PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

July 19, 2011

Grievance forms distributed in NISD via Facebook

NEDERLAND — Nederland ISD can expect a large pile of grievances from concerned parents after an emotional board meeting Monday night led to questions about child safety in the district.

During the meeting Amy Shultz, one of the concerned parents, asked the board to quickly transfer the student, “so that the children don’t have to walk the halls with a student” who the parents believe was involved in a sexual crime.

Nederland ISD administrators declined to talk about the matter and referred all questions to Tanner Hunt, the school district’s attorney.

Hunt told the News during a telephone interview Tuesday, “About a year ago a family filed a charge against a minor, male student. Once the matter was determined the child was put in A.E.P. (the Alternative Education Program).”

The District Attorney’s office could not reveal any information about the matter, as juvenile cases are confidential in the State of Texas.   

The incident occurred during the summer and did not occur at school or at a school function, said Hunt.

According to Hunt, both students were junior high school students at the time of the incident and will be entering Nederland High School in August.

Since the ages of both the victim and the assailant are less than three years apart the age proximity could be grounds of consentuality, according to Texas State Law.

Hunt explained that the district cannot do anything since they have already made their decision to allow the student to return to his regular classes and the district has no legal right to gather evidence.

Hunt said, “Mr. Kieschnick (the hearing examiner) has no right to subpoena, he cannot compel testimony from anyone.”

“If a parent wants to file a complaint than we’ll go from there,” added Hunt.

Concerned parents can file grievances through the administration and enter a three step process to eventually bring the matter before the board.

First the grievances go to the principal of the school, in this case Steven Beagle, principal of Nederland High School. Beagle had been contacted via e-mail to receive the grievances on Tuesday.  

David Dry, a member of the crime watch group Nederland Texas Watch Dogs, said, “the district can expect an influx of forms.”

According to Kathy Bretz, the Facebook page had emailed about 30 digital copies of the grievance forms by mid-afternoon Tuesday. Bretz said, several other parents had also gotten forms from the district administration building that same day.  

After the board meeting last night, the NTW Facebook page had exploded with comments pertaining to the board meeting.

According to Dry, the heavy flow of comments became “a little too heavy” and the organization was forced to erase large chunks of the messages.

bjanes@panews.com

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