Jan 16, 2022 • 54M

The Round Rock Interviews: Dustin Clark

When school districts harass and arrest parents.

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Dustin Clark joins me for this episode of Discourses, continuing the Round Rock saga. Like the previous one, this interview isn’t paywalled because it deserves as large an audience as it can get.

I wrote about Dustin in my story on Texas’ Potemkin village of conservatism. Here’s a quick recap from my article in Chronicles:

While the Texas GOP continues to dawdle, school boards are raising armies to enforce their policies. That’s not hyperbole. Officers from the Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) Police Department recently arrested two parents.

The arrests followed two separate incidents, CBS-affiliate KTVN reported. In the first case, Dustin Clark, a father and retired Army Captain, told the board that it was illegal for them to pass an unlawful tax increase while district police arbitrarily locked parents out of the meeting. In the second, Jeremy Story, a minister and father of seven, produced evidence that the board had covered up an alleged assault by the superintendent, Hafedh Azaiez, against a mistress. Story was physically prevented from finishing his remarks by police officers operating under orders from the school board president and the superintendent.

The day after the district claims they received Story’s formal legal grievance, he and Clark were simultaneously arrested at their homes, KTVN reported. Both were charged with “disorderly conduct with intent to disrupt a meeting” and jailed overnight at the Williamson County Jail. When NBC-affiliate KXAN asked both the Round Rock board and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office why a warrant was issued for the two parents instead of a citation, they referred reporters to the RRISD Police Department, even though court documents show the sheriff’s office was the arresting agency. In short, a school district’s police department coordinated with the sheriff’s department to arrest parents at their homes under orders from a school board.

Now here’s the latest update from Fox News:

Two Texas fathers who were arrested for allegedly disturbing meetings of the Round Rock Independent School District school board called on the county attorney to drop the charges against them in light of the school board vote to suspend Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez following a Texas Education Agency (TEA) recommendation.

The fathers had voiced concerns about Azaiez and one of them was arrested after speaking the words "protective order," referring to an order in a domestic case that led the TEA to recommend Azaiez's suspension pending an investigation.

"The Texas Education Agency vindicated me last week by calling for an investigation into Superintendent Azaiez," Jeremy Story, a father of seven children who lives in the district but whose children attend school outside it, told Fox News. "The TEA should expand their investigation into the errant board members who weaponized the police to silence me."

The TEA did not respond to Fox News' requests for comment.

Dustin, along with every other parent swept up in this mess, is doing critical work in Texas, largely without support from the Republican Party. I’m happy to help keep the spotlight on them.

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