Archive for June, 2012

A Kingdom built on intimidation

I know there is usually a longer time in between my posts so don’t get used to the idea that you will be getting a new one every couple of days.  My earlier blog originally contained today’s work but I was advised that it would be to long and people wouldn’t read through to the end.  I didn’t want you to miss out on the chance to see some of the basic foundations that make up the character of the man running the district and the environment he has created.  I know again it isn’t the most scandalous of issues within the district (we will get to those too, I promise).

Our order of business today deals with King Dugger, also known as Gary Dugger, the superintendent of the district.  I will admit to you that unlike Dr. Mike Walker, the president of the school board, I do not have a law degree from an online university.  Not having that online law degree, I can’t personally tell you whether or not this particular action of His Highness is considered illegal.  I will tell you that I found it to be troubling in the least and severely unethical in the highest aspects.  During the opening convocation back when Rick Perry was running for Governor again in 2010 Gary Dugger made a statement to the entire gathered community of educators.  He declared that we “needed to vote all the Republicans out of office” in November.  I am not sure if that is illegal for him to say.  It wasn’t a joke or opinion.  It wasn’t a question or even just a statement.  It was a command, because he had just stated the poor state of education and the budget issues in Texas.  I know that it crossed the line because the following year, this last year’s convocation he made a statement in which he said, “Dr. Walker has made me promise to not make any political declarations this year.”

It shouldn’t matter if you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or Unconcerned as to who he was declaring for the staff to remove from office.  What should concern everyone is that fact that it was said at all.  This creates quite a hostile type environment when the leader of a place as big as this district makes such a statement.  Those who would disagree would begin to feel uncomfortable or even threatened solely on their own political views.  It creates almost an underground society where fear that you will be judged or looked down upon because of a differing opinion.  It creates a kingdom of intimidation.  One man’s opinion, view, or politics reigns supreme because he holds your job and your future in his hands.  I can tell you from personal experience and from testimony of others that Gary Dugger can be a vindictive man if he feels you have crossed him or not agreed with him.  He is a bully.

I find it funny that a Superintendent is such an intimidating, bullying man when we are living in an age where people are adamantly fighting to get bullying out of our schools.  During various convocations he has exerted this exact image and demeanor.  During one year when there was much grumbling and unhappiness among teachers (because of the environment of fear and intimidation was prevalent throughout the district) he reminded all of us that for only 1 position at an elementary school (a kindergarten teacher if I remember correctly) the district had over 2,000 applicants to apply.  This was a clear shot to the concept that if you won’t do as we say or like what we do, teachers are a dime a dozen and you can be replaced.  During the disagreement over the removal of the G/T program and the complete and utter destruction of the ESL program we were advised not to pick a side or speak out.  Of course those things were never emailed or officially stated because that would be illegal.  Those things were passed on from one to another in the great waring against “rocking the boat.”  We were to play the “game” as older teachers advised because of the understood threat of the consequences for disagreeing with His Majesty Dugger and Her Highness Furman.

It’s not by coincidence that the moral and job satisfaction for teachers who have been in the district longer than 5 or 6 years continues to drop.  People who loved this district and loved the family feeling they got from working in Kennedale routinely whisper of how it’s changed.  They talk about the dictatorship and fear of losing their jobs for any little reason so that the administration can just replace them with a “yes” man robot who will do their bidding without question.  Some of the greatest teachers are hunkering down and losing the style and personalities in the classroom that translated into success for their students and instead are just counting the days until retirement.  They are hoping not to offend the wrong administration royalty or their stoolie and be forced out of their job before they can afford to.

Under Gary Dugger’s leadership and Karen Furman’s tyranny this small town, family oriented district has become WW II occupied France.  Disagreement isn’t allowed.  Fear of executions (firing) abounds and a gray sense of hopelessness has descended upon each campus.  Dissatisfaction is only whispered about among others you know you can trust not to rat you out to the “Thought Police.”  Conform or die has taken over from the innovation and out of the box teaching that moved this district from just an acceptable place to it’s recognized status.  That effort wasn’t because of the latest boxed program Karen bought at a conference because Highland Park uses it.  It wasn’t because of a pay raise offered by the school board in its perpetual cycle of abusive boyfriend behavior.  This innovation came because teachers created programs and teaching styles to fill in the gaps and the needs of the students.  Thinking outside the box and questioning why things are done a certain way and then changing them to meet the current need of Kennedale’s  students (not whoever created Karen’s latest conference program buying spree) is what got the district’s ratings up.

For the last two years Gary Dugger has stood before the staff and demanded that Kennedale will be Exemplary.  His tone, the manner in which he presents this statement every year isn’t an encouragement.  It is a threat.  The only word he leaves out of his statement to finish it properly based on his attitude and tone are the words “or else”.  Pretty harsh environment to work in when you aren’t allowed to work outside the lines of the programs forced down the districts throat by Karen’s fascist leadership.

I will finish up my current examples of how a culture and environment of bullying and intimidation has crept into this district through Gary Dugger and Karen Furman’s leadership by showing you how one of the most promising administrators himself has been changed.  When Rick Edwards first moved into the administration from being the principal at Kennedale High School he was one of the most encouraging and positive people in a leadership role in this district.  He was understanding and accepting.  He identified with the teacher’s needs and struggles because it wasn’t that long ago he was on the front lines with them doing the battles everyday to help the students succeed.  Most felt he was on a clear and direct path into being the next superintendent for Kennedale ISD.  I can tell you that the character of the man he was when he first entered that administration office would have made him, probably, the greatest leader to move Kennedale into the future while still holding onto all the great small town things that made Kennedale an ideal place to live and work.

Rick isn’t that man anymore.  After being shunted off into just being the paperwork administrator when Karen gobbled up every program, grade level, and anything else to do with actual running of the district (except of course the toilets, we already discussed Biondi’s area was beneath her interest); Rick changed.  It was probably out of the simple necessity to survive in the now hostile administration environment he found himself in, but he changed none the less.  His smile went from being honestly concerned and genuine to a forced painted on facade.  His character went from inviting to calloused and harsh.  Maybe he began to believe the hype up among the ruling class.  Maybe he began to think of himself as above or better than the rest.  I know he declared his time too precious and valuable when confronted by disagreeing opinions in a Kennedale foundation meeting this last school year.  How funny that his time (that he was getting paid for anyway) was more important and valuable than the VOLUNTEERS who are on the foundation board.  Guess he drank the Kool-aide with the rest of them.  He has adopted the arrogant, overly self important, hostile attitude the rest of them have.  It is the saddest out of all the things to come from the kingdom of intimidation created by Their Highnesses Dugger and Furman.

The biggest tragedy of all, though, is the fact that this happened at all.  You see it isn’t like there wasn’t a way to fix it before it got this bad.  The school board members have been told on more than one occasion just from myself of the treatment and environment that exists in Kennedale (and I know others have expressed it too).  They are the Checks and Balance to the administration.  Instead of changing the environment through oversight of the harsh retaliations and atmospheres of fear spread by the bullying, they have checked out (unless there is a personal aspect for them in it [Cheerleadergate 2011 for instance]).  They act as though they are subservient to the district’s administration when in fact they are above them in the chain of command.  The administrators work for the school board who was voted in to represent the public.  Until the school board decides to hold Gary Dugger, Karen Furman, Rick Edwards, Mark Biondi, and all those who work with them accountable there will not be positive change.  The board again uses the abusive boyfriend relationship model of behavior.  They allow the staff and workers to be abused and then clear the conscience by offering a pay raise at the beginning of the next year.  I can only assume they are hoping the teachers and staff will forget the abuse they have been dealing with while the board turned a blind eye.  They pat themselves on the back by saying “See we treat our people well.  They are better paid than others around them.”  The entire time ignoring the glaring kingdom of intimidation that has taken root under their noses.


Inappropriate Leadership

Welcome Back, and to those of you who are joining us for the first time I say, just “welcome to the party.”  I had hoped after giving a little bit of time for common sense to set in that the Kennedale ISD and school board would finally choose to do the right thing by myself and my family and I would not have to escalate to the point of beginning the process of exposing their actions and dirty little secrets.  As I predicted in my earlier post they have chosen to cut off their nose to spite their face.  This was never the way I wanted to deal with this, but now I am left with no other option.  I will begin today with the actions by a leader within the district that isn’t as big a deal to some, but I want you to see the ground work that it lays out.  Today’s revelations aren’t too big on the scandalous scale but they show just how deep this “culture of corruption”, goes, to use a recent political saying.

Our first example of horrible and inappropriate leadership will deal with one of the women that began the whole charade against me.  I have already shown that Myra Rickard was a willing and complicit co-conspirator in the districts retaliation and railroading me on bogus accusations, but for the good of those who just joined us I will give a quick summary of my opinion of why she acted the way she did.  You see, Myra has always wanted to be on the “In” crowd.  She has her group of girl friends from school back in the 60s that are just the best of the besties and she fought hard to be in that group.  She didn’t get in on her brains like Wanda Hibbits or her looks like Rhonda Barnes, but she was one of them anyway.  She enjoyed that idea of being in the “elite” group within the community.  The “It” girls.  Well, Karen Furman had been creating her own little coalition of “It” girls ever since she clawed her way into her throne of power within the administration building.  She has thrown promotions to several of her “friends” (Jan Cleere who was elevated to “District testing coordinator” was not only her next door neighbor when teaching but is also her 50/50 business partner in the daycare, IZONE, run out of the districts own buildings for personal profit).  Karen has created her own little bubble of girl power.  You will notice that she has not hired a single man into any of the principal positions that have come up during her tenure as the all powerful person in charge of everything, except of course the paperwork (Rick Edwards was sidelined as the presumptive next superintendent into that black hole of a position the minute Karen set her sights on being the successor to King Dugger) and the toilets (Mark Biondi is more than happy to just get the super high paycheck while doing as little real work as possible, while his old college roommate is still King of the district).

You see, Myra saw how Karen ruled this district with the micromanaging, heavy handed, self interested, iron fist that would have made Hitler and Mussolini turn green with envy.  Myra also noticed that she was not a part of the inner circle of girl power rising up within this district.  Being the good Baptist and clique member that she is, Myra felt the innate desire to be within the circle of power too.  This is where her slobbering love affair with gaining Karen’s approval began.  She needed it, whether for job security (we all know what happens when you oppose the Empress of KISD, just look at what they did to me) or a desire for more power.  Myra in my opinion really and truly thought that once Karen ran Danny Greenfield off she would be right in line for his job and the nice bump in pay for when she was ready to retire.  Getting rid of me has been a pretty obvious goal of Karen’s since I ruffled her feathers by exposing her G/T program not meeting state requirements back around 2007.  What better way to solidify her standing and get in the good graces of Karen than to serve me up on a platter.  Apparently Myra wasn’t concerned that the platter involved lies and distortions from a mentally unstable, jealous liar who has a history of accusing people of things and spreading lies.  She ratcheted up the issue anyway.  You’ll notice that Myra put in her notice of retirement right when she got back from Christmas break.  Bet you can’t imagine why.  Oh I am sure she will say it is because her husband has been ill or almost died and she needed to spend more time with him.  I will tell you what the truth probably is.  I didn’t just walk away quietly.  Karen Furman and Gary Dugger weren’t able to bully and threaten my into disappearing without exposing to the public what was going on (not that they didn’t try).  So in the end someone was going to have to answer for it.  Someone if everything really hit the fan and the media or the public rose up demanding a head roll for this egregious over reach and abuse of power was going to have to be the sacrificial lamb.  Neither Karen nor Dugger would be that lamb.  It would fall on the lowest man on the totem pole.  You guessed it, Myra would be the one voted off the island.  In her attempt to gain favor all she did was leave herself open to being the sacrifice when it all didn’t go as planned.  She saw the writing on the wall and cut her losses.  I can tell you she has repeatedly stated she wasn’t leaving until Danny left.  You’ll notice he’s still there.  So that only leaves you to assume she left earlier than she wanted.  But enough about the history of why Myra Rickard chose her ambition over doing the right thing and my family that she has known for over 50 years.

Let’s instead talk about how she has repeatedly broken the law over the last few years!  I bet that sentence grabbed your attention.  I can personally say that I have witnessed several times when Myra’s actions did not follow with the laws and policies of the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  One of the reasons she may have soured on her view of me over the years, besides rubbing her power crush Karen the wrong way, is the fact that I pointed out when I felt things weren’t right for our students.  The TEA, several years ago, placed requirements on how much time 6th grade students spent in P.E.  Based on the law each 6th grader is required around 30 minutes of P.E. every day.  They are not allowed to count any kind of recess or activity like that as part of their P.E. time.  As the vice principal of a school it is her job to be aware of these types of requirements and make sure any action she takes is within these laws.  No matter how many things are on your plate or all that is required of you, she chose the position and the pay increase and therefor must meet the responsibilities of the job.  I can personally and confidently state that with at least 2 of my former students, Myra Rickard placed them in tutoring during their P.E. times because they failed their benchmark testing.  I can say that because on both of those occasions I had to go to her and point out these students had complained to me that they weren’t getting to go to PE anymore.  The question that should then pop into your mind should be “how many 6th grade students weren’t getting their required PE time and no one noticed because the kids didn’t complain about it?”.  The next question you should ask yourself is “If she was willing to ignore the laws on this matter what other laws did she ignore or over look during her tenure as vice principal?”.

I can honestly say that when I brought up the fact that at least one of these particular students needed PE because they were very ADDish and it helped them make it through the rest of the day by getting that energy out, she was very irritated with me.  She came across as angry and a bit confrontational about having to even address my concern.  I remember her talking about how hard it was to keep up with those kinds of details for so many students and that they had to be in tutoring if there was a chance for them to pass the TAKS test in the spring.  Scores were more important than checking to make sure that each student wasn’t being shortchanged on their legal rights to PE.  I would love to tell you that she kept those two students out of PE anyway, but she didn’t.  I know that at least one of them to best of my memory did eventually go back to PE and had their tutoring at a later time.  That begs the question though of how many students over the last few years didn’t get to go to PE?

Some of you are probably wondering why this matters.  One, it shows that keeping scores up and the administration happy was more important than the needs of the students.  It also shows that one of the leaders within this district was either choosing not to check to fully keep in compliance with the law, or that she was just not competent enough to have been in that role to begin with.  If something as simple as not scheduling kids to miss their PE was overlooked and ignored when it comes to laws the district is supposed to comply with, what other deviations from the law have they taken?  As long as they don’t get caught or no one ask questions what is there to keep them from continuing to subvert the rule of law for their own benefit?  Maybe this is why the administration and school board rally against anyone who asks questions or presses them for any real information at all.

I can personally attest to the fact that though within their legal abilities the district is currently making it difficult to obtain various pieces of information through the Open Records Requests I have begun.  I will admit that so far they have stayed within the lines of the law, but I will tell you that they are not helpful in obtaining information.  The semantics and word games you have to play to get the types of information you need I would guess toe the line of legality very closely.  For a public organization, I find it funny that they are very difficult to get transparency and records from.  I am also finding it very interesting that there seems to be a lot of paperwork that should be on file that doesn’t exist (or maybe I just didn’t hold my nose just right and call the report or the list the correct title to make them call “uncle” and hand it over).  If they have nothing to hide why be so secretive and not more workable with requests.  Again I am not accusing them of breaking the law and not providing required paperwork by playing games (yet), but I will admit to you that they are not making it an easy process either.

It Begins…

Hello friends, family, curious onlookers, pious Kennedale ISD administrators and school board members.  I know that it has been some time since my last post, but I can promise you that things will begin to roll much faster now that my contractual obligations to KISD have ended with the end of this current school year.  There are no longer any ties that bind me to the administrators and their flagrant abuse of power and so I am now free to begin what I had previously promised I would do if they chose not to do the right thing.  It saddens me that Gary Dugger, Rick Edwards, Karen Furman, Mike Walker, and Joe Taylor’s egos have kept them from being able to handle things in an adult and moral manner.  You see, all I was looking for was my public exoneration and an apology to myself and my family for what they perpetrated against us.  Neither myself nor my family wanted to sue them for their misdeeds and their clear abuse of power in what can only be described now as retaliation against me for speaking out and not being the “Stepford teacher” and sheep that they prefer to employ in this district.  We just wanted them to admit, (what anyone who knows the actual truth about the matter and not the lies the district personnel involved put out there to justify their actions) admit I hadn’t done anything wrong and do it publicly since they in their actions have damned me publicly.  Secretly anyone who has dealt with these people before probably knew what I always knew.  There was never going to be an apology now matter how wrong they were in what they did and how they did it.  They can’t conceive any idea that they are wrong.  In the way they view the world and how they lead, the ends always justify the means.  For them, they got exactly what they wanted.  I resigned and they are now free to hire someone who will not choose the best interests of the students over the kingdom building and power mongering that is at the heart of how Kennedale ISD is run.  Don’t believe me?  We will get into their all out assaults and character assassinations (not as citizens but as the actual leadership entities of this district) in a later post.  I promise it will be a doozy!

On a side note, I can’t begin to express my amazement in the overwhelming response to my call for more stories and evidence of questionable behavior by school board members and district administrators.  I can assure all of you that I will be following up on many of the things you have sent me.  Even I was shocked at some of the details and evidence provided of things taking place within this district.  (  keep it coming!!)

Lets begin with a brief overview of how things got to this point before I move on to where we go from here.  I am not going to go over a detailed list of what they tried to accuse me of and defend myself issue by issue because their whole accusation has already been repudiated by more than one person at the school board meeting in December of 2011.  It was shown that by the whole way they handled the situation that this was nothing more than a strong armed, abuse of power to force me out of my classroom.  It began with accusations to which there was no substantiation, made by a woman who is barely holding her own life together.  In her jealousy and (in my opinion) fragile mental state she made accusations against me that dealt with a family that I had been helping through some tough things.  These people are very amazing Christians and are like family to myself and the rest of my family.  The accusations would have been dismissed after the parents expressed their outrage at how this vindictive woman was trying to hurt all of us for her own personal reasons, except someone within the administration saw this as an opportunity  get rid of me (in my opinion, because the facts of how things played out after this point don’t add up to any other logical conclusion, but you decide).  This wouldn’t be the first time that someone in the administration had wanted me out of my job.  I had a run in with Karen Furman several years ago over her G/T program (or legally lack there of) at the junior high (again a topic we will see in a future post).  So, after 24 hours they announced the investigation was over and they were going to seek my termination.  This announcement came after quite a bit of lying, bullying, threatening, and other behavior that’s normally considered inappropriate at a school, but I guess the adults running it don’t have to lead by example on those matters.

We told them we would take it and fight it with a public hearing, though they kept insisting they wanted this handled quietly.  Once it was clear that I would not just resign on the spot (because I didn’t do anything wrong and even the family they were trying to use was standing behind me in all matters) they began to back away from the termination talk.  They wanted a resignation deal or they also floated the concept of just keeping me on “leave” until my contract ran out so they wouldn’t have to make a decision on the matter.  The decision would either mean firing me (at which point I would get an actually legal hearing and defense against their bogus accusations) or putting me back in my classroom.  They chose the coward’s way out and left me on “leave”.  You see once this went to an actual hearing they would have been exposed for just exactly what they were doing.  This began to raise some serious questions.  If through their threats I had done something wrong, inappropriate, illegal, then why did they not notify both the police which they had a legal 48 hour requirement to do or even CPS again a legal requirement of 48 hours?  That is easy to answer:  1. Once turned over to either of these places and the decision of guilt or innocence was no longer in their hands it would be determined by that agency and 2. Knowingly making a false police report and accusation is a crime.  But keeping it all in house made sure they wouldn’t end up being exposed for the liars and manipulators they are.

So now we come to the issue of  Due Process.  You see when an incident occurs in a company, school, organization and an investigation is triggered there is supposed to be a process so that the accused has the ability to defend themselves.  I was never given this opportunity.  I have never received an official answer to the investigation.  I have been given no ability to refute the findings or publicly seek an appeal of the process.  By keeping me on leave they short changed my chance to expose the whole charade.  But by doing so they have also left it just hanging in the public realm that I did something wrong and left me no public way to seek exoneration.  If they were in the right, then why deny me this opportunity?  Cowardice!  That’s why they chose what they have done in handling it this way.  Once exposed for what it was someone would have to answer for this egregious abuse of position and power ( and I don’t just mean Myra Rickard’s early retirement for being the idiot that got the ball rolling with Viola’s lies).  One of them would have to be fired for over extending their hand in this matter.  To this day I have not been exonerated or terminated for the issue.  They just put me in a closet, turned out the lights and tried to act as if I never existed within this district.  Their hope is that in the end people will just assume I did something wrong.  The whispers created by the void of publicly revealed truth will fill in the holes and of course it will be in their favor, because they will use the line “we make all decisions for the safety of all our students”  I think that is usually the party line when they are trying to stop you from asking any further questions into their actions.  Or it might be “we are not looking to divide the district but find partners who will help us find ‘consensus’.  Another great ploy to keep you from seeing the man behind the curtain pulling the strings or what questionable actions he or she or they are involved in.

Then I am sure you would like for me to talk about the issue with the school board.  The final say, the big Kahuna, the people who actually have the power to do all and deal with all things that happen in the district with no limitations.  Don’t let them fool you, they could have taken care of this in an instant and set it right (had they wanted to).  In fact the suspicious way in which they conducted themselves makes me think (in my opinion) that at least a few of them knew all along what the end goal was.  Shortly before the December school board meeting my family members were approached by parents of students I had taught that wanted to know what was going on.  The district was silent on the issue and I wasn’t talking to anyone because I had basically been threatened to stay quiet or “it would show a lack of character on my part and would make things worse for me” I believe was one of the many strongly worded and emphasized pieces of advice given by one administrator or another.  I am sure they would tell you that wasn’t a threat… but from where I was sitting that is exactly how it felt and sounded.  So I cut myself off from my coworkers for fear that they would be retaliated against if I talked to them or they knew the whole extent of what was happening.  I am sure the district would point out that retaliation is against the law and they don’t engage in that behavior.  Well, I guess how you view retaliation depends on your definition of it and from what point of view you are seeing it.  But there again that is my interpretation of how they have behaved and my opinion of how the facts line out.  I can name a few names of former teachers and employees who might also have a different view of what constitutes retaliation too.  But there again you need a school board that will hold an administration accountable to those issues and sadly that might interrupt Joe Taylor and Mike Walker’s “consensus”.

The school board sat.  Some of them listened.  What was their response?  They used their lawyer the next day to fire off a demand letter and what my family felt was a veiled threat against all of us.  They demanded I accept this horrible resignation deal that would have kept me from ever attending a Kennedale school function for the rest of my life without getting personal permission from Gary Dugger (even after I was no longer an employee mind you.) or face termination.  Now you might not know this but my father’s family has been in the Kennedale community since 1954.  I have many relatives who still live there.  It is ridiculous for them to demand that I get permission to go to my little cousin’s graduation in 10 years.  If there was an issue that meant I was some sort of danger then they should have contacted the police!  What they wanted was to keep me from being a visual reminder to the community that they used their power and a do nothing school board to get rid of me for personal reason and not legitimate ones.  I won’t even get into the threats against my Teaching certificate or how very dismal any kind of recommendation for a future job was going to be with these people based on their resignation agreement they wanted me to sign.  Why would anyone agree to sign something that basically treated them like they were guilty when even the school wasn’t able to legally terminate them for any guilty reason.  I said no.

With me saying “No” you are probably wondering how I ended up resigning anyway.  Let me explain.  You see with their demand letter and in continuing statements through the district’s lawyer they kept saying the same phrase or something similar.  They (the lawyer on behalf of the district) kept saying to my attorney that the Board and Administration blames Amber (my sister) and my family for rallying the community behind me and putting out there what the whole issue was about.  Now, my family and I took this as a threat because it was expressed to us more than once.  If the district was in the right and I was in the wrong and had actually done something why would they care if the public knew or even if they initially rallied behind me?  All they would have to do is fire me, go through the public hearing, expose whatever sorted ordeal they claimed and walk away looking clean while I would look like a lying horrible criminal.  They were mad because my family exposed them for what they were doing.  They were angry that their act wasn’t done in secret and there would be questions.  We all know how much they don’t want the public to ever question them.  It was during the week that the date had been set for my signing the resignation agreement or face termination that we were once again confronted from my lawyer with the statement that The district and specifically the board blamed Amber for going public with my fight.  The day of the deadline two things happened: 1. A Kennedale ISD school board member came into my sister’s business acting extremely odd. 2. the district posted the agenda for their special meeting which stated they weren’t going for termination but for non-renewal of my contract for the next year.  I will address each point individually.

1.  When this board member contacted my sister to come in for an appointment, she had no idea who he was.  It’s not like my family had the school board members names and faces memorized and was on the look out for them.  Instead of calling her business number he had called for the appointment on her cell phone.  Odd but something like that can happen when a friend of Amber’s refers someone and all they have is her cell.  Amber agreed to a consultation appointment.  The man came in and his behavior was so out of the ordinary that the lady who works with my sister and the client that woman was working on became concerned for Amber’s safety.  The client wouldn’t have her treatment until the lady went and checked on Amber because she felt worried about Amber being alone with him.  Between his mannerism, attitude and the way he kept holding his backpack like some hidden recording device was in it, everyone in the office that night felt something wasn’t right.  It wasn’t until a few days later that Amber saw a picture and realized he was on the school board for Kennedale.  When contacting my lawyer Amber asked if she should be concerned and we were told yes, because the board has repeatedly expressed that they blame Amber for bringing all this forward and into the community.  When my brother in law contacted the man to express how inappropriate this was and that they would not be able to offer him services with what was going on between my family and the school district, the man acknowledged that he knew who Amber was and her connection to me when he made the initial consultation appointment.  Why would this happen.  My family and I have an opinion on the matter.  This particular board member shared in his “debate” recently that he is happy just being a “cog in the wheel” because there were others who take such leadership roles on the board and he was just happy to go along apparently.  So we believe based on what happened that he was sent to intimidate us.  I bet you can’t guess who we feel are the “leaders” on the board that he just follows along with.  Doesn’t seem like he would be a self starter on this kind of idea based on his own words.  Look at the “coincidence” of it.  The exact day I was supposed to sign a horrible agreement or face “the next step” in the process a board member who admittedly just follows orders and isn’t one of the “leaders” shows up acting suspicious at my sister’s place of business.  This was a day after again hearing that their lawyer had stated the board blamed Amber and were angry.  If it wasn’t intentional then that is some crazy unbelievable coincidence isn’t it.  I saw it as the district targeting my family.  It isn’t that big of a stretch really.  I mean look at how viscous Joe Taylor and Mike Walker are every election cycle when someone runs against a member of the board.  They attack, character assassinate, bully, and intimidate.  I can think of at least 3 elections where this behavior has taken place.  They always say its just part of the democratic process.  This is a lie.  If you are running on a platform of solid principles that resonates with the public then they will respond to it and vote for you based on the issue not on the starving, mangy dog fight you create.

2.  The move from termination to non-renewal of my contract was a last ditch effort to marginalize me and further hurt my future employment chances.  (Like at this point its going to just be a breeze to get a new job with what they have done and how they have treated me. Not to mention what will probably be said once an employer calls for my previous information.  I mean come on do you expect me to assume they will be ethical in that situation after all this?)  Terminating me (firing me) would allow me to again have a public hearing where an outside person who the district has no sway or influence over would come in and decide whether there was reason and merit to the termination.  So if they actually had cause to do what they have done, don’t you think this would be a no brainer for them?  Nope they chose the cowards move yet again.  They can almost for any reason deny a teacher a contract for the following year.  Texas is an at will employer state.  The level they have to show as to why it just isn’t a good fit is very, very low.  (Like I would have wanted to work for these people after all this anyway!)  It would only take them 4 votes out of the 7 to get it done.  I am sure it would have been done in one of their closed meetings so they didn’t have to own up to their vote.  I also love that in the whole process, I was never…. NEVER… allowed to address the board over the accusation.  Wouldn’t you as a board member want to hear everything and not just a report from one side of the issue, especially considering I had taught 3 out of the 7 board members’ children or grandchild and all of them had loved me as their teacher.  Wouldn’t you want to get this right and not make a mistake?  You see they will tell you oh there is a process and we have to do what the administration recommends.  That is bull!  The school board does not work for the administration.  The administration works at the behest of the school board.  They have full jurisdiction over all matters personnel or otherwise.  This was evident when Coach Johnson went through her ordeal with the cheerleading fiasco this last year.  Though slightly different in some aspects, it still shows that the school board is not impotent in its scope and power.  Again I am sure they chose to turn a blind eye in the name of “consensus” and the “good of all the students in their charge”, and ignore the need for doing the right thing if not just the moral thing (Several of them do claim to be strong Christian leaders).

After attacking my family with their little visitor and me logically assuming that they would not bother calling the meeting if they hadn’t already secured the votes to fall in their favor, I chose to resign on my own.  I did not sign their agreement.  My resignation meant that I would not have any restraints on me like their resignation agreement wanted.  I wouldn’t be banned from events or school properties.  I wouldn’t be gagged so I couldn’t speak out against their unethical actions.

Several things you should think about if you are still on the fence as to whether or not you believe me or the whispers I am sure started by the district leaders.  One is why would you pay a guilty man his salary for the rest of the school year and all the way through August?  If I did something wrong the law is in the school’s favor.  You don’t pay a guilty man.  You pay someone you want to go away but don’t have real legal grounds to get rid of.  If I did do something wrong wouldn’t this have been the best set up for me?  I would have been able to do something horrible and criminal or heinous and slip out quietly with no word as to being guilty and a paycheck until August. Why would I continue to speak out and draw attention to myself and the accusations if I had done something wrong?  Why is the family that was being used in the accusation by a crazy, unstable, unhinged (in my opinion mind you) third party standing up behind me and defending me?

Here is what I will say to answer all those questions that the district can’t answer.  It was never about the initial accusations of that mentally unstable woman.  Those accusations never had any grounds.  This has always been about forcing me out of my position as a teacher.  It was a power play.  I was never fighting the accusations, I was fighting the Administrators who saw this as their best opportunity to silence the one clear voice of opposition to their misdeeds and inappropriate kingdom building.  I have to say I am disappointed in myself.  I didn’t know the game that Dugger, Furman, and Edwards were playing when this all began.  If I had I would have exposed them in the media about their lies and abuse right away.  But I am quite aware of the game now.

My family and I are prepared for the long haul of this crusade.  We are aware how Joe Taylor, Mike Walker, Gary Dugger, Karen Furman, and Rick Edwards operate.  I can’t imagine they could character assassinate me worse than their actions have already done.  But their way of doing business is to attack the people they are after.  They bully, intimidate, lie, and assassinate their motives, character, and credibility.  I can’t even begin to assume how they will go after me and my family now.  Who knows what they will say about us?  There is no telling what lies or twisting of the truth they will make and disseminate throughout the people who hang on and buff their butts for them and tell them how great they are.  The masses who cling to them with faux adulation in the hopes not becoming the target of their next assault or of gaining an ounce of favor.  Is it too far a stretch to worry they would resort to physical attacks?  Their verbal ones during elections have been so viscous, vindictive, and without remorse that it makes you wonder just how far will they go to hold onto their kingdoms and their seats of power.  What would they do to make sure that nothing exposes them and harms the “consensus” they have done so much to keep?

I am not looking to save my job or receive any type of money for what happened.  I will seek the restoration of my reputation.  As long as they refuse to exonerate me and apologize publicly I will continue to fight to expose them for what they have done and who they are.  You see I have something they don’t have.  I have the clear conscience that I stand on the right side of this matter and I have nothing left to expose about it.  I have been honest and upfront about helping my friends when they were in need.  I have spent my whole life helping, giving and using whatever money I had to try and make the lives of the people around me happier and better.  If tomorrow they publicly exonerated me of this issue and apologized to me and my family, I would walk away and let the rest of the teachers fend for themselves because my dealings with these people would be over.  But, as long as they refuse to do what is right by me and my family I have no choice.  I will not rest, I will not waiver, and I will not stop until I have exposed all the things that need to be brought out into the light so the public can see the whole truth of who it is that is running the schools their children attend.  They used legal loopholes and cowardice to keep me from being able to seek justice for myself and my family in this process, but I have firm faith that God will hold them accountable.  I do not wish anything bad to happen to these people.  I only hope that they are publicly exposed for their misdeeds and behaviors.  I hope they are forced to see the looks on peoples faces. They should have to witness them whispering behind an open hand when they walk by, so they have some sense as to what my family and I have had to deal with since November of 2011.  They took my job, stole the good memories my former students had of our time together, and tarnished my reputation.  My hope and prayer is that God will return the favor upon them for their actual deeds and not based on malice and lies like they afforded me.

In the coming days and weeks we will begin our questioning of their behavior, actions, and decisions.  We will look at rumors, we will pinpoint truth, and we will expose what needs to be known.  The search for exposing TRUTH in this district begins.  It begins today.