Shortly after he acquired arrested for talking out at a college board assembly final yr, a Texas father filed a grievance with the college board, which lastly put that grievance on the agenda for a gathering final Thursday. But after the daddy waited for practically 4 hours for the board to provide his case a listening to, a number of members publicly recused themselves and the board declared it didn’t have a quorum to listen to the difficulty.
“This belongs in a communist nation, not in America,” Jeremy Story, a father of seven whose kids attend or attended public faculties within the Spherical Rock Impartial Faculty District, informed The Day by day Sign on Monday.
Story informed The Day by day Sign that the Spherical Rock college board dismissed his grievance with a view to silence his considerations. Board President Amber Feller denied any such intention in her personal remarks to The Day by day Sign.
Feller insisted that the college district’s authorized division—relatively than the board president—schedules the listening to of grievances and that she has “no enter” on such selections.
Nonetheless, one other board member, Danielle Weston, countered Feller’s declare, insisting that the board president has authority over its conferences.
Police arrested Story on Sept. 17, 2021, on a misdemeanor cost of hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct. The cost dates to the earlier Aug. 16, when Story raised considerations about Colleges Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez, who on the time confronted allegations of household violence in an software for a protecting order (redacted model out there right here).
In keeping with publicly out there footage of the assembly, Amy Weir, then president of the Spherical Rock Impartial Faculty District Board of Trustees, warned Story not to talk about “one thing apart from D1 or D2” on the assembly’s agenda.
Story responded: “I’ll present you the way what I’m about to touch upon is said to that.”
Weir twice interrupted Story, saying, “No, I don’t want you to exhibit … ” Nonetheless, she agreed to let him communicate. But as quickly as Story stated, “Our superintendent has a protecting order … ,” Weir nodded to Spherical Rock college district law enforcement officials, who escorted Story out of the constructing.
Story, together with one other Texas father, Dustin Clark, argues that Weir was desiring to silence him. Weir categorically denied this declare.
Weir informed Fox Information that “there has by no means been an try and silence Mr. Story.” Following regular process, she stated, Story wrote on a card indicating what he would say within the assembly, and he wrote that “not like the board, residents are usually not required to talk on gadgets on the agenda,” indicating that “he was planning to talk on a subject not listed for the assembly.”
Story filed a grievance with the college board on Sept. 4, 2021. The board famous it as “filed” on Sept. 16, the day earlier than police arrested Story.
Story referenced a “protecting order” to debate the claims of a girl who recognized herself as Azaiez’s girlfriend from September 2018 to December 2020 after which from February to June 2021. In her software for a protecting order, the lady claimed that when she informed Azaiez that she was pregnant along with his youngster, he demanded that she get an abortion. When she refused, she stated, he assaulted her in her residence, which put her in peril of miscarrying.
The lady additionally claimed that she overheard Azaiez “plotting” with Weir about hiding sure issues from different college board members.
In a textual content message chain concerning the scenario included within the software for the protecting order, Azaiez wrote: “For the final time I’m telling you please get an abortion[;] you don’t know what you’re getting your self into. I’ll make you pay this[,] you’ll not make me lose the whole lot … Don’t make me go after you and make you pay the implications for you and this child.”
Mary Nix, the lawyer representing Azaiez, famous that “all functions for protecting orders, together with the one to which you refer, include ‘allegations’ that are unproven and are usually not ‘info.’”
“As I succinctly acknowledged in a January 5, 2022 press launch, now we have goal proof that the alleged assault, which is the genesis of this controversy, didn’t happen and we consider that proof to be incontrovertible,” Nix stated.
In her Jan. 5 press launch, Nix wrote that “the non-public dispute between Dr. Azaiez and the third-party complainant was amicably resolved and there’s a confidential settlement settlement. An agreed-upon civil restraining order was entered into by and between Dr. Azaiez and the complainant.”
Story and Clark filed a federal lawsuit in opposition to the Spherical Rock college district in Could, claiming that their First and Fifth Modification rights have been violated. Story informed The Day by day Sign that he and Clark are including to the lawsuit because the story continues.
The agenda for the college board assembly final Thursday, Oct. 13, contains this merchandise for a closed (personal) session: “Pursuant to Texas Authorities Code Sections 551.071 and 551.074, the Board will focus on, deliberate and take into account the general public criticism filed by Jeremy Story.”
Story informed The Day by day Sign that through the closed session, which doesn’t seem within the publicly out there video of the assembly, board members recused themselves, then concluded that they didn’t have a quorum to contemplate his grievance. Board members once more recused themselves when the assembly resumed publicly, and Feller, the board president, moved to conclude the assembly.
“This strengthens our federal lawsuit by as soon as once more demonstrating the continued pattern and premeditated intent of those malfeasant 5 board members to silence the free speech rights of fogeys who’re important of the board,” Story informed The Day by day Sign.
“They egregiously stopped me from talking lawfully a yr in the past, subsequently unlawfully catalyzed my arrest and jailing, and at the moment are making an attempt to maintain me from my lawful proper to have a listening to earlier than them about their wrongful actions,” he stated Monday.
Story stated that Weir and Feller, together with board members Cory Vessa and Tiffanie Harrison, “have finished this to cowl up the unethical acts of a superintendent they unlawfully employed.”
“The board president doesn’t set the agenda for grievances,” Feller informed The Day by day Sign in a cellphone interview Monday. She stated grievances are “dealt with completely by our authorized division” and that “we don’t have something to do with the scheduling of them.”
Feller added that, as president, she has “no enter on authorized division scheduling.” She added that the authorized division has gone by many modifications up to now yr with non permanent basic counsels, and she or he advised that these modifications could account for the delay.
But the official college board coverage seems to contradict this declare.
In keeping with the “Native Coverage” in Part BE of the Board Coverage Handbook, “The Board President Could name particular conferences” such because the assembly Oct. 13. The coverage additionally states that board members should submit agenda gadgets to the president in writing, and the president will approve or deny the request.
“Given the pending litigation Mr. Story has in opposition to some trustees, I used to be stunned at how poorly his grievance has been dealt with in some ways,” Weston, a board member, informed The Day by day Sign. “My statement is that, as our insurance policies expressly point out, the board president alone has the statutory authority to schedule board conferences and place gadgets on the agenda.”
“In February of this yr, an affiliate of Feller and Weir filed a grievance in opposition to me and the board heard it eight days later,” Weston added. “It stays a thriller why Mr. Story was made to attend 13 months to have his grievance heard.”
Feller additionally defended the board’s choice to retain Azaiez as superintendent, noting that the Texas Training Company, the Travis County Sheriff’s Workplace, and an impartial investigator with the college district every closed investigations of the superintendent.
The investigator, Ann Dixon, concluded that Azaiez couldn’t be efficient in his function.
“Based mostly on my collective reality findings and understanding of the legal guidelines and guidelines of an educator in Texas, I did state Dr. Azaiez in my view couldn’t come again into his place and be efficient,” Dixon wrote March 8, about two weeks earlier than the college board reinstated the superintendent.
“I consider that he has confirmed her unsuitable,” Feller stated, arguing that Azaiez additionally has proved himself to be efficient.
Neither the spokeswomen for the college district nor Nix, Azaiez’s lawyer, responded to The Day by day Sign’s requests for remark by publication time.
Have an opinion about this text? To hold forth, please e-mail [email protected] and we’ll take into account publishing your edited remarks in our common “We Hear You” function. Bear in mind to incorporate the url or headline of the article plus your title and city and/or state.