Christine Jackson

6701 Will Rogers Blvd.
Ft. Worth, TX 76140

 

State Board for Educator Certification

ATTN: Deputy Associate Commissioner

1701 N. Congress, 5th Floor

Austin, Texas 78701

 

November 19, 2010

 

Re:   Request for Investigation of Educator Misconduct

 

Request made by:

 

Christine Jackson on behalf of Joseph Jackson, a minor.

 

Educators whose investigation of conduct is requested:

 

Matthew Donnell

Coach

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

Rodney Bailey

Assistant Principal

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

Susan Taylor

Principal

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

 

Dear Deputy Associate Commissioner,

Please consider this correspondence as a request for investigation of ethical misconduct of the before mentioned educators Matthew Donnell, Susan Taylor and Rodney Bailey.  Following is a synopsis of the factual circumstances underlying the report as well as a description of where I believe misconduct occurred according to 19 TAC Chapter 247 Educators Code of Ethics of the Texas Administrative Code.  Should the event occur that you do investigate, it is my humble request for your final decision in this matter to be made consistently with the SBEC’s Disciplinary Policies and Guidelines; SBEC’s General Principles; SBEC’s Core Principles and SBEC’s Mission Statement. 

 

Events leading up to this request:

 

On March 4, 2010, Joseph Jackson (my son) was assaulted and sexually harassed by another student in the shower after athletics class.  The other student rubbed his penis on Joseph and threatened him with rape.  This is not the first time the other student had harassed Joseph, but it was the most extreme case.  (Prior incidents include Public provocation to fight; Harassment- absurdities and threats; Pushed Joseph down into a desk; Punched Joe in athletics locker room; stepped on Joe, crushing Joe's testicles, while Joe was sitting on the ground in athletics.

 

All of these were brought to the attention of named staff and / or administration, yet incidents continued to occur and escalate throughout the school year leading up to the March 4 incident.  On several occasions, as encouraged to do so by me and other family members, Joseph brought attention to these matters by means of talking with teachers and administrative staff.  As matters worsened and Joe had not received relief from the child's harassment and assaults, I stepped in on Joseph’s behalf.  On two occasions I spoke with the Assistant Principal regarding all issues. After seeing no relief (harassment continued) from speaking with him, I contacted the Principal. 

 

Both the Principal and the AP appeared to be receptive to our conversations, but in the end all they did for Joe was refer him to the school crisis counselor.  Ironically, the school crisis counselor referred him back to the circle from which he came by advising he report the incidents to the administration and try to resolve them on his own by using methods Joseph had already exhausted.  On every occasion I spoke with Susan Taylor she expressed her deepest sorrow for how difficult it must be for me to be a single parent  ( I know this is irrelevant, but am using this as an example to the irrelevant responses I had received throughout the school year from the principal and later from higher ranking administration) In the least, it was frustrating and exhausting.


Joseph immediately reported this to Coach Donnell.

The coach did not report the incident to school administration that day. The school has, to this date, never notified me of the incident.  Joseph notified me of what happened that afternoon when I picked him up from school.

March 5, 2010: Joseph returned to school to find the child, who had assaulted him, was still attending athletics and was allowed back into the public showers. Joseph called me (on his personal cellular phone) to tell me of such and told me he would be refusing participation in class because he did not want to shower in the assailant's presence. I asked to speak to the coach; Joseph passed the phone to him.

When I had inquired, the coach told me he was aware of what had happened the prior day and Joseph did not have to participate.  He also told me he had spoken with the assailant and told him if he ever did this again, he would no longer be allowed in the athletics program. The coach told me he had addressed the whole team on the matter of respecting privacy. I asked if the coach intended to do anything else about the incident, he replied with a simple "no."

I, then, informed the coach I would pursue the matter outside of the school district by filing charges with the police department.


Only after my phone conversation Coach Donnell, the coach promptly reported the incident to school administration and informed them I would be in contact with the police department.  Assistant Principal, Rodney Bailey, immediately contacted the police.  The police, in turn, contacted me.  Charges were pressed.

The days following, the assailant continued to attend school and participate in athletics.  I withdrew Joseph from the athletics program.

Upon completion of the police investigation, the police could not move forward because Rod Bailey had reported he did not believe the incident occurred.  This is documented in the police report, a copy is available. Rod Bailey also reported, even though this incident did not occur, the assailant is known to urinate on students in the shower because "he thinks it's funny."

The police department informed me of their hands being tied and referred me to the municipal court for further consideration; I took the complaint to the municipal court.  The city prosecutor accepted Joseph’s case and prosecuted the other child for assault by contact.

I began the process of a formal grievance against the coach, the principal and the assistant principal.  In the first meeting that occurred as a result of the grievance process, Mike Shabay (of the Student Services department of BISD) stated the assailant could not be removed from the shower because he is a minority student and that would be an act of discrimination, regardless of his behavior. Mr. Shabay and Coach Donnell then proceeded to insist that Joseph should be put in a separate shower to prevent his feeling threatened by the other student.  In this meeting, the administration gave me every reason to believe the investigation of the incident was over and nothing would be done because if something did happen it was an "accident."

 

I, then, took Joseph’s and my experience with the administration and staff of Haltom Middle School & Birdville Independent School District to the press. 

 

Shortly after the airing of my family’s experience on the local news, the assailant was withdrawn from Haltom middle school by his mother.  Only after grievance filing and publicity, the school/district finally acknowledged the incident did take place and placed the student in an alternative program for a short amount of time. The grievance procedure continued, Haltom Middle School staff and BISD administration maintain they have acted appropriately throughout the incident.

 

May 23, 2010: I filed complaint with the Texas Education Agency via email to complaintsmanagement@tea.state.tx.us.

 

May 26, 2010: Jo Frazier, Ed.D., School Governance, TEA responded to my compliant via email. Her response included: “You have the right to file a grievance against every school district personnel who is remiss or derelict in their duty regarding this assault.  You should also appeal any or all grievances to a Level III Hearing with the full school board if necessary.  According to Complaints Management staff, If the board of trustees determines that the educator has violated a code of ethics (local or state TAC 247 standards) then the superintendent is required to file a report with TEA under TAC 249.14.  If the board’s decision finds the educator in violation, the parent may also send the board’s decision to TEA.  Complaints Management will assign the 249 complaint to Ed Investigations for determinations.” 

 

I had questions about Dr. Frazier’s and about how I should proceed with my complaint with TEA.  I phoned her for clarification.  She instructed me to complete the grievance process with Birdville Independent School District, let her know when it is finished and she would refer me to TEA’s Legal Services Department.

June 24, 2010: Level III Hearing of Joseph’s grievance Birdville Independent School District took place.  The ruling of the District’s Board of Trustees was to uphold Haltom Middle School Principal’s, Susan Taylor, and Associate Superintendant’s, Jay Thompson, rulings from levels I and II hearings of grievance. 

Susan Taylor ruled “I cannot find where any members of the HMS staff have violated state law, district policy, or procedures.” Jay Thompson ruled “While I do not find violations of board policy requiring disciplinary actions for Coach Donnell, Assistant Principal Rod Bailey, or Principal Susan Taylor, there are concerns regarding how communications where made with you as a parent.”

The ruling follows grievance surrounding failure of Susan Taylor; Rodney Bailey, Vice Principle of Haltom Middle School and Matthew Donnell, Athletics Coach and Health Educator of Haltom Middle School to document and effectively act on numerous complaints of assault and harassment involving two students throughout the school year; neglect to notify victim’s parent of assault and violations of 19 TAC Chapter 247 sections 3.2, 3.3 and 1.6.

I informed Dr. Frazier, via email, of the Board’s decision and the finality of the grievance.

August 2, 2010:  I filed compliant with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights surrounding how my son’s case of sexual harassment was handled by school staff and administration.

 

August 2, 2010: Dr. Frazier phoned me and referred me to Isabel Lozoria of the TEA’s Legal Services Department.  Ms. Lozoria instructed me on how to proceed.  I followed her instruction through an appeal process to the Texas Commissioner of Education.

 

August 4, 2010: I appealed the Birdville Independent School District’s (BISD) ruling to the Commissioner of Education.

 

August 16, 2010: Acknowledgement of receipt of my appeal to the Commissioner of Education’s Office was sent to myself and to the Superintendent of BISD.  The letter assigned a Docket number 081-R10-0810 and gave BISD 30 days to respond to my appeal.

 

September 2, 2010: U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced investigation of Haltom Middle School and Birdville Independent School District’s conduct surrounding my son’s circumstances.

 

September 16, 2010: BISD’s council faxed her response to my appeal to me and filed with it with TEA.  I learned a great deal from her response.  In short, her response stated the Commissioner of Education does not have jurisdiction over the Educators Code of Ethics and requested dismissal of the appeal.  After research, I have found her statements are true. 

 

October 1, 2010: Pre-hearing Telephone conference with Administrative Law Judge Christopher Maska and Birdville Independent School District’s council.  Judge Maska confirmed he lacks jurisdiction over the Educators Code of Ethics.  Confirmation of your agency’s jurisdiction was given.  I was granted 30 days to amend my appeal to the Commissioner.

 

November 1, 2010: Amended Appeal was filed with Commissioner.

 

November 16, 2010: Council’s Response was filed with Commissioner. The appeal process is still taking place.

 

Observed violations of the Educators Code of Ethics:

 

19 TAC Chapter 247, Standard 3.2 Rod Bailey knowingly treated a student in a manner that adversely affected the student’s learning, physical health, mental health, or safety.

 

Rod Bailey ignored prior complaints (specifically naming the assailant) of assault and harassment, made by Joseph and myself.  Mr. Bailey treated one complaint as an “isolated” incident Level I Transcript, page 42.  I say these complaints are ignored simply because all, but one, are unacknowledged by Mr. Bailey. 

 

Contrary to Rod Bailey’s prior statement of one of our complaints being “isolated”, he goes on to say even The assailant admitted to “bullying Joseph during the school year,” Level I Transcript, p. 36 and Mr. Bailey stated The assailant had been “urinating on another student,” Level I Transcript, p. 31; Mr. Bailey had “worked quite a lot with” The assailant “over the last two years” and this year “as hard as, I guess, it is, he did do better this year.” Level I Transcript, p. 45 and the assailant “does this because he thinks it’s funny.” Haltom City Police Incident Report, p. 2

 

Joseph Jackson was repeatedly harassed and assaulted by the assailant throughout the school year. 

 

The incidents were repeatedly reported, by Joseph and me, to Rod Bailey throughout. 

 

The complaints were repeatedly ignored. 

 

Joseph Jackson has been adversely affected physically; emotionally; mentally; educationally and his safety has been affected in the most disgusting manner- repetitively.

 

19 TAC Chapter 247, Standard 3.2 Susan Taylor knowingly treated a student in a manner that adversely affected the student’s learning, physical health, mental health, or safety.

 

Susan Taylor ignored prior complaints (specifically naming the assailant) of assault and harassment, made by Joseph and myself.  I deem these complaints are ignored because all are unacknowledged.  Mrs. Taylor does proudly profess that after speaking to me on one occasion, she accomplished to arrange a visit with the guidance counselor for Joseph.  The guidance counselor, ironically, suggested Joseph talked to Mr. Bailey and Mrs. Taylor about what had been happening to him.

 

Again, Joseph has been affected in all of the before mentioned ways.

 

19 TAC Chapter 247, Standard 3.2 Matthew Donnell knowingly treated a student in a manner that adversely affected the student’s learning, physical health, mental health, or safety.

 

Mr. Donnell allowed the assailant to re-enter the showers the day immediately following his reported assault (made with his genitals) against another student. 

 

Joseph’s learning, physical health, mental health and safety were only the beginning of the effect that morning.  Each child in the shower, that morning, with the assailant was affected in the identical manner.

 

Standard 3.3 Rod Bailey knowingly misrepresented facts regarding a student. 

Standard 1.6 Rod Bailey falsified records or coerced another to do so.

 

Rod Bailey reported to Brandi Perkins he “feels the incident did not take place.”  Bailey said “Joe does not always tell the truth and had been caught telling his mother things that just weren’t true.”  Haltom City Incident Report, last paragraph, page 2.  Mr. Bailey’s allegations of Joseph’s credibility have no precedence.  Rod Bailey later denied making this statement. 

 

Mr. Bailey’s statement to the police left Brandi Perkins unable to serve the assailant a citation for his assault against Joseph Jackson.  The case was referred to Haltom City Municipal Court for further consideration.

 

Upon arrival at court, I learned Mr. Bailey’s statement to the police had a significant impact on the integrity of Joseph Jackson resulting in the prosecutor’s unwillingness to prosecute the assailant.  The prosecutor places full trust in police statements and had taken the report as fact.  Mr. Bailey was kind enough to return my phone call to tell me he had never made the statement documented in the police report.  Mr. Bailey’s return phone call arrived as Joseph and I were in the Haltom City Court House proceeding with civil charges against the assailant.  The call took place on speaker phone; witnesses include the City Prosecutor.  After Mr. Bailey’s denying his statements, the case was then accepted and date was set for the assailant to appear before the court.

 

After leaving the court house, I briefly visited Rod Bailey and Susan Taylor to show them the police report.  Again, Rod Bailey denied making the statement. I encouraged him to contact Haltom City Police Department in regards to their falsifying his words.  To my knowledge, he has not done so.  The record stands as previously stated.

 

Standard 3.3 Matthew Donnell knowingly misrepresented facts regarding a student.

 

Matthew Donnell said (three times) he had told Joseph to call me on Friday, March 5, 2010 (using Joseph’s cellular phone).  Dr. Kempe’s Report on Investigation and Level I Transcript, pages 8 and 9. IF this happened, it was purely coincidental. I instructed Joseph to call her from athletics to get Matthew Donnell on the phone, Joseph did so.

 

Twice, Matthew Donnell stated he had told me (on Joseph’s cellular phone) that he “would be contacting administration” about this incident.  Dr. Kempe’s Report on Investigation  and Level I Transcript, page 8.  Mr. Donnell said no such thing; he did not so much as imply he would contact administration.  He told me he had discussed the incident with the assailant- Mr. Donnell said he told the assailant “If he did this again, he would not be allowed to participate in athletics.”  Mr. Donnell also told me he had talked with the team as a whole regarding the incident.  From speaking to Joseph and others, this did not occur either.    

 

Extensive documentation of local record is available upon request.

 

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration of my request.

 

Regards,

 

 

 

Christine Jackson

(817) 551-2211

 

Witnesses:

 

Joseph Jackson

Student and Complainant

c/o Christine Jackson

6701 Will Rogers Blvd.
Ft. Worth, TX 76140

(817) 551-2211

 

Julie Allen

Counselor

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

Christine Jackson

Mother of Joseph Jackson

6701 Will Rogers Blvd.
Ft. Worth, TX 76140

(817) 551-2211

 

Mike Shabay

Student Services

Birdville Independent School District

6125 East Belknap

Haltom City, TX 76117

(817) 547-5790

 

Brandi Perkins

School Resource Officer, Haltom Middle School

Haltom City Police Department

5110 Broadway Ave
Haltom City, TX 76117

(817) 834-7321

 

Detective Miller

Haltom City Police Department

5110 Broadway Ave
Haltom City, TX 76117

(817) 834-7321

 

 

Prosecutor

Haltom City Municipal Court

5024 Broadway Ave
Haltom City, TX 76117-3640

(817) 222-7772

 

Mel Meza                                                       

Assistant Principal

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

 

Possible Witnesses:

 

Mark VanDine

Assistant Coach

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

Brian Allen

Assistant Coach

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000

 

Charles Tucker

Assistant Coach

Haltom Middle School

Birdville Independent School District

5000 Hires Ln
Haltom City, TX 76117-3699

(817) 547-4000