Texas school district, Magnolia ISD, has made national news within the last couple of weeks due to the violation of “parental rights“. Their “NEW” policy prohibited parents from walking their children home from school in the name of “safety'” (I assume they did not think parents would be concerned with their own child’s safety and needed help from the “STATE”).
Magnolia’s new Bear Branch Elementary Principal, Holly Ray, informed parents that there would be no walkers at the beginning of this school year. Since making the news after parents had been issued “trespass warnings” and threatened with arrest the Magnolia ISD administration is now denying there was ever a “no walker policy”. The district claims parents have always been free to walk their children home although we have found no notice stating this fact up until the district released this statement on April 6th. As expected, the district diverts blame for their actions onto the parents. Labeling them as being “verbally and physically” abusive and disrupting school procedures. This diversion technique is a common tactic utilized among Texas School Districts when portrayed in a negative light in the news.
The new walker policy was pulled out of thin air once this news story broke. Parents may now walk their children home twenty five minutes after school dismisses if the car rider line has made its way through the parking lot and possibly a longer if not. (More of “I” am in control). So where does the TRUTH lie?
Parent, Robert Zeck provided this statement and a copy of the schools “CAR RIDER RULES” that specifically states “Students will NOT be dismissed to people on foot”. Notice the bold word “NOT” in this one rule. Seems Ms. Ray wanted to make her point quite clear there would not be walkers. So why all the confusion?
MISD released the following comment to Fox 26 April, 15th stating “We are happy for parents to walk their children home”. I would say we have some major contradictions here. Where in the world are the board members in all of this?
Holly Ray became the new principal of Bear Branch Elementary this year. Parents upset with the new policy have followed the district’s administrative channels in hopes of reaching an amicable agreement. Unfortunately, Ray and MISD Superintendent, Todd Stephens dug their administrative heels in and would not budge. One father met with Ray during the fall to discuss revising the new policy. With no agreeable consensus he left Ray’s office voicing his opposition to the “no walker policy” and said he would be at the next school board meeting. The meeting with Ray was held at 9:00 am on Sept 4th. At 4:00 pm the same day a Constable placed a “TRESPASS WARNING” in the father’s mailbox with no explanation as to why it was issued. Upon visiting the constable’s office asking for any and all documents pertaining to the warning, he was told there was nothing. Yes, that is right NO POLICE REPORT.
I would have to surmise that Ms. Ray, as Bear Branch’s new principal, did not want the father to address the first school board meeting of the year voicing complaints directed at her school policies.
Magnolia ISD has since come out claiming the warrant that was issued in the fall was due to the father attempting to be “verbally and physically” abusive to a staff member at Bear Branch Elementary though there is no police report backing up such claims. Fox 26 asked the district the following regarding the superintendents statement.
It is their understanding? WHAT? Do they not have any facts? Now not only has this father, a school volunteer, been portrayed as possibly “verbally and physically abusive”, the district is now claiming his behavior has been an on going problem although there is no report of it. Hmmm, interesting?
The district also claimed there was no police report. Well after filing a Public Information Request the Montgomery County Attorney’s office released the police report that doesn’t exist. See below. I would like to mention that the superintendent, Todd Stephens claims in his press releases that a father has continually been a “verbal and physical” danger. Though the police report has zilch information pertaining to this or why a trespass warning was issued. Interesting. Again Magnolia ISD where is the truth?
Superintendent, Todd Stephens was emailed by the parents asking once again to be allowed to walk their children home as well as having the “Trespass Warning” removed. His response below specifically states there will be no “bike rider or walkers” at Bear Branch. In regards to removing the “Criminal Trespass Warning”, the superintendent left that up to the Ms. Ray, the principal. WHAT? Let’s look at this objectively. We have a man that the district claims is, and has been, a “physical threat” to staff at Bear Branch Elementary prompting them to call Constable, David Hill’s office to invoke a criminal trespass warning. Now the school principal, Holly Ray is qualified to determine when this father is no longer a threat in order to remove the warning? You can’t make this stuff up.
We also have two moms that walked to the school and picked up their children at the close of the school day in March and returned home. Within the hour Ms. Ray calls for a constable from Constable David Hill’s office to serve them papers at their home, in front of their neighbors and children. The constable informs the moms that if they walk their children home again they could either be charged with a class B misdemeanor or arrested. SERIOUSLY?
Asked by Fox News Reporter, Andrea Watkins if the district will apologize for the excessive force and intimidation tactics. The district now claims these moms have been a continued disruption to the dismissal procedures. More blame shifting and intimidation on behalf of Magnolia ISD district.
Districts statement to Fox 26 questions.
The following paper was distributed to parents at the beginning of the year. The policy states “If you need to come inside the building after school, please remain in the car rider line until you have picked up your child and then park in a designated spot and check in at the front office.” I can see no other reason for that policy except to show the parents of Bear Branch Elementary that she is the boss and will control the parents and children and how they behave at “her” campus. Why else would you want someone to wait in the rider line, pick up their child, park, and then enter the building rather than park and enter the building where their child already was, do your business and return to you car and leave?
Texas State Rep Cecil Bell is now caught in the fray after posting Magnolia ISD’s response to Fox News on his Facebook Page. From all appearances it appears that Rep. Bell supports the Magnolia ISD School District over the parents in this situation and has yet to speak to them (his constitutents) regarding the matter.
I will end by asking Magnolia ISD where is the truth?