Preventive Law: Vexing Sexting

August 0108:31 AM
 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently ordered Facebook to pay $5 billion in fines due to violating the privacy rights of its users, but the FTC is not the only entity dealing with digital criminal activity. As the phenomenon of teen sexting continues to grow, school districts must be ready to address the fallout when it enters the schoolhouse.

In 1987, the Austin ISD school board voted to end crosstown busing for elementary students. The decision created 16 elementary schools made up almost entirely of minority students. “Now, when I look at the schools that are under-enrolled and low performing, they tend to be those same schools,” said Roxanne Evans, who reported on education for the Austin American-Statesman in the 1980s. view article arw

The attorney representing Karla Garcia, Dallas ISD’s District 4 trustee, called the case against her a “big nothing-burger.” But I’m going to tell you about it anyway, because her opponent in the June runoff tried, and failed, to get a judge to remove her from office. Her challenger, Camile White, used the question of Garcia’s residency that trailed the race as a way to get her bumped from her seat as the district’s elected trustee for Pleasant Grove. A judge yesterday dismissed the case, saying White basically missed the boat: these were allegations that should’ve been brought to the court prior to the election. White alleged that Garcia had not returned to Texas from college in North Carolina within the 12 months required to run for local office. view article arw

The lawsuit is being filed by John Doe I on behalf of John Doe II, a minor and former student at HISD who “was sexually assaulted by a fellow student during his freshman year,” according to the lawsuit provided by the Fort Worth personal injury attorney Hutchison & Stoy.  HISD Superintendent David Flowers said he had no comment because neither himself, the HISD board president, the district’s attorneys nor its insurance company had been sent any documentation regarding the suit.  On Jan. 31, Flowers said a student came forward on Jan. 24 with accusations that high school baseball players had sexually abused him as part of an initiation. The District Attorney’s office, Texas Rangers and other law enforcement began an investigation. view article arw

A Woodrow Wilson High School graduate filed a lawsuit this week against the Dallas Independent School District asking for a public declaration that he was the salutatorian of his graduating class.  view article arw

A Richardson teacher who was under investigation for exploitation of a child was found dead. Garland Police have not released details surrounding the death 45-year old Robert Howard Temple whose body was found Tuesday. Temple taught at J.J. Pearce High School and was allegedly involved in a relationship with a student at another school. view article arw

A FORMER executive of Dallas County's school bus system has become the latest figure to be sentenced as part of a multimillion dollar bribery scandal. Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn on Wednesday sentenced former Dallas County Schools Superintendent Rick Sorrells to seven years in prison for accepting millions in bribes. view article arw

DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Federal Judge Barbara Lynn has sentenced former Dallas County School Superintendent Rick Sorrells to seven years in federal prison for bribery and kickback in a corruption case that cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. view article arw

Rick Sorrells has a doctorate and was a minister, the judge noted. He made a good living as a public servant, heading up an agency that provided school buses to Dallas students.  Despite his opportunities in life, Sorrells succumbed to the allure of something better: fancy cars, expensive jewelry and lavish trips. And it took more than $3 million in bribes to make it happen, prosecutors said.  "You just sold out the public for your own financial benefit," U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said Wednesday during his sentencing hearing.  The judge gave Sorrells, 73, seven years in federal prison for a bribery scheme that led to the spectacular demise of the school transportation agency known as Dallas County Schools. Sorrells, the agency's former superintendent, took the illicit payments from the owner of a Louisiana camera company. In exchange, Bob Leonard's company received $70 million in contracts to provide surveillance cameras for the agency's school buses. view article arw

Two local school districts held a press conference to discuss new school safety legislation proposed by Congressman Roger Williams. Williams' bill, the School Violence Prevention and Mitigation Act of 2019, would establish federal grant programs for public schools to identify security risks and fix them. view article arw

A Dallas federal judge had harsh words for former Dallas County Schools superintendent Rick Sorrells when she sentenced him to seven years in prison for taking $3 million in bribes in a scandal that bankrupted the taxpayer-supported entity he was hired to serve. view article arw

A former student has filed a lawsuit against Dallas ISD after he lost his status as his high school's salutatorian a day before graduation due to a last minute change in rankings. view article arw

Rick Sorrells' sentencing will take place at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse in downtown Dallas. NBC 5 Investigates will be blogging live from the courthouse. The live blog below will automatically refresh every two minutes.  Rick Sorrells, the disgraced former superintendent of Dallas County Schools, will be sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for his role in the corruption scandal that destroyed the 172-year-old school bus agency in November 2017. view article arw

A former student has filed a lawsuit against Dallas ISD after he lost his status as his high school’s salutatorian a day before graduation due to a last minute change in rankings. In June, the district apologized after class rankings at Woodrow Wilson High School were changed right before graduation because of a calculation error. Now a former student is suing Dallas ISD, claiming that the change will affect his applications to universities and employers. view article arw

The former Corsicana ISD teacher indicted on multiple charges of indecency with a child was released from jail Tuesday after posting $276,000 bond, according to the Navarro County District Attorney's Office. Ramon Santuario-Mendoza, who was fired in May from his position at Corsicana ISD's Sam Houston Elementary School, faces seven charges in Navarro County, the district attorney's office said. view article arw

AG Opinion Request

August 0608:40 AM
 

Re: Voting entitlement of a taxing unit in the election of an appraisal district's board of directors under Tax Code section 6.03 view article arw

A memo obtained by The Texas Tribune instructs DPS officers to cite and release suspects in misdemeanor marijuana cases "as appropriate." Officials said the goal is to continue enforcement even though some prosecutors aren't taking new pot cases.  Texas’ largest law enforcement agency is moving away from arresting people for low-level marijuana offenses. It’s the latest development in the chaos that has surrounded pot prosecution after state lawmakers legalized hemp this year. view article arw

Months before Texas district attorneys started dropping or delaying low-level marijuana cases, state lawmakers were told that a well-liked bill to legalize hempwas going to complicate pot prosecutions. The warnings fell flat. In early April, members of the Texas House Agriculture and Livestock Committee sat through two hours of testimony supporting a bill to legalize and regulate hemp and its derivatives, like CBD oil. Most of the discussion focused on farming and regulatory procedures. Near the end of the hearing, though, the Texas Department of Public Safety’s crime lab director, Brady Mills, was brought up to the microphone to address any law enforcement concerns the legislators may have overlooked. view article arw

Parents and staff with the Greenville Independent School District received a letter from Superintendent Demetrus Liggins Monday afternoon, explaining what action the district intends to take in response to a lawsuit filed by two parents against the district about a month ago. In the complaint, the parents alleged that some members of GISD staff had “failed to protect their child from repeated sexual abuse by another student.” view article arw

A hearing has been set in the appeal case of Georgia N. Clark, the Carter-Riverside teacher whose Twitter posts against immigrant students sparked a backlash and prompted the Fort Worth school board to recommend that she be fired. view article arw

An Ector County ISD Board of Trustees closed session on the proposed non-renewal of a contract for former longtime principal Linda Voss was canceled to allow the parties to explore a possible settlement, Mike Atkins, the attorney for the school district, said in an email. Her attorney representing her on the education side is Nick Enoch. He could not be reached for comment Friday. view article arw

The Edcouch-Elsa school district Wednesday addressed the auction of computers with sensitive information, anticipating action such as reprimanding and possibly terminating those involved in the sale. Computers with sensitive information, including social security numbers, addresses, vaccination records and other personal data, were sold at the April 6 auction. view article arw

The Copperas Cove Independent School District is warning others of a group asking businesses to sponsor fake booster club shirts. view article arw

Roughly 9 million children — nearly 1 in 5 public school students in the U.S. — attend schools that are racially isolated and receive far less money than schools just a few miles away. That's according to a sweeping new review of the nation's most divisive school district borders from EdBuild, a nonprofit that investigates school funding inequities. "Inequality is endemic" in America's public schools, the report says, identifying nearly 1,000 school district borders where schools on one side receive at least 10% less money per student than schools on the other side and where the racial makeup of the two sides' students varies by 25 percentage points or more. It is the story of segregation, in 2019. view article arw

Robert Leonard, the businessman at the center of the Dallas County Schools scandal has reported to federal prison. Federal Bureau of Prisons records show Leonard is now in custody at the Federal Correctional Institution at Oakdale, Lousisiana. view article arw

After a yearslong fight over Texas’ political maps, a panel of federal judges on Wednesday denied the requests of voters of color, civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers to put Texas back under federal supervision of its redistricting. Although they noted "grave concerns" about Texas' past conduct, the judges who have overseen the long-winding case against the state ruled that the drastic intervention was not warranted despite previously ruling that state lawmakers discriminated against voters of color when they first drew up new maps in 2011. view article arw

A federal judge here sentenced two more defendants involved in several “rips” of other drug traffickers during home invasions and carjackings, according to a news release issued Tuesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez on Tuesday sentenced Mission residents Miguel Marin Cerda, 31, and Alfredo Avalos-Sanchez, 27, to 130 months and 87 months in federal prison, respectively, for their roles in a March 2017 carjacking and a home invasion in June of that year, according to records. view article arw

The Latest on Gavin Grimm's federal challenge of his former high school's transgender bathroom policy (all times local): Attorneys have finished arguments in federal court over whether a Virginia school board's bathroom policy discriminates against transgender students. view article arw

Recent court filings in the petition to remove Daniel J. Garcia from the Rio Grande City school board provide new details about the case, including who might be called to testify. Gocha Ramirez, Garcia’s attorney, filed subpoenas for six individuals that, if signed by the judge, would compel them to appear in court to potentially be called upon as witnesses. view article arw

At Central Texas News Now, part of our promise to you is that we pursue the truth in all stories, especially our investigations. In an investigative story that aired May 16, we made you aware of Connally ISD's hiring of John Simpson , an educator who was once investigated by the FBI for inappropriate behavior with a student. He was also suspended by the Texas Education Agency. Simpson was accused of locking another teacher in a book room and masturbating in front of her in 2018. view article arw

A law legalizing hemp changed the definition of marijuana, causing district attorneys across the state to drop low-level possession cases and stop accepting new ones. Weeks after Texas prosecutors began dropping hundreds of marijuana cases and stopped actively pursuing criminal charges because of complications that arose from legalizing hemp, the state's leaders have stepped into the fray. view article arw

A bond has been set for an 18-year-old accused in the murder of Olney ISD teacher Manuela Allen. Julius Mullins of Olney was arrested and as of Tuesday evening, his bond was set for $500,000. "There are no words to describe this," said Dr. Greg Roach, the Olney ISD Superintendent. view article arw

A hearing on the petition to remove Rio Grande City school board Trustee Daniel J. Garcia is now scheduled for Friday, according to court documents. Visiting state District Judge David Stith initially ordered Garcia to appear in court July 5, but that hearing was rescheduled for later this week. It is unclear why the hearing was reset. view article arw

A Catholic family is warning a school district in Texas it may ramp up its religious freedom lawsuit against the district if administrators don't settle the case by Aug. 12. Pedro and Belen Gonzales sued the Mathis Independent School District in May 2018 after it banned their sons, Cesar and Diego, from participating in extracurricular activities for having long hair — a violation of the district’s grooming code. view article arw

BEAUMONT – More than two years ago, The Ferguson Law Firm obtained a temporary restraining order to preserve evidence surrounding the death of Dennis Reeves, the Kirbyville High School principal.  On Aug. 31, 2017, the Ninth Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal brought by the Kirbyville CISD at the request of the Reeves family, court records show.  The family argued the appeal, which the district initiated after its plea to the jurisdiction was denied, was moot because they had non-suited all their claims in the trial court. view article arw