WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s been 30 years since former President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law.  It was the United States’ first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities.  Local advocates said the nation has come a long way, but there’s still room for improvement. view article arw

Texas Bar Foundation honors Neal W. Adams with statewide recognition  Neal W. Adams of Grapevine – photo Neal W. Adams – is the recipient of the 2020 Dan Rugeley Price Memorial Award from the Texas Bar Foundation. The Dan Rugeley Price Memorial Award was established by friends and family and endowed through the Texas Bar Foundation in June 1996 in memory of Austin lawyer Dan Price who died in 1994.  Adams earned a BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M University in 1968, and a Juris Doctor in 1970 from Baylor University School of Law. He served in the United States Army as trial counsel for Headquarters Command, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. view article arw

A former Carroll ISD volleyball coach has been accused of sexually assaulting a child more than 20 years ago. Anthony Clark, 45, faces three charges of sexual assault of a child, Grapevine police said Monday. Each charge involves the same victim, who was 15 during the alleged offenses. Police said the victim came forward in January and accused Clark of assaulting them between 1999 and 2000. view article arw

Gatesville ISD said that law enforcement officials have arrested a custodian for possession of "lewd visual material depicting a child." Police said that the material was on a personal device at the custodian's home. view article arw

A former employee of the Rio Grande City school district filed a federal lawsuit against three school board trustees alleging his termination from the district was political retaliation.  Ricardo “Rick” Lopez, a former truancy officer with the school district, filed the lawsuit earlier on Tuesday against board trustees Daniel J. Garcia, Eleazar Velasquez and Daria “Dr. B.” Babineaux, claiming a violation of his rights to freedom of expression and due process. view article arw

FBI agents are actively investigating the Houston Independent School District's administrative offices, the school district confirmed in a statement.  At least a dozen agents were seen at the Houston ISD administrative building Thursday morning carrying out white boxes and a black trunk, according to the Houston Chronicle. There were at least six unmarked FBI vehicles parked near the building.  There’s been no word as to what FBI agents are looking for, but the district is “fully cooperating,” according to a written release sent by the school district. view article arw

A lot of people are unhappy about changes to the Fort Worth Independent School’s school zone boundaries. Some of the most vocal opponents of the new zones are parents who have children attending South Hills Elementary School. view article arw

Dallas ISD is suing a 7-year-old former student in federal court over the right to test him for autism over his parents’ objections. The Texas Education Agency has weighed in twice, both time siding with the boy’s parents. Now the district is appealing in federal court, arguing federal law requires them to test the boy for all suspected disabilities. view article arw

Agents with the FBI and IRS spent hours Thursday searching the administrative offices of the Houston Independent School District and the Cypress-area house of its chief operating officer, but they remained tight-lipped about what they were seeking.  At least a dozen federal agents made their way in and out of HISD’s Hattie Mae White building on 4400 West 18th Street Thursday morning, at one point carrying several boxes and containers to vehicles parked nearby.  The bureau called the search a “court authorized law enforcement activity,” but did not elaborate.  The district issued a statement saying it was fully cooperating with the FBI, adding there was no danger to students or staff.  Federal agents also were at a Cypress-area home listed in county property tax records as the residence of HISD Chief Operating Officer Brian Busby and his wife, HISD Officer of Special Populations Courtney Busby. Security refused to allow news media inside the gated neighborhood.  (02/28) view article arw

Officers with the Hudson ISD Police Department arrested a former math teacher for the school district on Monday in connection to allegations that he had an improper relationship with a high school student that included sexual contact. view article arw

On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) officially filed a grievance against the Wimberley Independent School District, according to our partners at the Austin-American Statesman. The grievance is the result of an email Superintendent Dwain York sent to some parents in December 2019 regarding the altering of the district's logo to include the colors of the gay pride flag, according to the Statesman. view article arw

In the last year, the Texas Legislature and court system made several important changes to how school districts must manage their school resource officers. Furthermore, these changes also impact and limit the way school resource officers may engage with students with disabilities.

On September 1, 2019, Texas House Bill 2840 relating to the public’s ability to address open meetings of Texas governmental bodies, including public school districts, went into effect as codified at Section 551.007 of the Texas Government Code. The Bill is intended to provide the public with additional input into decisions made by school districts and other governmental bodies, but has also created considerable confusion as to what is required under the law, what is permissible, and what school districts can do to balance the interests of the public against the district’s interest in effective government and protection of employee and faculty rights.

Texas Senate Bill 944, which went into effect on September 1, 2019, amends Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code (the Code) by clarifying the requirements for preservation and production of public information on the personal electronic devices of governmental officers and employees. The question is whether and to what extent the law has actually been changed. While the primary tenet embodied by Senate Bill 944—the requirement to preserve public information and foster governmental transparency—has not been significantly altered, the real-world processes for both school district employees and the district itself have undergone a meaningful change.

Whenever rumors of sexual harassment start to circulate, open records requests are sure to follow. The best way to control the narrative is to always create an adequate summary of any sexual harassment investigation as soon as the investigation is concluded.

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

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.

Nonrenewal “season” ended last month. That is the season that poorer performing employees are asked if they prefer to resign or be proposed for nonrenewal, and when probationary contract teachers are given a similar option, whether to resign or be terminated effective the end of the school year. Invariably most employees prefer not to have a termination or proposal for nonrenewal on their records and choose to resign.

Not my words, but also not wrong words. This is an article about hiring design professionals—not about competitive bidding. In fact, as indicated by the title it is about some of the legal and practical reasons that Competitive Bidding for design professionals is almost universally shunned in the United States. Astronaut John Glenn once joked about how he felt before his 1962 trip aboard Friendship 7:

Terry Burchett, 69, was arrested in South Carolina on February 18 on charges of child pornography. He was found to be in possession of over 9,800 sexually explicit images of children according to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. view article arw

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Irving ISD and the city of Irving by Ahmed Mohamed's family, according to Dallas Morning News. Ahmed made headlines when he was 14 years old and made a clock in school that was mistaken for a bomb in 2015. His family stated that his civil rights were violated when he was arrested at MacArthur High School and charged with making a "hoax bomb." The charge was later dropped, but he was still suspended. 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

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

When Deron Harrington filed a lawsuit on behalf of three parents in May 2015, he was trying to make sure the district where his kids attended school was following student truancy laws. He had a hunch that wasn't the case. At the time, Fort Bend ISD was making headlines for referring thousands of students to the county's specialized truancy court. Data showed a disproportionate number of the district's students referred to truancy court were African-American. As a lawyer, Harrington thought he could make a difference. view article arw

On March 11, 2016, the Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, requested an opinion from the Texas Attorney General on the implementation of SB 507. This new law requires video surveillance of certain special education settings upon request beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. In an earlier blog post, I outlined the provisions of SB 507. view article arw

More than two months after a tornado hit Shields Elementary School in northern Ellis County on Dec. 26, Red Oak ISD confirmed Thursday that the original builder of the school, Ratcliff Constructors, has agreed to pay for the repairs. Fox 4's Lori Brown began investigating concerns about the quality of construction at the school  in Glenn Heights after an exterior wall collapsed in the tornado. view article arw

When Gene and Shirene McIntyre met with an attendance officer in the El Paso Independent School District in November 2006, their nine grandchildren had already been homeschooled for more than a year. But they were concerned the kids weren’t getting a proper education. view article arw

Harrison County District Attorney Coke Solomon says there is a criminal investigation involving a Hallsville High School coach on administrative leave who recently resigned. Solomon said his office forwarded a request for information about Dean McDaniel to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office for an opinion on whether to withhold the information because he believes releasing it could interfere with the investigation. view article arw

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD (C-FB ISD) Board of Trustees on Thursday  approved a settlement agreement with Guillermo Ramos and Brewer Storefront in relation to a voting rights lawsuit. The board approved the settlement agreement by a 5-2 vote. Board members Frank Shor, Nancy Watten, Nancy Cline, James Goode and John Mathews vote in approval. view article arw

For nearly 15 years, the Arlington Independent School District has been searching for the right project to fill a piece of land it owns in the 3200 block of Pioneer Parkway. When voters approved a bond package in 2014, officials said they finally found a good one. "We want to make this a successful district facility that serves both the community and the students well," said Leslie Johnston, spokesperson for Arlington ISD. view article arw

Two gunmen were killed Sunday night in Garland after opening fire on a security officer outside a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of Prophet Muhammad, and a bomb squad was called in to search their vehicle as a precaution, authorities said. Police were using robotic detection equipment to search the vehicle. No device has been found so far. view article arw

On April 6, 2015, the Shallowater ISD administration was informed by the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department that it had completed its investigation into an incident that occurred between an employee of the district and a student during an athletic period on March 31, 2015, and that it was closing the matter without recommending any further action by law enforcement.  view article arw

The Waco Independent School District board of trustees is in discussions with Bartlett Cocke General Contracts over leaking pipes causing damage under University High School’s gymnasium showers. The board has met in closed sessions several times since October to determine whether Bartlett or a plumbing subcontractor, MJ Mechanical Inc., is responsible for the problems. view article arw

A teenager says a substitute teacher with the  Conroe Independent School District groped her in class. The alleged victim's mother tells Local 2 she wants the school to take a tougher stance. The family says there may be more victims out there who are afraid to come forward and that's why they want Oak Ridge High School to notify other parents about what happened to the girl. view article arw

Allen ISD school  board members received a progress report Monday night on the Eagle Stadium repairs. More brick has been added to the scoreboard to create a staircase-like structural support  system. Inside the stadium, crews are breaking out the bricks to allow for the installation  of horizontal steel beams.  Cracks in the concourse were first spotted shortly after the stadium opened in August of 2012. view article arw