I wrote in November for Chronicles about parents fighting against a Texas school district. Even deep in the heart of the Lone Star State, parents are up against mask mandates for their kids and much more.
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.
Danielle Weston was elected to Round Rock’s school board last November as an “advocate for basic American values,” but since Sept. 20 she has been fighting the resolutions of her fellow board members to strip her of the duties and powers bestowed upon her by voters for being a dissident. She says her legal defense has been costly and that Texas Republicans are nowhere to be found. “I can’t get anywhere with my state senator, or Greg Abbott,” she told me, referring to Republican State Sen. Charles Schwertner. “I told his office, I know Schwertner’s chief of staff, and she said, ‘Danielle, we don’t get involved in politics.’”
In this episode, I spoke with Dr. Mary Bone, one of the parents at the center of the fight. She is a trustee of the Round Rock Independent School District. Along with fellow trustee Weston, Bone has come under fire by the school district for advocating on behalf of parents.
Two other parent community organizers, Jeremy Story and Dustin Clark, were arrested at the behest of the school district. They think it was an attempt to silence them for their activism.
The Texas GOP has allowed this to go on with impunity. Republicans talk a lot about family values but do little to help real families when they are in real need.
I plan on interviewing everyone involved in the Round Rock scandal over the next few weeks. These interviews will be free because they deserve as wide an audience as possible.
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