Child Abuse - Failure to Protect

by Mike C
(Austin, Texas, USA)

During the 2010 school year at the high school my granddaughter goes to, a teacher was engaged in sexual misconduct in the classroom. He took pictures of female athletes in compromising positions, engaged in inappropriate comments about female students breasts, did a power point presentation using internet web sites like 'Salad Fingers' on a large screen, put on slide-show presentations of pictures he had taken of female students, and finally engaged in physical touching of a female student's bottom. None of this misbehavior had anything to do with the subject of science he was supposed to be teaching.

I prepared a written complaint based on Title IX, The Education Act Amendment of 1972, to be presented to the principal of the high school. He rejected it immediately and stated it was not filed within ten days of the incident as required by the district's policy handbook. He was informed this was an attempt to get action taken against the teacher before we went to court and Title IX superseded the policy handbook.

While he rejected the written complaint off-hand, he did not hesitate one moment to immediately go to the superintendent of schools and inform him they were going to be sued. It was at this time the principal of the high school revealed the touching incident and that it involved a coach's daughter, and the coach was threatening to do bodily harm to the teacher if something was not done.

Now is where things start to unravel. The teacher was allowed to resign, the resignation was never brought before the school board, and the superintendent never reported the incidents to the Texas Education Agency, Child Protective Services, or the local police department as required by law in Texas. I was told, "He no longer works here- end of matter".

Well, it was not the end for me. I filed a complaint with the Texas Education Agency alleging misconduct on both the teacher and the superintendent and began to attend every board meeting since June 28, 2010. I initiated another complaint against the superintendent for official misconduct for using public funds for personal use.

What was the outcome you ask? TEA set aside the complaint against the superintendent, reprimanded the teacher, and is still in the process of conducting an audit on the official misconduct.

Child Protective Services still knows nothing about the teacher misconduct.

The local police department began an investigation and ran into a stone wall when trying to get statements of misconduct from employees who knew of specific or general misconduct. I was told the police investigators know there is criminal action to be taken, but they can't get the co-oporation to support the allegations.

At the last board meeting, during public comments I admonished the board for not doing a thing to get to the bottom of the issues surrounding the problem. I reminded them their agenda that night had an audit from school district auditors which validated my allegations of misuse of public funds. I debunked one of the superintendent's lies about no longer being under investigation he was going to tell during his report agenda item. But the real heart breaker came after a two hour closed session on his evaluation and request for a contract renewal.

The board, without discussion, extended his contract for one year.

What kind of message does the school board send to students, parents, law abiding staff, and taxpayers? Our education system at local levels is corrupt. It doesn't care about issues that could cause them political problems.

What kind of signal did TEA send the people of Texas? The fox who guards the fox, who is preying on the baby chicks will cover-up, or minimize, such misconduct because of such lame excuses such as, "As an investigator for TEA I have over 100 cases on my desk- it takes time", is what I was told. I told the investigator I only had one and that if he wasn't willing to do his job-quit. TEA avoids punishing their own.

As for local law enforcement, in this case, they were stone-walled once it got to the point of being serious.

I am not going to stop just because the powers that be have their heads in the sand hoping it will just go away. But I am running out of places to go to get a fair, lawful, resolution. I will take the issue to the Attorney General, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Office of Civil Rights, or the courts if necessary. But no person who cares about the safety of our children should have to run through a rat maze of local, state, federal agencies, or courts to protect our kids. I wonder if our domestic enemies are more real than our foreign ones.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coachNote from Darlene: If I have not left a comment on your story, please understand that it is not personal; it's just that my hectic schedule no longer permits me to do so.

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