School Board Meeting Public Forum Comments and Responses
Joshua ISD and the JISD Board of Trustees have received questions from community members during the public forum portion of board meetings concerning various topics. By law, board members cannot discuss non-agenda issues during a meeting. In our continuing effort for transparency and accountability, we are posting questions and answers for everyone in the community. Please note that some of the questions contain statements that are inaccurate.
- 2023-24 School Year
- 2022-23 School Year (January 2023 to July 2023)
- 2022-23 School Year (December 2022)
- 2022-23 School Year (August 2022 to November 2022)
Greg Cooper (12/18/2023)
Good evening board and thanks again for serving. Um, I wanted to come to you guys today and thank you personally and on behalf of a large amount of Johnson County residents, JISD-footprint residents for um you guys leading the way with your vote for the central appraisal district board of directors. Um, it was very outside the box this year in how you guys were asked to allocate your votes. It was not normal and it takes a big leap of faith to trust, um, anything outside of the box and outside our comfort zone. I want to appreciate you guys for taking the time, effort and energy to do that and to allow the citizens to, um, communicate with you so you guys could exercise and and your votes the way that you did. It's much appreciated. Um, I think you guys were were one of the the first, if not the first, district to do that and to not try to straddle the ground and go with the old tradition way. And for those that don’t know, for the first time the citizens actually got involved with this process and we really hope that this leads to a much more transparent, um, way for the central appraisal district board of directors to communicate with citizens on behalf of this overall process, um, so everybody’s a lot more comfortable with the way property taxes are are assessed. So, there’s a lot less confusion, and, um, disgruntledness. And hopefully they’ll do their part now in doing outreach and communication, but you guys did yours. You guys deserve to be recognized for that and I personally thank you and I know a lot of others do on behalf of that. So, thank you very much.
Thank you for comments.
Julianna Gelderloos (10/16/2023)
Um, first I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to y’all for promoting a strong work ethic, respect and caring for others. Sadly, this has become a rarity in our state and nation. My family’s in the process of moving and while house hunting it was important for us to stay in J, JISD. Repeatedly we noticed the same house specs, in the same town, yet a different school system yields a higher price for JISD, every time. As much as it hurts my pocketbook, and it doesn’t like this so much, this speaks volumes for the quality staff and programs at JISD and y’all should be proud of this.
I became aware of JISD’s support program last year. Though it is receiving increasing promotion this year. This program encourages laziness at a minimum. I’m surprised and disappointed to see this promoted as it seems to run what’s counterintuitive to this program, to this um school district. The program I’m referring to is S-E-L, social emotional learning. S-E-L boasts an effective way to help students manage their emotions. S-E-L assesses their emotional temperature by repeatedly asking students personal questions and intervening per protocol. Bottom line of this question is “Do you feel like participating in school today?” My understanding is there is a classroom at Plum Creek where students can go eat snacks and play games if they don’t feel up to completing schoolwork that day. I have a friend whose daughter ended up in that classroom several times. Um, how does this benefit the student? And imagine the staffing shortage if this program was implemented for adults. Rather than support our students, S-E-L is the first step of the liberal agenda to destroy our children. S-E-L leads to D-E-I, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. D-E-I encourages children to identify and then wield power from their accumulated victimhoods. The natural progression from D-E-I is transgender our children. Maybe you wouldn’t be so sad if you changed your gender. Does this sound farfetched? I have personally witnessed several students’ lives be destroyed by this agenda, at our previous school. This is also an epidemic throughout our nation. No one questions that our children face a very difficult world to navigate, yet, not all student program, not all student support programs are helpful. I implore you not to tear down an excellent scho- school system y’all have worked hard to build. Thank you.
The program I’m referring to is S-E-L, social emotional learning. S-E-L boasts an effective way to help students manage their emotions. S-E-L assesses their emotional temperature by repeatedly asking students personal questions and intervening per protocol.
The counselors in Joshua ISD engage their students in guidance lessons of positive character traits, as outlined in Texas Education Code. The JISD Counseling Program Guide's Character Education page explains the education code, links the code, shares our character education plan along with resources we use to teach those traits.
Furthermore, the program guide also has a Texas Model Program Curriculum page that explains how we use the Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Program's curriculum guide. It also explains what we use in regard to outside resources, which we shared at each campus's curriculum night this Fall in keeping with HB 1605.
We sent out the PASS Survey Information Letter for Parents & Guardians in conjunction with curriculum night explaining the PASS survey & linking the opt out form.
PASS, in their 9 Factors Explained document, says that their survey exists to understand why children are "reluctant learners, why they are underachieving or why they are disengaged". I am linking a copy of the PASS 3-12 Survey Questions for reference. All of the questions are school based, meaning that we are measuring where we need to remove learning barriers at school.
Based on the survey data, campuses set goals to improve student's attitudes toward schools. I am going to share a couple of generic goals as examples of how our counselors, teachers & administrators are using this data to improve student learning:
By the end of the 23-24 school year, students in grade 3 will show growth in feelings about school from 23.6 (Fall Administration) to 33.6 (Spring Administration).
By the end of the 23-24 school year, girls will increase their self-regard as a learner from 47.5 (Fall 23) to 55 (Spring 24).
After campuses have written goals, they build intervention strategies like:
Targeted character lessons for populations that are low in measured areas
Creation of small groups of skill-building for skills that increase self-efficacy
Intentional time in class (morning meeting, huddle, etc.) for teachers to build relationships with students
Targeted RtI groups focusing on building skills that increase perceived learning capability, general work ethic, preparedness for learning, etc.
Empowering students by giving them tasks & leadership opportunities in class or on campus to increase self-efficacy (safety monitors, class ambassadors, etc.)
Promotion of student organizations on campus to increase student participation
This is just a sampling of possibilities campuses are employing so far this year. We will survey again in January & continue to refine and improve how we intervene to remove our students' barriers to learning.
My understanding is there is a classroom at Plum Creek where students can go eat snacks and play games if they don’t feel up to completing schoolwork that day. I have a friend whose daughter ended up in that classroom several times. Um, how does this benefit the student?
Plum Creek Elementary school does not have a classroom for students to go and eat snacks and play games when they struggle with completing their work. However, we do have a couple of students who find it challenging to remain in a regular classroom for the entire class period, so we supply an alternative classroom for them to complete work in. They stay in their classes for all classroom instruction but can complete their work in our Owl's Nest, which offers a quiet environment for work completion. This is something they do not have to use, but it is available should they feel they need it. Snacks and games are not part of this choice; its purpose is to supply a calm/quiet place for work completion.
We also have students who receive instruction on social skills as part of their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP). By teaching social skills we help these students feel more successful in functioning day to day in a school setting. Occasionally, these social skills times align with their classroom snack times so they can bring their own snack to eat during the scheduled social skills time.
S-E-L is the first step of the liberal agenda to destroy our children. S-E-L leads to D-E-I, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. D-E-I encourages children to identify and then wield power from their accumulated victim hoods.
Joshua ISD works to implement character education programs for all students. We do not do any DEI or trans guidance. This falls outside of what the state outlines in Texas Education Code and the Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Program and is not something Joshua ISD will do.
Kimberly Williams (10/16/2023)
My name’s Kimberly and I have three children, two of which attend Caddo Grove Elementary. They are in second and fifth grade. We moved here from Washington state in May of 2021 and we knew our children would experience some level of culture shock in society here in Texas and what it did not anticipate was them experiencing it at school. There are many rules and guidelines in our district that are perpetuating gender stereotypes and forcing our children to stifle their individuality, in order to adhere to these outdated rules. The rules I am referring to fall under the grooming and dress codes. They can be considered not only gender-biased but biased to race and religion as well. These include rules that explicitly state that one gender can do or wear something and the other cannot. My second grader went to school a few weeks ago with his nails painted. I prepared him for what other kids might say and he decided that he was confident enough in his decision that he wanted to go to school with his fingernails painted. On the first day he came home and said that a child teased him about what he had on his fingers, but that he was okay and wanted to keep them. The second day I got a call from his teacher. She asked me to speak with him on the phone and I was met with tears. My child was pleading to me “Mommy, I miss you and I just want to come home.” I later found out that there were other kids bothering him. I let his teacher know and she went to the administration. They were unfortunately bound by these rules and required to tell my child that he was in the wrong. They were so kind to him and they handled the bullying but in that moment my child, the victim of bullying, was defeated. I’m sure we’re all aware of the dressing and grooming codes, but did you know there are federal laws against this? They say that dress codes cannot treat boys and girls differently and that they should not only be gender-neutral on paper but equally enforced amongst all students. Only July 7th, 2022, 17 civil rights groups and youth organizations sent letters to every superintendent in the state of Texas. They urged the districts to rewrite their dressing grooming codes to eliminate the gender, race and religion discrimination. These letters talked about the harm done to our students with these rules, how they’re unlawful and unconstitutional. Children all over Texas have been harshly disciplined for growing out their hair, painting their nails or, in other words, expressing their culture, beliefs or individuality. One definition of bullying in JISD policy is an act that infringes on the rights of a victim at school. So these rules are not only unfair, unlawful, they’re contradictory to other written policy. Our children deserve a kind and welcoming environment where their individuality is celebrated instead of punished. Thank you.
The District’s Dress Code exists to teach grooming and hygiene, instill discipline, prevent disruption, and avoid safety hazards. See FNCA (LOCAL), Joshua ISD Student Handbook Appendix IV: Joshua ISD Dress and Grooming Code. As stated in FNCA(LOCAL), students must be dressed and groomed in a manner that is clean and neat and that does not, in the principal’s judgment, cause disruption of or interference with normal school operations. Further, Joshua ISD’s Elementary Grooming Dress Code specifically states that “[n]ail polish may be worn by females only.” Courts have routinely held that gendered dress code provisions such as hair-length regulations that apply to boys but not to girls do not manifest such an affront to students' constitutional rights to merit judicial intervention. Barber v. Colorado Indep. Sch. Dist., 901 S.W.2d 447 (Tex. 1995); Bastrop Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Toungate, 958 S.W.2d 365 (Tex. 1997). Plainly stated, a male elementary student wearing nail polish violates JISD’s Elementary Grooming Dress Code.
Stephanie Duncan (4/17/2023)
Um, First I wanna say, thank you board for everything that you do for us. I do appreciate the cost that you pay to be in your position but tonight when I originally thought about what I was going to talk about I thought it was just the sheer number of testing which is what your packet shows. Um, on our third grade and higher students, they will see between 28 and 34 state and district-level test every year. So, this year that ratio was 1 test for every 5 instructional days. Um, plus at least 4 more testing, uh, teacher test, every 6 weeks. Um, but today when I realized that I was setting this up I realized this was more about time and people more than tests. Um, this brings anxiety when we’re constantly testing, we have depression from scores not being high enough. It creates exhaustion for just to do a little bit better. And I see a direct link today that these numbers are connected with our discipline and our community uneasiness. When we feel unheard or unvalued there becomes a level of desperation to do whatever possible to change the situation. From parents to teachers to kids people grab at whatever straw they believe will make a difference. So tonight, you are my straw. I am begging you to give us more of our class time back. To put love into our days, time that I can see a kid for who they are not what score they bring to the table. Time that I can instill a love for learning in my kids. Or time or a love of a subject. If we enjoy something our success with naturally go up. It’s a win, win because its love that drives a teacher into education in the first place. What’s scary is to truly look at what the absence of love is, it is hate. When we don’t have time for love, then we hate wha, what we set in, hate will set in. Hate for testing, hate for learning, hate for teachers, hate for schools, and we are still are at a pivo, pivotal point of desperation where we can make a change. The last time I stood before this board I begged our community to get into our schools but since I have realized, there’s no time to invite them in. Unless we give up one of our valuable 5 days of learning. As a district, we a God-given stewardship of these kids to help guide their minds and mold their character. Where else in life will they be asked to take 34 tests in a year? This part of the mold is broken. To achieve our district mission of making a lifelong learner we have to be more about the learning. And I truly believe that our discipline, the destruction that we see, bullying and etc. will begin to change. If you look at the bottom of your page, I have 3 proposed testing changes that are there for you. Um, but tonight, I really just desperately and hopefully, respectfully plead for you to give us a little more class time back. Let’s create a model of educational excellency that’s based in love so the rest of Texas will follow suit. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for sharing information on testing in Joshua ISD at the board meeting. We will look into the information you presented for consideration down the road.
Stephanie Ducan (2/27/2023)
Good Evening, my name is Stephanie Duncan and I am the mother of 2 inner district transfer JISD students and my daughter attends Loflin. We have chosen Loflin over our home campus because of its diversity, the good and the not-so-good. As a mom, I wish to protect my kids from the ugly of the world but I know it’s there. My daughter has been called names and we have dealt with many tears and I have shared with her my own middle school scars to remind her she is more than the sum of someone else’s words and it’s what we do with our pain that set us apart such as fighting for changes to be made to policy and procedures. However, tonight I am here to plead with our community to reevaluate how we are trying to fix what we, what some view as broken. Our JISD teachers, administrators, superintendent, both new and former, and our school board are not the source of the evil we wish to destroy. The media comments that indicate our staffs see blatant malice daily and turn a blind eye to it on our campus are simply false. I know them to be false because I have the honor and privilege of being able to walk these halls of Loflin as a teacher and coach. I know evil lurks and we fight it but evil likes to hide in the shadows. It is not an excuse but its logistics, however a public opinion assault is underway on the very people who sacrifice daily for our kids in ways most do not understand. Word daggers are not just hurtful to middle schools but also cut deep in adults. Our administratoring, our administrators and board are bombarded by hateful,character-shattering comments, and I’ve seen them on days after when they’ve been beaten down by these assaults yet they still show up and fight for our kids rather than give up and take another path that would be easier on them. If our community is declaring that our school system is broke, we cannot expect to bash it on social media for it to fix itself. How to completely destr, that is how we completely destroy it. To mend anything that is broken it takes time and a great deal of effort to be invested to make it work as it should. I ask you who wins if we mend it or who who wins if we destroy it. Then decide which side you’re going to be on. Are you going to repair or you going to destroy? My call into action for our community is to step up. Please change your time investment. We need you to get off social media and get into the walls of our school. Come build relationships with our students and share your stories face-to-face with them. Show them they are seen and heard. Become the action we all wish to see. Come experience the beautiful uniqueness of Loflin instead of only hearing of its endeavors through media outlets. Next year Loflin is projected to have nearly 900 students. There is absolutely no way our staff can do all of it alone while dodging the firing media bullets. If the fight remains solely on the educators, this war will be lost on evil. Our school system will be destroyed and our next generation will be left to suffer alone because evil has not been defeated. But together as a community we can take back our reputation, we can breathe back life, and honor (time) into every student. Thank you!
Thank you for comments.
Stephanie Arredondo (2/27/2023)
Hello all. As always, thank you for your time and commitment. As you know, there is a audio of a TEA commissioner telling a parent about sticking it to Joshua ISD. Yes, that parent is me. Did we meet with a speechwriter, no? The governor’s office also called us directly and invited us to be his special guest for his speech to highlight our families’ issues with Joshua ISD. We didn’t do that either. While the TEA commissioner and the governor’s office saw our family ideal to push for school choice, they failed to realize that our families come from humble beginnings that relied heavily upon free public education. We felt used by them to further their efforts. We’d also like it to be known that we never gave permission for that audio to be distributed. We shared it with a small group of individuals to ask for their feedback and now here we are. Again, we feel used by them to further their efforts. It has never been our intention to say, have someone fired, publicly shamed or to be judged. We only seek accountability, transparency, equality, and fairness. Today, we are asking for your grace for Mr. Lecholop for his approach and shortcomings. We ask for your grace to families engaged for their approach and shortcomings. We ask that you give us the same, just as our family and many community members have given you and JISD grace with your approach and shortcomings. We all have them. We must remember that we are all children of God long before we are labeled as students, parents, teachers, administrators, board members, advocates, and elected officials. We should all give grace to one another and treat one another as children of God first instead of the labels that we are assigned. We pray for us to all apologize for our shortcomings, to be slow to speak, quick to listen and forgive and not to judge. We pray you seek others perspectives. We pray that you say, seek only how God wants you to be used individually as part of His plan. Personally, we have lost close relationships and struggled to make new ones as part of His work for us, which has been incredibly hard. We have felt alone in the fight for our children, we lost sight that we were never alone. We were relying on a very broken system and desperate to find help to fix it all at once. We’re reminded of God’s promise, He is with us and, as long as our eyes are on Him we will not all fail. Right now is the most opportune time to us, for us to act. All of us together, we have national attention from the TEA, political members, even law enforcement, pastors, community leaders, parents, taxpayers, and national parent/teacher advocate groups ready to act. We all want the same thing for our children and teachers to be loved and valued. For our district to be good, fair, transparent and accountable, and supportive. While we have the attention of so many, let’s prove what an effective relationship partnership is. That partnerships stops, starts with the district administration and this board. Thank you.
Thank you for your comments. The district administration believes in partnership and welcomes this.
Charles Hudgens (2/27/2023)
If y’all don’t mind, I got a handout for all of you.
All right, good evening, I am here tonight to pose a little change in Joshua ISD. When I say change, I talking about something Joshua ISD has never had before. Um, a friend of mine has been posting a lot of stuff on FB lately about her boys being in tournaments. Tournaments, when I say tournaments, I’m not talking basketball or baseball like you’d think. I’m talking E-sports tournaments. And uh, I know everybody in here has something to do with the kids, so you’ve all heard of Rocket League and especially Fortnite. Those are the uh those are the 2 main games that has to do with E-sports tournaments. Uh, E-sports, believe it or not, is part of the future, and uh it’s actually being considered to be part of the Olympics in the future. Uh, E-sports tournaments there, there a huge spectacle though. They consist of lights, smoke, announcers, and big screens and they have tournaments. To have tournaments you first need to have the kids involved. To have the kid involved, theres are a couple of ways you can do this. You can either have an afterschool club or you can build this, some schools are actually building this into their curriculum. Now let it be known I’m not here tonight asking for anything, I’m simply being a farmer and plant’en a seed. OK, I know y’all are right in the middle of budget, so next year, I don’t expect anything to happen till next year. The year after that, though, I’m gonna be harping on y’all a little bit more. Um, one way, I said the school, you could do the afterschool club or you can do the build-in the curriculum. From what I gathered when I researched, the, the, putting in the curriculum would be the better way. If you got clubs some kids have the chance, to, you know, the interest falls out. You put it in as a curriculum, you have intro to E-sports, and you have E-sports advanced, stuff like that, and as they get interested, you can start hosting your own tournaments. And if you see on the handout that I gave you the front page are pros and cons. The pros it actually, lists the opportunities we already have here at Joshua ISD. It’s a great exposure for our district, another chance to show off our wonderful kids. Way to move Joshua ISD into the future. And my personal favorite is a way to shine a light on kids that don’t normally have a light to shine on. And the cons, of course, it’s always money, money’s always a con, it’s gotta come from somewhere. But there are sponsors, there are grants. I’m currently working on getting you more information for next month about grants. It can be paid for, we can find a way, I know we can. Basically, what I’m asking you for tonight is just give it a chance. Let this be the new swim team, if you (laughter covers comment) I promise you, there is interest out there. Also included, also included in that packet, is a student survey to send out to the kids in high school. Theres recommended questions in there, just gauge the interest. All it takes is 5 or 6 to get it started. I promise you, It’ll grow from there and uh like I said a way to shine a light on kids that don’t normally have it. Thank y’all for your time. You’re doing fantastic.
Thanks so much for your interest in eSports and wanting to expand opportunities for JISD students. The JISD Curriculum and Technology Departments are researching the eSport program including costs, future of it possibly becoming a CTE course and program of study, and current or future TEKS that will apply. Currently, our computer lab at Joshua High School is not equipped with the technology needed, but we will research the cost for the upgrade and consider starting this as an extracurricular activity.
Mark Chumchal (1/16/23)
All right, good evening. I’m going to read a statement written by my 13 year old son. Uh, it’s his account of what his time has been like in JISD. When we moved to Joshua I was excited to start Loflin. I was ready for a new start, and my parents told me this was a good district. Within the first few weeks, I started getting messed with by some 7th graders. For the first time in my life, I was targeted for being Asian. The 7th graders told me “you’re nothing but a stupid little Asian”, all the time. Before this, I was always happy with being me. After this, I wasn’t. Uh, I wished I wasn’t Korean anymore and I wished I looked like everybody else. I even told my mom that I wish I didn’t look like her and why I couldn’t just look like my dad, which I’m sorry that I said that because it did hurt my mom. During the sixth grade year, the only person who helped me was Miss Roberson. I could tell she cared about me. She never made it seem like I was annoying her by going to her. No other principles have ever made me feel like that, that they actually cared. The rest were worried about other stuff and not about me. Most of the time they tried to turn it around on me. I think they just wanted me to stop telling them stuff so their job would be easier. I couldn’t trust any of the principles and didn’t feel comfortable going to them anymore. I saw constant fights, kids constantly picking on other kids, the same kids messing with me would mess with other kids and nothing was ever done. For some reason, some of these kids got away with everything and they still do. They need to stop just giving kids a day in ISS because the kids like going there. All the troublemakers are in there and they think it’s fun. It’s not normal for kids to be hitting whoever they want and nothing happens. I don’t think I want, uh, I don’t think I was treated as badly as John Carmichael was, but it was still bad. I wish that people who saw what happened to him would have seen it as serious as it was. I wish I could have told John he wasn’t alone and he didn’t have to do what he did. I hope that any principal in administration and any board members who don’t care are replaced. I hope they start taking this more seriously. I hope other kids who have been bullied can find someone they can talk to and find someone who really cares. I don’t get why Ms. Marek wouldn’t let my mom watch the videos of the school bus driver messing with me. She didn’t do anything to help me with all the stuff that happened to me. I hope the new superintendent actually cares about bullying when my parent. When my parents decided to pull me out I felt so relieved because I was, it was finally over. I feel so happy now and I don’t have to go back.
Now all I have to add is shame on you all for not giving my son and all these other students a safe learning environment. Shame on you all for victim-blaming these children. Shame on you all for turning a blind eye. Shame on you all for being so unprofessional and making fun of parents, whose children are literally suffering every day, without any apology from any of you. And shame on you for failing this community, and shame on you for letting Fran and her lawyers run all over you. Shame on you all.
Thank you for your comments.
The District firmly asserts that it has never victim-blamed children. This District takes bullying allegations extremely seriously. When the District receives notification of potential incidents that allege bullying, administrators act immediately. Much of the District’s investigatory actions occur behind the scenes, however, upon receiving notification of these allegations, the District goes above and beyond state requirements for handling these matters. As such, upon receiving notice, the District will conduct a full and thorough investigation to first determine if the alleged incident legally qualifies as bullying, and if it doesn’t, it is a different violation that requires some sort of corrective action.
Bullying is defined in the student handbook and Texas Education Code §37.0832 as “a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that: (1) has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property; (2) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student; (3) materially or substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school; or (4) infringes on the rights of the victim at school. This includes cyberbullying, which is defined as bullying that is done through the use of any electronic communication device.”
In fact, two separate TEA complaints were filed on June 23, 2022 and April 17, 2022, both stating the District was out of compliance with bullying policies and requirements, was not addressing bullying incidents, and was failing to follow applicable laws and policies related to both bullying prevention and threat assessments. TEA conducted a full review into the investigations conducted by the District in both incidents and reviewed all District programs, policies, procedures, and processes related to bullying and threat assessments. Following TEA’s thorough review and investigation of evidence and documentation presented, Joshua ISD received notice that TEA had dismissed both complaints and found that JISD was in total compliance with all required laws regarding bullying and threat assessments.
The District ensures that when new requirements involving bullying protocols are released by the state, the District immediately conducts a review of its policies and procedures and makes changes as needed.
The District does not condone bullying in any manner and strives to do all that it can to prevent these incidents, investigate all allegations, and appropriately discipline all involved individuals when it is determined that there has been a violation.
Georgia Head (1/16/23)
Hey, good evening, y’all. Uhm, it’s remarkable how the district is allowed to publish online in the rebuttals to Public comments that citizens and parents are making un-untruthful statements yet when called out, it’s a misunderstanding by the district. How about you not accuse parents and community members of being untruthful in the first place? Your attorneys are crafting word games and it’s actually disgusting. In the last rebuttals, you also, as a district stand by your statement that, and this is quote, no district board members or employees mocked any members of the public. Now what exactly do you consider the phrase, I’ll tell her where to put it, mean. Isn’t that, is this just considered pleasant conversation, no it’s mockery. It’s making fun of a parent. The district also mentions all statements written regarding the November 28 school board meeting are factual, and that’s in quotes. We have cell phone video that proves otherwise. How can a principal witness an event that happened on one side of the room when she’s on video looking the opposite direction? Then she wrote a statement saying that she saw it all, it’s impossible. Switching gears. Several parents have reached out to ask, where’s the community and parent survey that was promised early last year about hiring a new superintendent? Why haven’t parents and community members been involved in this process? I look forward to reading the responses online.
Thank you for your comments.
How about you not accuse parents and community members of being untruthful in the first place?
The district has and will continue to post accurate information based on facts to specific situations as they are addressed.
The district also mentions all statements written regarding the November 28 school board meeting are factual, and that’s in quotes. We have cell phone video that proves otherwise. How can a principal witness an event that happened on one side of the room when she’s on video looking the opposite direction?
The chest cam footage and statements of witnesses are posted below. In the video, you will see Mrs. Head filming Chief Hoschar and a parent advocate communicating. When the parent advocate walks away, Mrs. Head’s camera footage never leaves where she was initially filming until she is later seen out of her seat to film Mrs. Marek telling the parent advocate to not put her hands on her. In fact, you see Mrs. Head communicating to another citizen and never witnessed the shove.
Several parents have reached out to ask, where’s the community and parent survey that was promised early last year about hiring a new superintendent? Why haven’t parents and community members been involved in this process?
Currently, the Board is in the infancy stages of hiring a superintendent. The District recently finalized the hire of an Interim Superintendent. The parent survey has not yet been released, however, plans are being made for it to be distributed to the community. The community will be involved in this process once it begins.
Trent Fielder (12/19/2022)
Good evening. Many of you may not know me. So, I’ll try to be short on the introduction and get back to the point. I’m grateful to the group of people helping me. I’m a Vet. I’m standing on my feet today as I stop short on my treatments so I could attend the meeting. There are many who need to be heard. I’ll hopefully share my thoughts and go back to my treatments. My name is Trent Fielder. I’m a resident of Joshua since October 2019 when my wife and I moved here, built our very first home and started the kids at Caddo. It’s been such a blessing to see and experience the teachers within the community. They have given so much of themselves as most teachers do, constantly looking for ways to enrich the lives of their youth so they see their future is bright. We have experienced firsthand how the dedication of educators flows into the lives of children including our own. What can often be felt as an often-endless job isn’t. In fact, one that feeds the souls of those committed to it. They daily give of themselves more than they have. Many holding on in their own lives while running on empty continuing to give. Selfishly, I thought that when we moved here, I’d be able to settle down a little and even watch my family thrive in Joshua as we became neighbors. I could then focus on what my goal was moving forward. But as many of us know, sometimes God has other plans. It is perhaps the most significant reason why I do what I do. But more on that later. I’ve been fortunate certainly in the last 5 or 6 years of my life to be surrounded by incredible heroes. I spend a large amount of my time with military and first responders, some of whom have life-altering injuries. But it has not stopped them. They continue to find ways to serve their communities and sacrifice for others. While my children would come home with smiles almost every day, it became harder and harder to ignore that this was not the case for others we considered family and in this community. We witnessed sadness, despair, heard stories and as any critical thinker should do, we started to investigate and discern that there were…what were the experiences of others. Over time, I’ve watched other families suffer despite their best efforts to handle any situation or issue with both professionalism and care towards all involved. As I look deeper, it seemed to have a common theme to it. It’s a word which is the cornerstone to those that seek to serve others for pure purposes. But it's also a stain for those who seek implied power where those motives are primarily themselves. The word is accountability. Some hear that word and have a foggy, skewed idea of what it means. Let me clear up any misconceptions. Accountability to self and to others in its purest form. 1. Truth in the diligent search for truth amid conflict. 2. A mirrored review look at motivation and the why (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Mr. Fielder for his comments and for the support he expressed for the JISD teachers. Our teachers work very hard to ensure safety and academic success for all students.
Maggie Wright-Speaking on behalf of Trent Fielder (12/19/2022)
A mirrored review look at motivation and the why and what we do. In this case, what we should be doing is putting the children first. Courage despite the potential of those who maligned themselves in their conduct. Willingness to submit ourselves to culpability. If we do wrong, we admit to it, correct it, and at no time cover up or seek to deceive others. We should never be to intimidate, collude, against or silence those seeking accountability. Those actions are the opposite of what the goal of this body, this district and this community should be all about. If at any time, someone within the district, be a teacher, counselor, administrator, administration or board were to commit these actions, they have directly violated the main reason of their being here, the children. Too often, we are seeing around the country more and more of these conflicts where the core is accountability. One side seeks it and the other seeks to run from it. I can only pray there to see this now, where to see this now. It can be wiped clean and those who do not cooperate in the whole truth, find another area of their professional lives to better serve themselves. For I and most people within the schools, the purpose is the children. Their well-being and progress is and should always be the target. Not lies or misleading attempts to win awards for best at or most acclaimed. The truth doesn’t like shadows. We are also seeing across the country a rise in depression, suicide attempts, slipping grades and predatory behavior within schools. Predatory behavior can be categorized into several things. Bullying is also one of these. When I saw and Instagram page, one of the many where children at a middle school were filming each other beating up the other children, or creating their own fight clubs, it reminded me of what most parents should already know. Social media is a poison creating monsters out of once well-intentional children. If you are not careful, social media replaces you. Are you prepared for that? Let me tell you one story of a child that just 12 years old who lives in this community. He was abused and bullied from the time he was 8. He sought help as it had gone on for years. While it was not in the same environment, it involved people of implied, impound power who ordained themselves over the child to provide what was best for their own self-serving interest. The child was threatened when wanting to speak out. (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Ms. Wright for her comments.These comments are based on ideology and not a specific event occurring in JISD or with JISD staff; therefore, JISD has no response.
Maudie Tarver-Speaking on behalf of Trent Fielder (12/19/2022)
Thank you for allowing us to speak. My name is Maudie Tarver. I’m a Joshua Independent School District taxpayer. The child was threatened when wanting to speak out. Both he and his family. So it continued. This child’s first attempt at suicide was at age 12 to ensure it would stop. Fortunately, he was met with people who sought to help him, to put him first. He made multiple attempts over the years to ensure the pain would not continue, but to also stop the pain of what had happened. There are significant changes which need to happen at a district and county level to push a reset button and make accountability the cornerstone again. The idea of change makes people nervous, and perhaps for some in this room for those who support them, maybe it should. It affects multiple areas and departments which in my view, have done more to protect each other and themselves than to put the focus where it has always belonged, on the child. Good character is necessary in each child as it is significant to them knowing who they are as a person and who they should be to each other. That also means it should be demonstrated at the highest so-called level of this district. I watched in disgust as Terrie Chumchal, who had done nothing except fought for her child with fervor as a parent should be, was defamed by this very group with a disgusting comment. While one person made the comment, those who laughed or did nothing showed more about their character by doing nothing or participating. Stand above it and call it out when it happens or be swallowed by the same cowardice which corrupts character in those who fail to be accountable to themselves. When I am gone from this earth, I want my children to be able to say their daddy was an advocate, a daddy who always did what was right, no matter the cost to himself. To date, I have held up that end of my promise. I made it to God and to my family. I will continue to do that and speak publicly on these changes. I intend to do what I feel might be lacking in many cases. And that is to lead. Whether it be on this board, or whether I am needed as a child who has no voice. I know the importance of giving every child one. I was told by countless people when I had mentioned I had decided to speak some frankly scary things. I was told to expect further threats, disrespecting, including no eye contact from members as they had no interest, or potential backlash or retaliation on my children or my family or more. There is a problem with these things. (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Ms. Tarver for her comments.
“While one person made the comment, those who laughed or did nothing showed more about their character by doing nothing or participating.”
As stated in the response JISD posted after the November 14, 2022 School Board Meeting, JISD does not dispute this video occurred. The portion of this video being discussed was on the website, and the District intended for it to remain on the website. You may refer back to last month’s posted public comment responses to see the District’s initial response to and explanation of this video.
This portion of the video is no longer posted on the website, however, because in a Level 3 Grievance held in an open meeting on November 28th, the relief requested by Terrie Chumchal was to remove the portion of the video in question from the website. The School Board granted this request, and this portion of the video has been removed as requested.
Corrine Arnold-Speaking on behalf of Trent Fielder (12/19/2022)
Corrine Arnold. I’m a taxpayer in the district. I’ll also read for Trent.There is a problem with those things, at least in my case. I don’t feel like I used to. And I don’t get intimidated. See, I am the boy in the story. I have experienced what others who think they are powerful can do to those who feel like they have no voice. I’m sure there are ways where retaliated against my family
might seem the most obvious way to silence me, but it won’t. It will only allow those who choose that path to see a side of me that few have but none want to again. My children will continue to thrive, I will see to that as I’m sure those who have come to love them in the classroom and outside of it. The time I have spent with people who are like me in either disability or purpose, we have learned to fight. My job I alluded to before is important. I will make some roll their eyes I am sure, but those that have experienced a life without it will know its impact. My job is hope. I share that message far and wide with sacrifice and knowing if I push a little harder to help someone, they might know hope. And then the responsibility of sharing it. It has reached people in all industries and across continents which tell me hope is desperately needed. While it doesn’t have a solid dollar paycheck, its riches are within. I have seen too many people fall to hopelessness because they have forgotten what a gift life is and where they belong in this big world. I’ve seen too many suicides, hospitalizations and fear from souls that died long before the body. If we are to truly make our impact on every child’s life, and how important a role we make on a daily basis for them to succeed and feel hopeful about tomorrow, then the silent scene has to stop. The posturing on the part of the district has to stop. The adversarial approach to parents has to stop. But it can best do that by facing the same things that can set Joshua ISD on a path to be a conduit for excellence again. Accountability. I’d like to finish with one verse from the Bible that I believe stands for young and old no matter position or belief. Hebrews 12:11, No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening. It is painful. But afterward, there will be a peaceful harvest of ripe living for those who are trained this way. Thank you for allowing me to be here. I will be back. Good evening, and God bless.
JISD thanks Ms. Arnold for her comments.
Regarding the statement “The posturing on the part of the district has to stop.” This is a false statement, JISD thoroughly investigates any incidents that occur within the District and handles them according to law and policies and bases its decisions solely on factual evidence and documentation.
Regarding the statement “The adversarial approach to parents has to stop.” JISD welcomes feedback from students and parents alike and addresses each parent concern individually and investigates incidents and concerns to the fullest extent possible. Decisions are made in compliance with the law and are based on the facts gathered from all parties involved.
Georgia Head (12/19/2022)
Good evening. Last month after the Board meeting, the District posted the public comments along with their rebuttals. These are full of things that are absolutely, blatantly false. Why did you as a Board and as a District decide to begin publishing public comments and rebuttals to your website? At the November Board meeting, I spoke about the terribly unfortunate livestream incident that the national media has now begun calling the hot mic. After my remarks, your website said “This is untrue. Ms. Head is making a statement not based on facts because there is no video recording at this time, only an audio recording.” This is amusing because the entire nation has been provided with a video which shows exactly what I stated to be 100% true. Why would you say I’m not being truthful when you all seen the video with your own eyes? The next quote by the district is “It is true there is laughing in the video. But it is untrue that there was laughing at a parent. It is untrue that a board member mocked parents.” I don’t know what the author of this rebuttal considers to be making fun of and mocking, but an administrator laughing while saying “I’m not reaching out to those people” and a board meeting stating “Yea I’ll tell her right where she can put it” is not exactly pleasant conversation about others. Laughter erupted and many in the room were creating merriment in the moment. Isn’t this exactly what people call “making fun of others”? Isn’t this called mocking? It is sad and to think it’s all on video and audio and it has been shared with the entire nation. But the district says I’m not being truthful. During the parents Level 3 Grievance Hearing on this matter, the Board and administration agreed to remove the video and audio, but agreed to no more retaliation, but absolutely refused to apologize. What kind of people refuse to apologize when they are caught doing something so egregiously wrong? I’m asking a hard question of each one of you. I’m switching gears to another incident. We received the signed statements from the multitude of JISD employees who were present at the Level 3 Grievance Hearings during the school day on November 28th. These statements confirm multiple TOMA (Texas Opens Meeting Act) violations. We now have that in writing and signed by employees. Also, it is noted that some of the statements are not accurate, as can be proved by cellphone video and body-worn camera video from the officer in attendance. Why would a principal write a statement about something she did not witness? More and more parents, families, and teachers are reaching out to us. No child should ever, ever feel afraid to go to school. And no teacher should ever be in constant fear of losing their job. Those of you who have been defending this district’s actions while they are sweeping problems under the rug, just know that when that rug is pulled out from under you, you can choose to either be part of the solution or part of the problem.
JISD thanks Ms. Head for her comments.
JISD made the decision to post all public forum comments to the website because all Board Meetings are now videoed and posted to the website and public forum comments are in the video; therefore, the responses will also be posted to the website.
Each meeting, the Board of Trustees receives questions and comments from community members during the public forum portion of board meetings concerning various topics. By law, board members cannot discuss non-agenda issues during a meeting. In our continuing effort for transparency and accountability, we are posting these questions and answers for everyone in the community.
JISD stands by what was posted after the November 14, 2022 Board Meeting in regard to the claim that the video was not turned off between the closed session and re-convened into open session of the meeting.
During Ms. Head’s November 14, 2022 speech to the Board of Trustees she stated “one of the district administrators turned to the cameras, after returning from closed session and asked if they were being recorded”. In its initial response, the district believed that Ms. Head was referring to a point in time when it was audio-only, but regardless of whether the video was on or off, our response remains the same--we don't dispute that this incident occurred on camera, however we stand by our statement that no District board members or employees mocked any members of the public.
All statements written regarding the November 28, 2022 School Board Meeting are factual. With the approval of each administrator, these statements have been added to this posting along with the body camera footage from Chief Hoschar:
April Garvin (12/19/2022)
1.1 million students across the state of Texas got up this morning feeling terrified, demoralized, and begging to not go to school. How was your morning? Like many others, I’m shocked and appalled by the events that continue to play out in this district. Daily, I get stories in my inbox of bullying, harassment, assaults, and even sexual assaults happening at our schools. When I was a helicopter mechanic, we had a saying, the warnings written in the maintenance manual are written in the blood by the people that came before us. This was to help stress the magnitude of the responsibility that we carried. Being complacent even in the smallest of ways could cause the death of somebody. Just like those maintenance manuals, these laws and policies surrounding bullying prevention are written in the blood of the students and teachers that have hurt or even lost their lives. You may think that is a bit dramatic, but this is the world we live in today. Every decision you make, you have to approach it with the reverence that it deserves. You cannot dismiss these policies as unnecessary and inconvenient. And you cannot hide behind lawyers who manipulate the language of the law to obsolete the responsibility of the district. You cannot continue to put the district’s reputation above the safety of the students and the teachers. As I stand here today at the podium standing by the tears of the parents who pleaded with you to do something. To hold those that are responsible, accountable for their actions. I can’t help but wonder if you truly know what is going on in your own district. How accessible are you to the people that are not inside your personal circles. We have seen how you have reacted to quote “Outsiders trying to talk to you” by blocking them with lawyers, criminal trespass warnings. But I’ve also seen this same reaction to the people in your own community. Your own neighbors have been retaliated against, gaslit, and isolated by turning them into the enemy. This has been turned into a you vs. us situation. Then the focus should always be on the children and what is best for them. I would like to end this by asking just a few questions and I look forward to seeing your responses on the Joshua ISD website. If bullying prevention is the top priority, then why on earth would you not be keeping track of the number of bullying reports and incidents happening on each campus? Why are school board members trained to change their votes to match the decision of the majority? And lastly, why were principals and admin present at grievance hearings on November 28 when they have not gone to any previous Level 3 hearings that were open to the public? Thank you.
JISD thanks Ms. Garvin for her comments.
The JISD School Board follows all Board Policies and laws and investigates all incidents to the fullest extent required by law.
When two TEA Complaints filed by two community members alleged that JISD was not in compliance with bullying and threat assessment policies and procedures, TEA conducted a full review into the investigations conducted by the District and reviewed all District programs, policies, procedures, and processes related to bullying and threat assessments. Following TEA’s thorough review and investigation of over 700 pages of evidence and documentation presented, Joshua ISD received notice that TEA had dismissed both complaints and found that JISD was in total compliance with all required laws regarding bullying and threat assessments.
The School District’s Legal Counsel, Leasor Crass, represents the Joshua ISD School Board and the Joshua ISD School District. The firm’s job is to inform the District of the law and present the potential risks and benefits for each path the District may decide to take. This firm has always guided Joshua ISD to follow the law and its intent to the fullest but does not hold any control regarding the decision-making power over the District.
The JISD School Board and administrators put the safety of all staff and all students first in all circumstances. This is evident in the most recent additions to staffing this school year.
If bullying prevention is the top priority, then why on earth would you not be keeping track of the number of bullying reports and incidents happening on each campus?
This statement insinuates that Joshua ISD is not in compliance with all reporting measures required by the Texas Education Agency. Joshua ISD has and still maintains compliance with all state and federal laws. Additionally, Joshua ISD submits its annual report to the Texas Education Agency through PEIMS reporting.
Why are school board members trained to change their votes to match the decision of the majority?
The information in this question is inaccurate. School Board Members have never been trained to change their votes to match the decision of the majority. School Board Members vote based on the best interest of all students and staff in Joshua ISD. If individual School Board Members feel differently than the majority of the Board, they are welcomed and encouraged to vote in favor of their individual beliefs and convictions.
Why were principals and admin present at grievance hearings on November 28 when they have not gone to any previous Level 3 hearings that were open to the public?
The principals and administrators who chose to come to the grievance hearings on November 28 came to support the School Board and Administration. These grievance hearings were heard in open session. Prior to November 28, there was only one grievance hearing heard in open session, and administrators were present at that meeting. Additionally, principals and administrators attend all monthly scheduled board meetings throughout the school year. As leaders in the District, these individuals were concerned about the issues presented. All campuses were covered appropriately, and all administrators were available if needed.
Diane Moon (12/19/2022)
My name is Diane Moon. I’m an RN, a grandmother, mother, and a Texas State Guardian. The reason I’m here is because I’m a grandmother today. Never thought that I would have the opportunity to stand up and have to speak for what I see as some issues. Fran, congratulations…I can talk rally. Congratulations on your retirement. I tried to retire. I’ve been a nurse for 50 years, retired once, retired twice. But the reason again I’m here is just of my concern and some of the reactions. I’m not sure I understand what is going on. I’m not sure that I understand as a grandmother and someone who has experienced stuff that is not very good. What has happened to the focus of the kids? I attended a couple of these and there’s a lot of stuff going on. And its really political. I can tell. But the issue is what about the kids? As a nurse, I competed with the teachers for a long time. Cause you know, we all want to say you guys get off three months for the thing and I have to work all weekend. Those kinds of things. But I tell you, I would not have their jobs, nor would they want mine. I don’t understand. My biggest concern about all of this is the mental health that these kids are experiencing. My biggest issue being a nurse and being a concerned person is when something occurs…when something occurs, there are some of us that are required reporters. I am a required reporter. I have to tell you about the story I hear, the child, his eardrum was burst. That’s assault. That’s not a bullying incident. But you know what that’s going to result in? And this is what scares me to death. It is the fact that when people are bullied, and when these kids are bullied, and no one is there to support them, they go back to a school. And unfortunately, we’ve seen some things that happen that have never happened before. I never thought I’d see and be scared of my grandchildren to go to school. That someone could come into the school (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Ms. Moon for her comments.
“I have to tell you about the story I hear, the child, his eardrum was burst. That’s assault. That’s not a bullying incident.”
JISD cannot speak to any specific incidents involving students, however, please note JISD investigates all allegations of bullying and assault and consistently issues its determinations based on the JISD Student Code of Conduct, Texas Law, and the JISD School Board Policies. Law enforcement officials are involved where appropriate, and if an incident of assault ever occurs, it is handled according to law.
Terrie Chumchal (12/19/2022)
Hello, good evening Board members. My question is how did we get here? How did we get to the point where multiple national media outlets are reaching out to us asking us about the horrendous issues we have faced in Joshua ISD? How did we get to the point where people are coming out of the woodworks to share the most heartbreaking experiences with this district administration, but they have remained silent due to retaliation. We are here because you all failed. You failed to listen, lead, and be role models to people who needed you the most. You failed to take responsibility, failed to value children, failed to seek solutions or even desire to seek them. And this is all on you. You surrendered your vote to the authority of paid outside entities like Leasor and Crass, who gain from your failure. Our group have been here presenting, asking for help, pleading for a year. We have shown you specific issues in this district, and you have stayed silent. Your silence was an answer and it was loud and clear. You have buried your head in the sand and did whatever this district administration and Leasor and Crass have told you to do. You have failed this community, you refuse to listen. You refuse to see us, and you refuse to represent us. You mocked us, and attempted to turn us into the villains of this community for simply advocating for our children. You took an oath to serve this community so you need to do it. Serving the community also means serving the people who bring you concerns, not just your friends and the people that just say JISD is the best, nothing is wrong. There’s more than that. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands in times of challenging controversy.” Where have you stood during these challenges? Silent is where you have stood. You have had every chance to take these opportunities and make real change. And you have not done that. And this is what accountability looks like. Your time to hide behind the district administration and Leasor and Crass is over. The community is awake, the community is paying attention, and the community heard you. We may not be lifelong community members and we may not be part of the JISD clique, but we still deserve to be here and we will continue to be vocal about the issues in this district. We will use every remedy available to make you operate transparently and according to the law. We will continue to advocate for our children and yours. And we will continue to listen to those families that have been hurt, continue to be hurt, and ignored by this district. We will continue to bring forth the egregious abuse hidden by this district. So Board members, your time is up. I think it is time for you all to step down so we can get representatives who will actually listen to and represent all of us. Thank you.
JISD thanks Ms. Chumchal for her comments.
These comments are based on opinion and not a specific event occurring in JISD or with JISD staff; therefore, JISD has no response.
Mark Chumchal (12/19/2022)
Hi good evening. On November 18th, JISD posted to their Facebook with answers to the public forum comments from the November 14th School Board meeting. So now that the community knows that you’re answering some questions, I have a few for you. 1. During our November 28th grievance, why did the entire Board unanimously vote to deny my family an apology, yet granted the removal of the hot mic? 2. During the same grievance November 28th, why did JISD have 20-30 school principals and staff members sitting in on a grievance from 12 pm-5 pm that had nothing to do with them? This has never been a case in the past. So why did JISD use taxpayer money to fund 100-150 hours of pay for educators to sit here and help intimidate the grieved families? 3. Who instructed these employees to be here? These individuals had to 1. Know about the grievance 2. Get authorization to leave their campus and 3. Be told when to be there. This seems like more retaliation against our family and others who are trying to follow your own policies. 4. Do the Board members understand that you all are in control? You can make decisions and policy changes. You don’t have to hide behind the superintendent or Leasor and Crass. Do you understand that? 5. You all seem scared to speak out in open session, and you make every decision behind closed doors. Are you also facing retaliation from district administration like we and many others are? I would also like to point out that the community is not only made up of your friends, family and big donors. It’s all taxpayers. I love that you all seem to have grown up in Joshua and are connected in some way. But the hard reality is y’all are now the slim majority. And growth is inevitable. Your lack of actions are seriously affecting children, teachers and parents. These are real human beings. Do you all seriously need another suicide in this district to open your eyes? If it is too hard for you to do the right thing, then you all need to step down immediately. And finally, Fran, I would like for you to answer this question: How can you be padded on the shoulder by a parent advocate and that warrants a criminal trespass warrant, but son is able to be tortured, for his Korean heritage, being tackled and body slammed, eardrum busted, choked multiple times, a bus driver bullying him, being stabbed, not poked but stabbed in the leg with a pencil, his side being cut open with a metal ruler? You say that is horseplay. That’s not…that is bullying. That is assault, not horseplay. You hide behind these laws claiming that you’re scared of a parent advocate that touched you on the arm. (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Mr. Chumchal for his comments.
Why did JISD have 20-30 school principals and staff members sitting in on a grievance from 12 pm-5 pm that had nothing to do with them? This has never been a case in the past. So why did JISD use taxpayer money to fund 100-150 hours of pay for educators to sit here and intimidate the grieved families?
As previously stated, the principals and administrators who chose to come to the grievance hearings on November 28 came to support the School Board and Administration that they work for. There were no instances of intimidation. These grievance hearings were heard in open session and were therefore open to anyone who wished to be present. As leaders in the District, these individuals were concerned about the issues presented. All campuses were covered appropriately and all administrators were available if needed.
This has never been a case in the past. So why did JISD use taxpayer money to fund 100-150 hours of pay for educators to sit here and intimidate the grieved families?
Both of these statements are not true. Prior to November 28, there was only one grievance hearing heard in open session, and administrators were present at that meeting. Additionally, principals and administrators attend all monthly scheduled board meetings throughout the school year.
This seems like more retaliation against our family and others.
Again, this statement is based on assumptions and not what not is defined as retaliation.
In the law and District policies there are three types of “retaliation” defined. These include Title IX sexual harassment-based retaliation, retaliation based on availing oneself of a protected right, such as filing a grievance, or retaliation based on some type of discrimination, usually in the employment setting.
Board Policy FFH(LEGAL) defines retaliation for the purposes of Title IX and student welfare, stating: No district or other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title IX.
Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, constitutes retaliation.
For a showing of retaliation, the evidence to show that (1) an individual engaged in a protected activity of which the recipient was aware; (2) the recipient took a significantly adverse action against the individual; and (3) a causal connection exists between the individual’s protected activity and the recipient’s adverse action.
The district has not retaliated against any family based on these definitions of retaliation. Claims have continuously been made that the District has retaliated against certain families within the District, but these claims are unsubstantiated and without merit.
Are you also facing retaliation from district administration like we and many others are?
The Board, by definition, is unable to be retaliated against by District administrators.
Do you all seriously need another suicide in this district to open your eyes?
Once again, this statement is not true and is based on opinion. There have been zero instances where unchecked bullying in this District has led to student suicide. The District takes these matters extremely seriously and works tirelessly to ensure the protection of its students.
But son is able to be tortured, for his Korean heritage, being tackled and body slammed, eardrum busted, choked multiple times, a bus driver bullying him, being stabbed, not poked but stabbed in the leg with a pencil, his side being cut open with a metal ruler?
Every alleged situation has been thoroughly investigated by the administration at the District campus in question. Appropriate discipline is always administered according to the district student code of conduct for individual students involved in the alleged incidents. Please note, the District has investigated every single student issue it has been made aware of and handled it appropriately according to the laws of this state and this country. Although individual parents may disagree with the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged incidents, the District and law enforcement have reviewed every incident and handled all misconduct in the manner required by law.
Natalia Cruz (12/19/2022)
Natalia Cruz, mother of 3. Ever since I moved to the metroplex, I would hear that Joshua was the best district in the area and I actually believed it. Now I know you have that reputation because you’re experts in brushing everything under the rug. Well that false narrative no longer exists. All the criminal acts you’ve done children, parents, and advocates is spreading like wildfire. How can you sleep at night knowing you filed trespassing charges on an advocate, knowing that she meant absolutely no harm. I’m going to take a few seconds to breathe because I don’t have much to say. How can you sit there knowing that one day, your own children will know how radical and heartless you are? Everything is spreading on the internet. And the internet is forever. Heck, you even made it on FOX. How dare you ask for $7,000 for public records. You’ve taken advantage not only of the parents, but children, teachers, everybody that serves Joshua ISD. You’ve given Joshua ISD a bad name, and my goal for 2023 is to keep spreading how corrupt and evil you are to those who believe Joshua is the place to be. I will continue to spread awareness about how despicable you truly are. You’ve proven time and time again that you do not have the best interests of your students. It’s all on video. The proof is more than clear. The veil has been uncovered and I pray to God that he has mercy on your souls for how you mistreated concerned parents for simply advocating for their students. Shame on you.
How can you sleep at night knowing you filed trespassing charges on an advocate, knowing that she meant absolutely no harm?
Criminal trespass warnings can be filed for a variety of reasons. The criminal trespass warning in question was filed against a parent advocate for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to, inappropriate behavior on District property, the continued disruption of a lawfully called Board meeting, and the physical pushing of the superintendent. When the superintendent confronted the parent advocate, the advocate began to mock the superintendent as she told her to please not touch her. The District does not condone this behavior. This can be seen on the chest cam footage linked above.
Josh Burns (12/19/2022)
I am proud of Joshua ISD. And I thank you for your job. Congratulations Ms. Marek. I’m excited for you as I told you last week. I greatly appreciate your service and your commitment to this district for 33 years. As a parent, as a pastor, as a spouse of a Joshua ISD employee, I have watched you lead. Your leadership was visionary in nature, always preparing for the future of this district. Your leadership displayed humility, never asking anyone to do something you weren’t willing to do. Your leadership exemplifies fairness, even in the midst of difficult, unpopular decisions. Your leadership model, excellence. Fran, you are a lady who knows her identity and your purpose. You are a lady who is commitment and your work ethic towers above anyone else I know, even myself. A lady with integrity. I wish you the very best in your new adventures. And I pray this over you. Lord we give you thanks for this tremendous blessing that has come from the work this your servant’s hands. Thank you that you still anoint and use us always in all seasons. We pray that this would be a new beginning for Fran. May your hope arise and your vision be your guide. May a new rhythm emerge. One that forms a beautiful balance between your rest and life engagement. And now Lord, we ask your blessing for Fran and her family. May they be in good health, joy in abundance, and peach in heart and mind. From this day forward and each day that follows. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
JISD thanks Mr. Burns for his comments.
Katie Reames (12/19/2022)
Hi, good evening. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and Mrs. Marek for approving the state-of-the-art rifle range in 2019. Y’all just saw the fruit of that decision. 5-6 years ago, I talked to Lt. Col. Davidson today and he gave me some information. He said 5-6 years ago, the Navy began promising a new range for the NJROTC program. Every year, something would come up with the Navy that delayed that happening. Col. Davidson said in 2019 that Ms. Marek came to him and asked him for the cost and presented it to the Board for approval. By Christmas, the program had the Olympic grade digital air rifle range. The team shot 3 national records in the first year. After the School Board supported the team and approved this investment to the Rifle team, the Navy paid the cost back by the end of 2020, resulting in the District being out $0. But the Board chose to make the investment without any expectation of monetary reimbursement. The new range has provided more quality practice time and efficiency because they’re not changing out paper targets in between cadets shooting. Prior to 2019, the team had a paper target shooting range. Since the new range was installed, 8 athletes have qualified to compete in the National Junior Olympics. In total, since 2012, there have been 20 National Junior Olympic qualifiers, my daughter included. Whether you’re asking Wounded Warrior Joey Jones, Sen. Birdwell, Congressman Williams, Allan West, Ross Perot have all experienced in some level Joshua ISD’s NJROTC program in some form. They have all said “This district really does it right.” And I agree. Just to give people in the room some Air Rifle 101, cause I am a new Rifle mom and learning about this, what is truly incredible about the Rifle program is these athletes are shooting open sight air rifles that weigh just over 9 lbs. They shoot 10 meters away, 33 feet so approximately from me to Zo. They are shooting at a target the size of a quarter. 33 feet away, open sights, no scope. The bullseye is the size of a sharpie dot. Most people can’t see a sharpie dot 33 feet away. The accuracy that they have to shoot with the pellet of 1.77 millimeter is truly incredible when you grasp the skills of precision and the sporter teams. Thank you Board, and thank you Ms. Marek for investing in the NJROTC program, and every program in this district. My children are just three children who reap the fruits of the labor and time that you have invested. Thank you for the sacrifices you make as unpaid servants. (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Mrs. Reames for her comments.
Julie Pool (12/19/2022)
I’m just here tonight Ms. Marek to bid you farewell. And what Mr. Galbreath said regarding your 33 years, it is legacy time here in Joshua that you have left here for us. Thank you so much for everything you have done. I have a story. I don’t even know if you remember this or not. But you probably don’t. You were Assistant Superintendent. I’m not from Joshua or from here. I have one relative here. But I have made friends with all of you people, some of you, we’re friends! Anyway, I did not have a lot of friends in the area and I had young children and I was a young, working mom. We were trying to build our business here and it was a hard, stressful time. Ms. Green might remember this because we were at Plum Creek. I was having a really hard time getting my child to school on time. Let me tell you, I received a phone call that you do not want to receive from the Assistant Superintendent, and who is looking at your transfer paperwork. At the time, we had transfer students, we were trying to so hard to move into Joshua ISD. Ms. Marek called me and said, I need to discuss this with you. I need to tell you how the rules are, how this can affect your children and what’s going on was what you asked me. I had no excuse whatsoever except for the fact that I was stressed out. I was busy and tired and it was just that phase of my life I was in. Though there were boundaries you had to set because the rules were rules, and I did not want to lose our transfer spot at the time. It didn’t stay a problem with me. I’m late in general period, but not with the children getting to school anymore. We nipped that in the bud. In larger districts, you didn’t know me from Adam, but just the way you handled that situation and the way you dealt with me, I just appreciate it. And that was just one very little sign of your leadership. I then was very blessed over the years after that, as I did start volunteering and trying to get into the schools and see where I could help, where I could serve. Everything with me is all about the kids. I was just blessed that you let us have our PTSO wanted to have a clothing store. You found us a space so we could collect used clothes from the community and we could give them to people that needed them. Now the ROTC program has taken that program over, but you gave us the space, then a smaller space, and a smaller space cause there is no more space. Honestly you came and told me that. Congratulation. (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
JISD thanks Mrs. Pool for her comments.
Stephanie Arredondo (12/19/2022)
Congratulations on your retirement. Thank you for your service. I stand here today on behalf of every child in this district who has taken their life. On behalf of every child in this district who has attempted or thought about it. One being my own son. For those students that are confused, scared, frustrated, hopeless, who are broken inside and feel they only way they can be heard is school massacres. On behalf of every teacher, principal, administrator that has been retaliated against for escalating issues to you, and are now terrified of losing their jobs if they say anything else. Who feel disposable or questioning their career choice. For those forced to resign and the District failing them. For all families who have suffered or left this district because they became weak from fighting a corrupt system. For administration who feel they can’t do anything to help because of broken policies, legislation, and systems. And even standing here today for those Board members who are confused, torn, and also questioning their choice to serve. It is so vividly clear why we have issues. You’re too busy working against us to solve anything. My questions for you today, and yes, I look forward to your responses on the JISD website. 1. What have you personally done to address the bullying concerns in this district after the April 2022 survey? The one where 70% or respondents said more needs to be done about bullying, and 30% said they’ve been bullied by teachers or administrators. And don’t say the Higher Heights Committee because we have the agendas, minutes and emails. And one parent has obviously been that sole contributor. 2. Are each of you personally aware of the assaults, some that are sexual that are happening on JISD campuses. 3. Most importantly, please tell me how you can issue a criminal trespass warning to our family advocate after she padded the Superintendent on the arm? We have the footage. Yet our son was hit in the head so hard, it led to a concussion. Hit in the head again 3 weeks after that, rammed in the hallway multiple times, rocks were thrown at him. He was punched 4 times and bruised, he was sexually harassed multiple times. And a student offered money to other students to hurt him. And you didn’t even write a police report nor show us the videos of these. Please explain how any of this makes sense? We’re supposed to give willingly and wholeheartedly of our time and talents. That willingness to give brings joy, and that joy spreads and promotes a community of love, happiness and compassion. I have joy in what I am doing because I help the broken hearted and hopeless. And if what I am doing saves one child’s life, then I am fulfilling my life’s purpose that god has assigned. I can promise you that each of us that are standing up to fight these issues are soaring on wings like eagles. We will run and not grow weary. We will walk and not be faint. Blessed are those who hear the word of god and obey it. We will not stop until all in Joshua that I mentioned in the beginning are well taken care of and valued, instead of silenced. Thank you.
What have you personally done to address the bullying concerns in this district after the April 2022 survey? The one where 70% or respondents said more needs to be done about bullying, and 30% said they’ve been bullied by teachers or administrators.
The district takes bullying very seriously and investigates any and all situations related to bullying. The district utilizes an eight-page bullying investigation documentation report that meets all applicable policies and laws. Each incident is investigated and addressed according to the Texas Education Code § 37.0832.
Ms. Arredondo urged the district to build a bullying committee and to survey the community in the spring. The district worked to incorporate these steps to help provide knowledge and prevention measures for students in all of Joshua ISD. The district arranged for a licensed psychologist to come speak to parents in May about bullying and bullying prevention. Each campus utilized common themes during October with the help of this committee to enlighten students on all measures of bullying. Both middle schools are hosting motivational speakers in the spring to discuss bullying and its effects. The high school hosted a BMX bike program that talked about bullying as well. Counselors have worked with numerous grade levels and students on facing mental health issues and how to work through them. It takes many members of the school team to address bullying situations. Everyone in Joshua ISD is committed to providing a safe environment for students to learn.
The survey referenced here was sent out to every family in the District, however, the referenced data does not reflect the entire student population of Joshua ISD. The District has 5,893 students and only 758 individuals responded to the survey.
Assuming only one parent per student responded to the survey, a maximum of 12.9% of the student population responded to the survey. Of this 12.9% participating, only 49.5% of the responding individuals indicated that they believed some bullying occurred. This represents a total of 376 students or 5% of the total student population who indicated some presence of bullying at JISD.
Bullying is defined in the student handbook and Texas Education Code §37.0832 as “a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that: (1) has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property; (2) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student; (3) materially or substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school; or (4) infringes on the rights of the victim at school. This includes cyberbullying, which is defined as bullying that is done through the use of any electronic communication device.”
This definition was not provided as part of this bullying survey and as a result, each respondent no doubt based their response on his or her own perception of what constitutes bullying. While the survey results certainly indicate the responding parents’ belief as to the existence of bullying, it does not represent those incidents which would constitute bullying under the Texas Education Code or District Policies.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, every instance of reported bullying is investigated pursuant to policy and any incidents which meet the policy definition of bullying results in appropriately measured discipline to the offending students.
Are each of you personally aware of the assaults, some that are sexual that are happening on JISD campuses?
The District Administration investigates every situation to the fullest extent required by law. There is a process for every investigation. If the offense meets the requirements to be considered criminal, the Joshua ISD Police Department conducts its own investigation into the situation. From there, they will take the necessary steps to file a criminal case. The investigators base their findings on the requirements set forth by law and not on what parents or involved individuals simply claim to be assault.
Most importantly, please tell me how you can issue a criminal trespass warning to our family advocate after she patted the Superintendent on the arm?
As previously stated, a criminal trespass warning was filed on a parent advocate for a multitude of reasons, one being that this individual inappropriately pushed the superintendent as she walked by. There was no “patting” or “tapping”. When the superintendent confronted the parent advocate, the advocate began to mock the superintendent as she told her to please not touch her. This can be seen on the chest cam footage linked above.
Yet our son was hit in the head so hard, it led to a concussion. Hit in the head again 3 weeks after that, rammed in the hallway multiple times, rocks were thrown at him. He was punched 4 times and bruised, he was sexually harassed multiple times. And a student offered money to other students to hurt him. And you didn’t even write a police report nor show us the videos of these.
Each incident was investigated thoroughly, and the District responded to each of these allegations by following its policies and procedures and complying with the law. The District releases any video footage it is legally able to, or allows parents to view un-releasable footage on campus at the District.
Maggie Wright (11/14/2022)
Hello. My name is Maggie Wright. I’m a taxpayer and citizen. Thank you for serving as board members and superintendent.
And I’m concerned about the bullying and the ISD police not providing reports. And it has been difficult to get public records. Young families of their own children. When my daughter and I worked to defeat the bloated and non-transparent bond, I got to know some of these mothers, and some are the ones and also trying to get my records. I still have not received the police records where they came to remove me. And all of you know that I was in a place that was, it was legally electioneering. I also met many young families that were experience children being bullied over and over again. I have listened to them addressing the Board meeting after meeting. We had two children that went through this Joshua ISD. We were always able to settle the problems with their teacher, or their principal, or the bus driver. We never had to go to the School Board to get a problem addressed or settled.
And I just am really concerned because um, a religious group also came and we came and got a group to come. And Ronnie was here, a Board member then. We stood behind the Board because um, this religious group was trying to get prayer taken away from before your school board meeting. And I just am really concerned because um, since I last addressed the Board meeting, I’ve talked to several other parents. They’ve removed their children because of bullying. Its not just these parents that’s been addressing the Board. It’s rampant. It’s beginning to be the, it’s not addressed. Like I saw on the Instagram the bullying on there, the fight channel. And for six months, you said there was nothing you could do. But when a grievance is filed, it seems as if though the…the it was taken down. So there was something you could do. And our children are more important than a school that doesn’t address the problems just to have a pristine record. Are we going to have more suicides? Um, these children are being bullied over and over again by the same people. And you all know with that Instagram, that group, you know who they were. Over and over again, they were allowed to bully. And like I said, there were some on the bus that were bullying my child. But they took care of it immediately because it was a repeat offender. When we know that, we need to address it. And I was appalled watching this livestream last month. We don’t (Allowable time ended per Board policy.)
Concerned about the bullying, and these children are being bullied over and over again by the same people.
The district takes bullying very seriously and investigates any and all situations related to bullying. The district utilizes an eight-page bullying investigation documentation report that meets all applicable policies and laws. Each incident is investigated and addressed according to the Texas Education Code § 37.0832. TEC § 37.0832 identifies bullying as a single significant act or pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that (1) has the effect or will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property; (2) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student; (3) materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school, or infringes on the rights of the victim at school. Cyberbullying means bullying that is done through the use of any electronic communication device. The district then utilizes the Student Code of Conduct to discipline the appropriate parties involved. The determination of bullying does not change the fact that the district acts according to its Code of Conduct. All students involved in incidents that violated the Student Code of Conduct are addressed and issued the appropriate discipline pursuant to policy. This discipline ranges from Lunch Detention, In School Suspension, Out of School Suspension, to placement in the District Alternative Education Program (DAEP) depending on the nature of the violation.
ISD police not providing reports.
District police, like other law enforcement officers, are required to initially determine if situations that occur are criminal or non-criminal offenses. If a situation meets the elements of a criminal offense, a report will be taken and filed with the appropriate authorities, —either with the Johnson County or the District Attorney. In reference to non-criminal offenses, there is no legal obligation or requirement to complete a police report in these instances. However, the District police department has recently adjusted its policies and procedures that, upon request, any incident will be documented. A copy can be retrieved upon request.
I still have not received the police records where they came to remove me.
Ms. Wright was never physically removed from school property. A district administrator misinterpreted the distance that an individual was allowed to legally electioneer from a polling station. The district administrator asked Ms. Wright to move her location along with a representative of the Vote Yes Pact for the bond. Within an hour, both were notified they could move back to their previous location, and that they had been in the correct location for electioneering purposes. Ms. Wright chose to remain at the new location. The records requested by Ms. Wright were submitted to the Attorney General. The district is awaiting a ruling and will act accordingly once received.
Difficult to get public records.
This statement is false. All public information requests submitted to the district have been completed according to the timelines outlined in policy GBAA (Legal), GBAA (Local), as well as the timelines and requirements set forth by the Public Information Act. The district has followed its policies and procedures and all state and federal requirements when completing and responding to requests. There have been several instances where submitted requests lack the necessary information to determine what is being asked. In these instances, the district will send a request for clarification to the requestor and, upon response from the requestor, will respond in accordance with law and policy. When a request is particularly voluminous or records difficult to obtain, the district may send an estimate of charges to assist the district with recouping costs associated with fulfilling a request. Additionally, a significant number of requests have been submitted that require a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding whether the District may or must withhold certain private or protected information. For example, since April 2022, the district has received 110 open records requests.
Fight channel on Instagram and for six months you said there was nothing you could do but when a grievance is filed it seems as if though it was taken down. So there was something you could do.
This statement is false. In Early March 2022, Joshua ISD was first notified of the existence of a “Fight Club” Instagram page depicting various students fighting. Upon receiving notice of the existence of this account, campus administrators immediately opened an investigation. During their investigation, it was discovered that multiple students have access to the screen name and password for this channel, making it difficult to determine the responsible party. Campus administrators worked diligently to uncover the owner of this account to no avail. During the same time, the district continued to report these videos to Instagram for violation of their policies with limited success.
On May 18, 2022, the District spoke with Assistant Johnson County Attorney Amber Bewley in reference to the Instagram posts involving “fight channel” and the other accounts that have been posted. Ms. Bewley advised that due to the fact there is no complainant (individual or guardian) of the individuals in the videos, we could not get a warrant to get the videos from Instagram removed as “evidence.” These videos were not evidence involved in a current criminal investigation; therefore, the district did not have the probable cause required to obtain a warrant.
Continued communication from Ms. Head to Mr. Hickerson contained a request for the identity of the individuals he spoke to throughout the investigation. Ms. Head further insisted that the students be disciplined according to district policy. At this point, the district had already handled the discipline according to the Student Code of Conduct for every video that happened on campus sites.
Mr. Hickerson confirmed that he had spoken to both the Sheriff's department investigator CPT Rogers and Sheriff King who verified exactly what Mr. Hickerson told Ms. Head.
During this continued email communication, Ms. Head insisted that the district could hold the responsible student accountable pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct. At this time, the district had spent numerous hours investigating the identity of the student responsible for owning this channel to no avail, therefore no one student could be disciplined as the owner of the account. Mr. Hickerson asked if Ms. Head or anyone knew who the owner of the “fight club” channel might be, and to please provide the district with a name or names so that they could get them removed and holding involved students accountable. With no names, there was nothing that could be done since it was not an active criminal investigation and/or no charges had been filed.
It was not until almost 5 p.m. on May 25, 2022 that Ms. Head provided the district with a student name to investigate. Campus administrators acted swiftly and investigated the matter. The campus administrator set up a meeting in their office and personally witnessed the individual disable the account. Any discipline was handled in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. The district cannot provide specific details as to any discipline due to the confidentiality provisions in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
On September 8th, 2022, a StopIt report was submitted at 9:22 a.m. to the district and Loflin Middle School regarding two new videos posted to the same “fight club” channel. Immediately upon receiving this information, administrators worked diligently to get the channel removed. During this investigation, it was determined that the previous owner of the account was no longer enrolled in Joshua ISD. The administrators contacted both the guardian and the student. During this conversation with the individual, guardian, administrator, and Joshua ISD Police Officer, the account was then deleted and has not resurfaced since then. A grievance was subsequently filed by a parent on September 8th regarding the existence of the “fight club” Instagram account. However, the grievance was filed well after the StopIt report was received by administrators and the incident had been resolved. This grievance is still an ongoing matter even though the issue involving the Instagram account has been resolved.
These children are being bullied over and over again by the same children. Repeat offenders. When we know it, we need to address it.
This is untrue. The district has hundreds of pages of documentation related to all incidents. They have investigated every situation involving allegations of bullying. Determination of whether an incident meets the criteria required to be considered “bullying” does not change the fact that each incident was investigated, and appropriate disciplinary consequences were administered to each child. The district developed the Higher Heights committee that encompasses parent representatives from each school within the district. This committee has been working closely to deliver knowledge about prevention measures and how to address bullying going forward.
Georgia Head (11/14/2022)
So, it’s been an eventful couple of months for the board. I do want to thank you for your time and service, each and every one of you. That is really appreciated. Um thanks to the live streaming, the public got a firsthand view of how some of the district leaders and board members really think about parents. I was in shock while watching the live-streaming last month and I couldn’t help but gasp and chuckle when one of the district administrators turned to the cameras, after returning from closed session and asked if they were being recorded. Yes, it was live-streaming. Then a board member makes a rude remark about a parent who was in attendance earlier. And there was much laughter. Wow. Just wow. Certainly was not a professional moment for all involved. It was pretty embarrassing, and pretty telling.
As board members, you are elected officials. Elected officials are in place to represent the people who elected them. You are not in place to protect a superintendent or to do as constantly instructed by a law firm. As elected officials, the citizens may reach out to you at any point. They deserve for you to listen. You also have a duty to the parents and community members in this district. Laughing at and mocking them is quite unseemly and extremely very unprofessional.
Texas Association of School Boards is a tax-payer funded lobbying organization. Maybe you don’t realize all of this, but this organization is not at all popular with Conservative political groups in Texas. The organization is the one training this board. There are other organizations available. The law firm you are currently using is training this board with these trainings that are not at all designed to be pro-parent. I think each of you should look into this and consider other options and remember that each of you has been elected to represent the people and not this organization. You should also take a serious look at yourselves and consider if making fun of parents is part of your job duties.
Thank you for your time.
One of the district administrators turned to the cameras, after returning from closed session and asked if they were being recorded.
Joshua ISD Board Meetings are live streamed and posted on the JISD website. During the October 17, 2022 School Board Meeting, the live stream was unintentionally left on when the Board exited from Closed Session and before reconvening into Open Session. Ms. Head states that an administrator turned to the cameras after returning from closed session and asked “if they were being recorded”. This is untrue. Ms. Head is making a statement not based on facts because there is no video recording at this time only an audio recording. It is true that an administrator did ask another administrator, “we’re not on, are we?”
Then a board member makes a rude remark about a parent who was in attendance earlier.
On October 17, 2022, an insulated cup was left in the Board Room in a row where two parents sat during the Open Session of the Board Meeting. When the Board exited from Closed Session and before reconvening into Open Session, there was a conversation between some district administrators and board members regarding who would get the cup back to the parent. The District does not dispute that a conversation took place about returning the cup to this parent and this is evident because the District has not modified or removed any of this recorded meeting.
Laughing at and mocking them is quite unseemly and extremely very unprofessional.
It is true that there is laughing on the video, but it is untrue that there was laughing “at” any parents.
It is untrue that a Board Member mocked parents. It is true that a board member stated they said “redundant” at a previous Board Meeting in regards to a parent’s public forum speech. This parent has spoken at nearly every Board Meeting since December 2021 continuing to claim the District is doing nothing in regards to bullying. The District has many bullying prevention activities that take place throughout the school year. The district developed the Higher Heights committee that encompasses parent representatives from each school within the district to discuss bullying prevention activities, and the district investigates all allegations of bullying when they are brought forth. The determination of bullying does not change the fact that the district acts according to their Student Code of Conduct. All students who violate the Student Code of Conduct are addressed and issued the appropriate discipline. This discipline includes and ranges from Lunch Detention, In School Suspension, Out of School Suspension, to placement in the District Alternative Education Program (DAEP) depending on the nature of the violation. As previously stated, the District takes bullying prevention very seriously and is constantly working to improve its procedures to eliminate acts of bullying and put resources in place for individuals to feel safe coming forward with allegations of bullying. The District believes it is making great strides at addressing these issues, however a select handful of parents continue to file largely unsubstantiated complaints that the District has continued to investigate and respond to throughout the past year. Since April of 2022, JISD has spent approximately $30,855.43 in legal fees on one of these parents and $43,373.42 in legal fees on the other parent, mostly related to bullying prevention and allegations.
Texas Association of School Boards is a tax-payer funded lobbying organization. Maybe you don’t realize all of this, but this organization is not at all popular with Conservative political groups in Texas.
TASB has an outstanding reputation across the state of Texas and serves approximately 1000 school districts in Texas. Without regard to TASB’s popularity with any particular political group, TASB provides a valuable service to this District and other districts across the state.
The law firm you are currently using is training this board with these trainings that are not at all designed to be pro-parent.
The Law Firm that Joshua ISD uses is Leasor Crass, whose main practice area is school law. The District uses this law firm to provide legal advice and assist in situations that deal with complex laws and statutes, as well as in instances where litigation or legal action is likely. This Law Firm ensures the District and its policies and procedures are in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws and stakeholder requirements. The firm also provides board and employee trainings that are created in accordance with TASB and TEA requirements. Trainings provided to the Board are part of an ongoing effort to be sure the Board is aware of any changes in the law that may occur and provide tools to act consistently with those laws. All District and Board actions are done with the best interests of the students and the District as a whole in mind.
Remember that each of you has been elected to represent the people and not this organization. You should also take a serious look at yourselves and consider if making fun of parents is part of your job duties.
This statement is not an accurate representation of the duties and responsibilities of members of the Board of Trustees. A School Board Member is elected to represent the community, the parents, the students, the staff and most importantly the District as a whole.
As previously stated, the Joshua ISD School Board did not make fun of or mock any parents. Every School Board Member takes their job as a Board Member very seriously.