Claycomb Associates, Architects

The court ruled a Washington state coach was praying as a private citizen when he knelt after a game on the field, not as an employee of the district.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a Washington state football coach’s post-game prayer on the 50-yard line was protected by the First Amendment, a decision that sets a precedent for more protections for school employees who engage in public displays of religion.  Currently, Texas public school students are allowed to practice their religion at school. Some schools offer meeting rooms for students and teachers to discuss their faith. What Texas public school leaders cannot do is lead their classes in prayer, force or compel students to participate in a religious activity or prohibit students from privately practicing their own religion.    (30) view article arw

When it comes to advising clients on construction-related matters, there are few things I hate more than having to tell a superintendent that they must stop in their tracks and put the project on a temporary hold because of legal requirements that may not have been considered prior to our telephone call. [WAIT: Before you start to tell yourself that this particular article might not apply to the project you are planning because it is “not construction,” bear in mind that I used the term “construction-related” for a reason]. Ironically, it is the smaller projects that prove to be the most problematic. The point of this article is not to list every single requirement that you will have to comply with when procuring and completing a small project. Rather, it is to show you one concrete step you can take to mitigate some of the delays that can arise and make the project go more smoothly.

Makayla Martin and Samantha Brothers are two former City View students who have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment under a former City View teacher Bob Morris. Morris died of a single gunshot wound at his home Monday night; officials have not confirmed if the death was a suicide. “We were best friends and to know that this was going on at the same time and we both could tell. Because we knew that each other were hurting but we never knew why and we were too afraid to tell each other,” Makayla Martin, former City View student said. view article arw

A City View ISD employee has been found dead following public allegations of misconduct. Bobby Morris was found dead on his property with a single gunshot wound at around 7 p.m. Monday, according to law enforcement. Officials would not confirm if it was suicide, citing the ongoing investigation. The death comes after allegations were made on social media over the weekend accusing Morris of misconduct. News Channel 6 spoke with three former students on Monday, all of whom alleged inappropriate behavior. The story is being withheld for the time being in light of this incident. view article arw

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to permit a high school football coach to pray on the field after games is expected to reopen a vigorous and probably tense debate among parents, educators and others over how far religion can enter public school grounds, California education and legal experts said Monday. Conservatives and some Christian leaders praised the court’s action, saying it allowed for the personal religious expression of the coach and those who voluntarily followed him, a reasonable accommodation to religious and free speech rights. But civil libertarians and many educators said allowing a coach or any other school authority figure to lead a prayer amounted to the kind of establishment of religion that the Constitution forbids. “The court has opened the door to prayer in schools more than at any time in the last 60 years,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law expert and dean of the law school at UC Berkeley. “There will be much litigation. And it is not at all clear where the court will draw the line.” view article arw

Texas abortion providers are making a last-ditch effort to temporarily resume procedures by challenging a pre-Roe v. Wade abortion ban that has not been enforced for nearly a half-century, but that some abortion opponents argue could be enforced after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to an abortion. The providers filed a lawsuit on Monday, and a Harris County judge will hear arguments on Tuesday for implementing a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the old ban, which criminalized both performing abortions and assisting anyone who performs abortions in Texas. view article arw

AUSTIN / WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – Two people from the Waco area are among the winners of the 2022 Barbara Jordan Media Award. Dr. John C. Bullion and Pam Humphrey, of Waco’s ESC Region #12, have won in the “Podcast” category with their episode “Loving Students Doesn`t Lower Expectations” from “SPEDTalk with Pam & John”. According to the podcast’s Spotify page, Pam’s work in Special Education throughout the past 38 years has been integral in statewide efforts regarding Inclusive Practices and Transition Services. Throughout Dr. Bullion’s 20+ year career in education, he has prioritized moving from a compliance-based educational system to one which embraces every child in support of improving student outcomes. view article arw

SAN ANTONIO — On Friday morning, a nurse at Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services in San Antonio ushered a patient into an exam room. She gave her a gown, told her the doctor would be in shortly and stepped back out of the room into a changed world. “I saw the other nurses standing in the hallway,” said Jenny, a nurse who has been with the clinic for five years and asked to be identified only by her first name for fear of being targeted by anti-abortion protesters. “And I just knew.” In the few minutes she’d been inside the exam room, the U.S. Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for Texas to fully ban the procedure she had just prepped a patient for. Jenny and four other staff members stood in the hallway, paralyzed. They had a dozen patients sitting in the lobby awaiting abortions, all seemingly unaware of the seismic shift that had just rocked the reproductive health care world. view article arw

District attorneys and local leaders in five counties have promised not to pursue criminal charges related to the state’s new abortion laws. But civil and administrative fines could be financially devastating or cost health care providers their licenses.  Some local Texas officials are taking steps to guarantee that abortion seekers and providers in their communities won’t face criminal charges in the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade, but legal experts say these initiatives are unlikely to meaningfully change the landscape of abortion access in the state.  Since Friday’s ruling, the state’s abortion clinics have stopped performing the procedure. Abortion funds, which help pay for procedures out of state, have halted their work fearing legal repercussions.  Texas lawmakers passed a law last year that would ban abortions, with narrow exceptions, if the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The law criminalizes the person who performs the abortion, not the person who undergoes the procedure.  The law will go into effect 30 days after a formal judgment from the court; however, Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an advisory on Friday indicating that prosecutors could bring abortion-related charges immediately under the state’s pre-Roe statutes.    (27) view article arw

Conroe ISD could begin pulling books off of classroom and library shelves while the district reviews complaints about the materials if the school board approves the new policy next month. At the CISD board’s regular meeting Tuesday night, after an hour-long executive session, the trustees continued the discussion with a draft of the revised policy, which was made available to the public in the meeting board book. Revisions were made to policy regarding instructional materials, which are used to teach the “essential knowledge and skills of a subject in the public school curriculum,” according to the board book, and to library materials, which are materials that supplement the state curriculum and are self-selected by students. view article arw

A temporary restraining order that prevented the Edcouch-Elsa ISD board from taking action on Superintendent Greg Rodriguez’s contract last week was dissolved Wednesday. The board is scheduled to meet and possibly take action on Rodriguez’s contract Wednesday evening. The restraining order was put in place after two of the district’s trustees — Juan J. Ybarra and Fernando Torres — took legal action alleging the district was failing to follow the Texas Open Meetings Act and that the board had previously agreed on certain conditions being met before taking action on Rodriguez’s contract. Ybarra and Torres say those conditions include completing a climate survey of all personnel on the superintendent’s performance and waiting until the district received state testing scores. Neither of those conditions have been met, they argue. A letter from the two trustees’ attorney filed with the court Tuesday afternoon says they are no longer seeking a temporary injunction against the school district. The letter does note, however, that they intend to continue their lawsuit. view article arw

Some Round Rock parents, taxpayers, and former residents are pushing to have a school board member removed from office. The move comes after several months of tumultuous meetings erupting in shouting, arguments, and even the arrests of some attendees. view article arw

An employee with the Mercedes Independent School District who was arrested last month on a charge of inappropriate relationship between educator and student is accused of reaching out to his victim. Frank Fuentes, 53, was arrested and charged Monday with violation of a protective order, according to Mercedes police Sgt. Frank Sanchez. view article arw

A temporary restraining order application filed Wednesday by two Edcouch-Elsa ISD school board members alleges the district was not complying with the Texas Open Meetings Act and delayed the board from taking action on Superintendent Greg Rodriguez’s contract. They’re requesting that no action be taken on the contract until the school district conducts a climate survey of personnel on Rodriguez’s performance. A hearing on the restraining order is scheduled for Wednesday morning. If it’s lifted, trustees could take action on Rodriguez’s contract that evening. On Monday, Rodriguez said that neither he nor the district had a comment on the trustee’s claims. In their petition for the restraining order, trustees Juan J. Ybarra and Fernando Torres say the agenda for last Wednesday was too vague. Two items on that agenda related to Rodriguez’s contract: a closed session item reading, “Discussion on Superintendent’s contract” and an open session item reading “Discussion and action on Superintendent’s contract.” view article arw

Pawnee is a small town with fewer than 200 people, a few churches, and just one school, located in Bee County. It's a family-oriented community, but one filled with division, according to local residents. The heart of the community — the Pawnee Independent School District — was a gathering place for community organizations, and children had use of the school playground during off-hours. view article arw

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals in 2021 – the highest number since ALA began its tracking 30 years ago. “Reading is foundational — it helps us dream, helps us create, and helps us access opportunity,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “Whether you’re a kid in rural West Virginia, in the suburbs of Texas, or in a shelter in New York City, opening a book means you’re opening the world. But reading is hard without books. “Book bans are about limiting kids’ freedom to read and teachers’ freedom to teach,” Weingarten continued. “Parents agree — they want their children to learn the lessons of the past in an age-appropriate way, even as certain politicians try to turn classrooms into cultural battlefields and censor what gets taught. The majority of these bans target titles with racial and LGBTQ themes, cruelly erasing young readers’ lived experience.” view article arw

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The University Interscholastic League Legislative Council met Tuesday to make decisions on proposed rule changes in UIL academics, athletics, music and policy. The Legislative Council decided to do nothing when it came to adding a shot clock to the high school basketball games. The Legislative Council also decided to do nothing when it came to moving soccer to the fall, meaning it will stay in the spring for now. The council did reject the proposal to prevent freshmen from competing on varsity for any sport. The Legislative Council approved an amendment to the reclassification and realignment policy as it relates to the conference placement of UIL member charter schools. The language will allow UIL staff the option to place charter schools as much as one conference above the conference for which their enrollment qualifies. view article arw

The lawsuit cites findings from a ProPublica and Texas Tribune investigation that showed a small border town issued far more tickets for violations of stay-at-home orders in April 2020 than two major cities combined.  Police in a Texas border town used stay-at-home orders in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to unlawfully stop and arrest a high school senior driving to his mother’s house, according to a civil rights lawsuit that has its first hearing this week.  Socrates Shawn, then 18, was commuting between his divorced parents’ homes when he was pulled over in April 2020 by a police officer in Progreso, a town of about 4,800 residents in the Rio Grande Valley  Attorneys with the Texas Civil Rights Project, who are representing Shawn, allege that the police officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop him and lacked probable cause to arrest him under the Fourth and 14th amendments.    (16) view article arw

ROUND ROCK, Texas — The University Interscholastic League Legislative Council met Tuesday to make decisions on proposed rule changes in UIL academics, athletics, music and policy. The Legislative Council decided to do nothing when it came to adding a shot clock to the high school basketball games. The Legislative Council also decided to do nothing when it came to moving soccer to the fall, meaning it will stay in the spring for now. The council did reject the proposal to prevent freshmen from competing on varsity for any sport. The Legislative Council approved an amendment to the reclassification and realignment policy as it relates to the conference placement of UIL member charter schools. The language will allow UIL staff the option to place charter schools as much as one conference above the conference for which their enrollment qualifies. view article arw

A former Dripping Springs Middle School coach arrested last month following accusations of improper relationships with students now faces several charges of possession of child pornography. According to Hays County Sheriff's Office documents, the new charges were brought against 30-year-old Kevin James McLean in the early hours of Monday morning. view article arw

The city of Uvalde is trying to avoid handing over records on the Texas school district’s embattled police chief and the botched police response to the shooting massacre — despite multiple requests from The Post and various other media outlets. view article arw

A Donna ISD elementary music teacher was arrested by district police Thursday and charged with injury to a child, elderly or disabled individual. Records show Raymon R. Correa, 32, was released from the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on Friday on a $1,000 bond. Asked for comment, a district spokesperson said in instances that involve district employees, the administration is prohibited by district policy from disclosing details. view article arw

Ricardo Castellano, a Socorro Independent School District trustee, is under investigation by the Texas Rangers for allegations of official oppression, according to an investigation report. Castellano’s wife, Gabriela, is also under investigation for allegations of stalking, according to the report, which the Texas Department of Public Safety released to El Paso Matters via an open records request. The Texas Rangers are the investigative arm of the DPS. view article arw

Trustees with the Mercedes Independent School District voted Thursday to place district superintendent Carolyn Mendiola on paid administrative leave. The decision is effective immediately. The board of trustees voted on Mendiola’s leave after she was arrested last week on a charge of interference with public duties. view article arw

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday that the Department of Justice’s investigation into the law enforcement response to the elementary school shooting in Uvalde won’t be criminal in nature. Garland described the federal investigation as a “critical incident review,” which was done after other mass shootings such as in San Bernardino, California, and Orlando, Florida. The review will assess the law enforcement response and “give guidance for the future,” Garland said. The department will then produce a public report, which will include the investigation’s findings and recommendations. view article arw

Belton ISD Superintendent Matt Smith is a firm believer that appropriate measures were taken to inform stakeholders about the district’s $173.8 million bond package prior to the May 7 special election — a message he voiced after a group of parents accused Belton ISD of electioneering. These stakeholders insist that the district violated Section 255.003 (a) of the Texas Election Code by using school resources to advocate for a position in its multi-proposition bond package. However, state agencies — including the Texas Education Agency — contacted about the matter said no complaints had been filed that would have caused an investigation to be opened. Some Belton ISD residents are concerned about the district’s bond information efforts after a Twitter post highlighted an email by Smith. view article arw

A Cigarroa High School student has been arrested for assaulting a Laredo ISD police officer while the cop and security guards attempted to break up a fight, authorities said. The Laredo ISD police officer responded to a fight reported at about 2:40 p.m. Feb. 17 in the J500 Hallway of Cigarroa High School. Students were gathered in a circle shouting profanities at each other while security guards tried to stop the verbal argument from escalating. view article arw

Everyone in town is waiting to hear from Pete Arredondo. As chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department, it was his call to wait more than an hour for backup instead of ordering officers on scene to immediately charge the shooter who killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. The chief of the state police later said this was the “wrong decision, period.” view article arw

U.S. District Judge Janis Jack said Monday she plans to levy “substantial fines” against Texas for failing to comply with her orders to fix its troubled foster care system. Jack said she’d announce at a later time a contempt hearing with a jury to consider sanctions. The state has already been sanctioned twice for violating the judge’s orders. “I’m looking at substantial fines for contempt enough that you need to know you’re entitled to a jury trial,” Jack said. “I think the public would like to know in a jury trial about these goings-on.” view article arw

The Mercedes Police Department has arrested the Mercedes Independent School District superintendent for interfering with public duties. “We just felt that enough was enough and the arrest warrant had to happen,” said Sergeant Frank Sanchez, at the Mercedes police department. view article arw

The nearly $174-million dollar bond that just passed last month for Belton ISD is being called into question. A group of parents in the Belton community, who opposed the bonds, are saying officials in the district violated Texas election code and used school resources to advocate for a position in the most recent bond election. Brenda Howard, a Belton resident who opposed the bonds strongly saying the district needed to address issues of overcrowding in south Belton, says the foul play must be investigated. view article arw

Law enforcement officials in Uvalde have asked the media to leave the school district headquarters or they will be criminally charged with trespassing, according to a video posted on social media. The 19-second video, shared by CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz on Wednesday, shows four law enforcement officers standing in the parking lot of the Uvalde Consolidated School District Headquarters. view article arw

The Texas Department of Public Safety says it's having trouble setting up a follow-up conversation with Pete Arredondo, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police department, about the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School. Arredondo has disputed this characterization, telling a reporter that he has been in regular contact with DPS. view article arw

PERRIN – Perrin-Whitt CISD lost its appeal with the Texas Association of Tax Assessors, which will force the district to be creative with its funding for next year’s budget. PWCISD Superintendent Cliff Gilmore told board members the district had been fighting a battle with local district appraisal values in Jack County for years, PWCISD officials believing the local valuation was coming in way too low as the difference between state and local valuations was something to the tune of $40 million. That affected the amount of money the state gave them as well. The district hired tax attorneys Brandon, Fielders, Collins, Mott and Perdue for an appeal and lost. “We were told that houses in the area were selling at state valuation not local valuation, which is the reason we lost,” Gilmore explained. Gilmore said the district’s still to be used ESSER money will be used for payroll this summer. Gilmore said the district not using all of its 2022 budget will also help meet budget. view article arw

A Mercedes ISD teacher was arrested on Wednesday for injuring a child. Maria Luisa Espino, 48, was arrested on a charge of injury to a disabled child, a state jail felony, according to a release from Mercedes PD. Authorities told ValleyCentral that Espino is a teacher at Mercedes High School and that the incident occurred during school hours. view article arw