3 DISD Employees Suspended Following Investigation

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas ISD officials suspended three employees without pay for three days and reprimanded seven others after a months-long investigation found they used inappropriate disciplinary techniques toward students at Ebby Halliday Elementary.

After the school opened last fall, students claimed the staff forced them to eat with their hands behind their backs and on the floor.

The district says those claims are unfounded, but the reprimanded staffers –– which includes the school’s former principal –– did not speak Spanish, which “led to confusion, hostility and distrust in the Halliday Elementary community,” according to a DISD media release.

“This in turn led to many of the allegations against Dallas ISD employees in the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility) report,” the release says.

A Dallas-based Latino activist says the district didn’t go far enough in its punishment, however.

LULAC’s deputy state director Beatrice Martinez is calling for an outside investigation into what happened at the school last fall.

“This is not a harsh enough punishment,” she said.

The district says the employees in question did not receive their state-required training on reporting child abuse. DISD spokesman John Dahlander said they will attend training on reporting child abuse, classroom management and proper disciplinary action.

“It is a serious violation and we can and will do better,” he said. “We have 230 campuses. We had this take place at one, so I don’t think this is indicative of what’s happening throughout the school district.”

As a result of the findings, DISD administrators say they’re now developing a diversity training program for all employees district-wide.

But Martinez says that should’ve been in place long before the investigation.

“Why hasn’t it been done all along,” she asked.

So far, DISD has only released initial findings of the months-long investigation. Twenty-two employees were investigated, three were suspended and seven were reprimanded.

Dahlander said the district spent more than 500 hours interviewing more than 80 witnesses and analyzing 100 exhibits. The media release says legal issues prevent the district from announcing specific disciplinary measures beyond the suspensions.

Martinez wants to see the whole report.

“They can say whatever they want, OK; I believe the children,” she said.

The suspended principal requested a transfer to another school last fall. A district spokesman said administrators have not received any complaints from parents at the new school and that the situation at Halliday has dramatically improved.

An interim principal has been in place since the fall. The names of the employees in question were not released.

More from Jack Fink
  • Evil Dr Pork Chop

    The district spent 500 hours interviewing 80 people, and suspended three employees, but Beatrice Martinez says “They can say whatever they want, OK; I believe the children.” Awesome.

    • pleasechooseanother

      There is a possibility she can understand the children, but not the DISD.

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  • NiteNurse

    I know that when I went through school my classmates were subjected to what these days would be abusive behavior. Things like sitting with masking tape on your mouth for the rest of day for talking too much, putting chewing gum on your nose when you were found chewing it, being placed in a locked dark storage closet for disruptive behavior, and my favorite straddling the chalkboard in front of the class while the teacher whipped you with a yard stick. This all happened in a public school. We never complained for fear of getting suspended or being accused of something worse. At least kids these days are encouraged to report abuse.

  • Jackson Browne

    Sounds like a pretty rock solid plan to me dude. Wow. Seems to me they should all be in jail!


  • Confused

    There are always two sides to every story. Sometimes parents are a bigger problem than they care to admit to. Hispanic parents want to be in the building all the time just standing around talking, like it’s a social center. They do not volunteer in the classroom or things like that. They get upset if a non hispanic says anything to the children – like stop running, don’t put your feet on the walls,quit eating in the halls, etc. They give you a mean look, like why are you speaking to that child? If parents would spend as much energy on the academics as they do on the social side, we would all have a better school system. Just saying.

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