protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivalsprogram. Since 2012, DACA has granted two-year safeguards to undocumented residents, including 120,000 Texans who came to the U.S. with their parents, so that they can work and go to school. Since the Trump administration decided to end the program – a move now partially blocked by a federal judge – Garcia's future has been on pause. view article arw

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged an Edinburg-based company and its owner with defrauding the La Joya school district. Mario Hinojosa of Mission and his company, Barcelona Strategies LLC, were charged by the SEC last week with misrepresenting his financial experience — a breach of fiduciary duty — and failing to disclose a conflict of interest when he served as municipal adviser to the school district between January 2013 and December 2014. During that time, the company served as municipal adviser on three bond offerings — a means for entities to raise funds to finance public projects. As such, Hinojosa earned $386,876.52 in fees. view article arw

The principal at Hillcrest High School in Dallas says he feels “betrayed” by the 25-year-old man who posed as a 17-year-old basketball player. “It’s a painful thing for us to process,” said principal Chris Bayer. “There’s kind of like a grieving process for us. We’re still kind of in the shock phase.” view article arw

My 14-year-old son went to high school with a 25-year-old man posing as a 17-year-old student. Which only sounds like a movie you've seen before. My boy and his buddies at Hillcrest High School, which my dad and brother also attended, knew him as Rashun Sidney Richardson, star of the Dallas ISD school's varsity basketball team — the high-scorer. "By far," said one of my son's friends who played on the team with Rashun. The boys say the district's offensive player of the year was nice enough, well-liked.  Yeah, maybe he seemed a little older than his age. But they just figured he had been held back a time or two. My son and his friends play baseball, besides, and there are guys on the varsity team with thicker beards than I could ever hope to grow. They also didn't think twice about the fact he sometimes cradled a baby girl on the sidelines of ball games, because, you know, it happens. view article arw

A Carthage resident has filed several complaints with the Texas Education Agency, the Department of Justice, the Office for Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming Carthage ISD violated several laws. Among Leo Graves’ complaints, he says the district fails to follow its own policies and the state’s policies for disciplining students of different races. “Just as it did in the past, CISD still is struggling with race and employment issues,” Graves said in a statement. He said white students and black students are treated unequally, citing the arrest and placement in alternative school of three black students earlier this year after officials said they made threats against a campus compared with a white student who was not punished by the district after allegations that he secretly recorded a nude female student. view article arw

You ask whether a school board of trustees may establish term limits for trustees as part of the district's governance policy. 1 You inform us that several bills filed in recent legislative sessions proposed granting school boards the specific authority to adopt term limits for their trustees.2 Because school boards possess broad powers of governance and rulemaking, you ask whether the authority to adopt trustee term limits must be stated specifically in a statute. Request Letter at 1-2.  view article arw

Interesting read! - js - The Broward school district’s repeated, emphatic — and it turns out, false — statements that Nikolas Cruz had not been in a controversial disciplinary program fit a pattern of an institution on the defensive and under siege.  Facing significant legal and political exposure over the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the district has tried to keep information from the public and put out untrue and misleading statements, frustrating parents who say this is the time for maximum transparency. view article arw

In September 2017 Stacy Bailey, an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary School in Arlington, Texas, was placed on paid administrative leave after a parent complained she was pushing her "homosexual agenda" on her students, according to a lawsuit Bailey filed against Mansfield Independent School District this week. According to the lawsuit, Bailey has been with Mansfield ISD for over six years and has never had an issue pertaining to her lifestyle. On August 23, 2017, she introduced herself to her students with a "First Day of School" powerpoint which included a photo of her and her now-wife, Julie Vazquez, in fish costumes from the Disney movie "Finding Nemo," followed by a set of class rules rewards and expectations. view article arw

Hudson ISD's superintendent, Donny Webb, has officially filed a protest with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in response to a nearby restaurant, called "Page'n Cajun", application to sell beer and wine. Webb said he and other school officials are worried that, if the business is granted the license, it could pose a risk to their students. view article arw

The Texas Twilight Zone’

May 1108:30 AM

Repost!  Appeal launches next round in KISD tax suit.  Kilgore ISD has fired the next salvo in an ongoing battle over its local option homestead exemption. In a recent brief to the Sixth District Court of Appeals, KISD attorney Dennis Eichelbaum likens the district to William Shatner’s tormented character in the Twilight Zone episode “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” – the lone passenger who can see an airplane is under assault by “something on the wing.”  According to Eichelbaum’s latest brief in Axberg v. KISD, Judge Vincent Dulweber’s February ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in a tax lawsuit against the school district was wrong in its reading of state law. KISD, he writes, stands by the “grammatical, proper interpretation” of 2015’s Senate Bill 1 that supported trustees’ repeal of the school’s exemption – before voter approval and before the law was applied retroactively. Link to brief.   view article arw

The Hudson ISD Board of Trustees is protesting efforts by the restaurant Page’n Cajun to obtain a beer and wine license due to its close proximity to the school. According to Mariann H. Morelock, director of communications and governmental relations for the TABC, the issue that may potentially rise with this investigation is the decision over where the school premises start in relation to Page’n Cajun.  “The district is concerned about any establishment serving or permitting the consumption of alcoholic beverages in such close proximity to the campus,” Superintendent Donny Webb said. view article arw

Ellis County prosecutors are seeking to try a 16-year-old boy as an adult for a shooting in January at Italy High School that left a 15-year-old girl seriously injured. A certification hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 5 in Ennis. The court denied the teenager’s request for a closed hearing. view article arw

The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees will vote Thursday whether to hire "special outside counsel" to pursue a defamation case in support of Lance Hindt, the district's embattled superintendent, along with other Katy ISD officials and staff. While the agenda item for the Thursday meeting doesn't state the reason for the district's decision to contemplate the legal action, for several weeks the district has been rocked by public allegations that Hindt had bullied a former classmate more than 30 years ago. view article arw

Nearly two months after a citizen accused the Katy ISD superintendent of bullying him when they were in middle school, setting off a controversy that drew nationwide attention, the district’s board will consider whether to hire a lawyer to pursue a legal case in support of Superintendent Lance Hindt. The board on Thursday night plans to meet in closed session, followed by an open session to consider “engaging special counsel to pursue legal action for defamation on behalf of the superintendent, other school officials and/or staff,” according to a meeting notice. The board will also consider an unspecified amendment to Hindt’s contract. view article arw

Authorities in Dallas County captured a registered sex offender that had been on the run since he was caught lying to the Dallas Independent School District says to land a position as a volunteer for a girl's basketball team. The Duncanville Police Department took Roderick Goodson, 43, into custody in the 700 block of Wood Lane on Wednesday morning. Detectives had been watching possible locations of where Goodson may have been hiding. view article arw

MIDLOTHIAN (CBSDFW.COM) – Three students from the Midlothian Independent School District have been disciplined over an online video that shows them using derogatory and racist language.  The district notified its 14,000 parents through email after the video, which officials explained was made off-campus and after school hours, went viral. view article arw

Everyone should take note of this situation. - js - COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) – A College Station ISD school board member is apologizing for notes he scribbled during a heated forum last month.  The notes, written by place three board member Michael Wesson, were written as parents were voicing their frustrations with the high school rezoning process.  Wesson told KBTX reporter Whitney Miller he believed the notes were personal and were never meant to be published. view article arw

 A Mansfield ISD teacher filed a federal discrimination suit against the school district Tuesday. Stacy Bailey is an art teacher for Charlotte Anderson Elementary School. She has remained on paid administrative leave since September, after a parent claimed Bailey discussed her sexual orientation with students. “Ms. Bailey has refused to follow administration’s directions regarding age-appropriate conversations with students,” a school district issued statement said in March. Bailey said she introduced photos of her family to students, including images of her now wife, as part of a sharing day at the start of the school year. view article arw

A Mansfield teacher is suing the school district for discriminating against her because she's gay. The federal lawsuit says the district removed her from teaching elementary school kids in the fall after showing a picture of her future wife. Stacy Bailey's attorney says she wants her job back, but she also wants an apology and for the district treat gays and lesbians with respect and equality. Bailey has spent 10 years with the district employed as an art teacher at Charlotte Anderson Elementary. view article arw

The San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel is suing the San Antonio Independent School District to try to block a contract that transferred an elementary school’s operations to a New York-based charter school network, the Texas State Teachers Association announced Friday. The association said the suit was being filed Friday afternoon in state district court in Bexar County. It had not been received by 5 p.m., said Donna Kay McKinney, Bexar County district clerk. The San Antonio Alliance is a joint local affiliate of the TSTA and the Texas American Federation of Teachers. The union has vehemently fought the SAISD partnership with Democracy Prep since January, when it was first publicly announced as a way to save Stewart Elementary School from closing. view article arw

A former Klein Independent School district employee is no longer with the district after he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. The district said an investigation was launched when it became aware that the employee, who was a wrestling coach at Klein Oak High School, had an inappropriate relationship with a female student. view article arw

An incident in which a Deer Park ISD trustee candidate posed for photos as she stood at a voting booth has led the Texas Secretary of State’s Office to call the district with extra guidance on enforcing election rules.  The candidate, Monique Rodriguez who is running for Position 3 on the school board, posted pictures to her campaign Facebook page on April 23 that showed her and her family inside a polling location at the district office on Texas Avenue during early voting. One photo showed Rodriguez standing at the voting booth facing the camera. view article arw

CARTHAGE, Tx - Carthage ISD's superintendent calls the allegations in a lawsuit against the school district completely false.  A parent claims a football player recorded a nude video of her daughter, shared the video and immediate action wasn't taken by the district.  The superintendent, high school principal and head football coach are also included in the federal lawsuit.  Dr. Glenn Hambrick released this statement:  "A lawsuit was filed against Carthage ISD and several administrative staff members. Because the lawsuit involves students who are minors, we are limited in a response we can make. However, the lawsuit makes many accusations that are completely false. We look forward to clearing the name of the school and the individuals named. This matter has been turned over to the school’s counsel." view article arw

An investigation is underway into whether the Killeen Independent School District discriminated against a special education first-grader, whose mother alleges she missed up to 30 class hours due to bus schedules. The Office for Civil Rights, OCR, of the U.S. Department of Education is opening the allegation of Stephanie Moody, the student's parent, and will investigate whether the district “discriminated against the student on the basis of disability,” KISD confirmed Monday. view article arw