Please note the correspondence in this article does not reveal the names or other identifying information (blocked out with ‘xxxx’) of individuals per their requests and for their protection.
Parents and citizens of La Vernia, Texas have been contacting the Texas Education Agency regarding concerns with the school district and high school sex scandal.
On April 10, 2017, one mother informed NEWS LEGIT that she “emailed the OAG of Texas (Office of Attorney General) asking how we as parents can file complaints against the school district to voice our concerns…It’s beginning to sound like a typical pass it around till people get tired of complaining and ignored as usual. Don’t go to anyone associated with LVISD Administration or Superintendent. It’s not worth it. They won’t do anything about it. I worked at the school district off and on since xxxx as a xxxx. It’s pathetic how things are handled or not. They even ignore their employees unless you are part of the click then you get whatever you want. Drain the Swamp and clean out LV…Please don’t forward my name on. If anyone finds out my poor xxxx will pay the price. Too bad I’m not on the school board, a teacher, or and admin person. Then xxxx would be protected.”
A letter to this mother stated:
“Dear Ms. xxxx:
Thank you for your recent email. We appreciate your contacting the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.
Please understand the role of this office is to advise and represent state agencies, entities and interests as specified in the Texas Government Code. However, I hope the following referral is helpful.
Complaints regarding a school district’s policies and procedures should be initiated and addressed to the local superintendent and school board. If you should have questions about filing a complaint with a local school district, you may contact the Texas Education Agency (TEA). You can reach TEA’s Office of General Inquiry as follows:
Texas Education Agency
Office of General Inquiry
1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701
Again, thank you for writing, and please let us know if we may be of assistance in the future.
Constituent Affairs Division
Office of the Attorney General of Texas”
“The parent of this child has gone through a living nightmare while her son struggled to deal with what happened.”
The mother and others took the advice and ran with it. Now the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has opened an official inquiry into a least one complaint filed about the sex abuse allegations at LVISD.
Other letters, emails, and messages to NEWS LEGIT reveal more behind the scenes information regarding what parents, teachers, and district employees think about the culture of the LVISD leadership. Following is a sampling of some of this correspondence:
“A lot of people talk about how they don’t know what’s going on. In the years I’ve worked at school, the big issue was communication. Believe it or not we that work there don’t know what happening within our campus or district. There are issues with the lack of employees that leave the school under staffed… It saddens me to see that some of these boys were in my class. So yes it is very difficult, I have built many relationships within this community.”
A LA VERNIA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE OF THE 1990s
“Back in the 90’s Coach xxxx xxxx (who graduated from La Vernia in xxxx) was on the team bus after a game going home when football player xxxx xxxx (grandparents own xxxx in La Vernia) fell asleep on the bus…a team mate pulled out his private and began using it to slap the sleeping boy in the face. It woke him up and xxxx xxxx yelled out to xxxx xxxx for help and xxxx looked back and saw what was going on and did nothing. The boy told his mother xxxx xxxx (who graduated in ’79 now deceased) confronted xxxx and again he did nothing.
Shanna Taylor, Joann Lookingbill-Ward “have started a fb group to raise sexual assault awareness in Wilson County. It’s fairly new but we are trying to get the word out and provide resources and education on the topic.”
“The parent of this child has gone through a living nightmare while her son struggled to deal with what happened. As we understand it, she (the mother of a 16-year-old victim) went to school authorities on several occasions to report it and seek help. She finally went to the police. After the Rangers and police investigation, and the Attorney General’s office looks into this, it is possible that the TEA (Texas Education Agency) may get involved.”
“Good afternoon Mr. Jack Dennis, my name is xxxx I’m simply writing to let you know how much I appreciate reading your articles about La Vernia. It’s a sad sad thing that has happened and I pray for them victims and hope them scumbags deserve what they get. Sorry if I curse in this message to you by all means I’m just very very upset with the school system, the police department, some staff of the school. My son still attends La Vernia he is now xxxx.. all this started coming about and when I heard the juveniles that were arrested were released to their parents that really xxxx me off.”
“Why, because when my son at the time was a freshman at LVHS he was arrested he was not released to me nor did I get a call from the principal nor Police Department. I found out through a counselor from the school! When I found out he was taken to the city hall of La Vernia he was in a room where I did get to speak to him but he was not released to me. Instead he was taken to a juvenile detention in Jourdanton for the whole weekend til court on a Monday!”
“Then he received boot camp for 3months! NOW THAT REALLY MAKES ME MAD THAT THESE KIDS DID WHAT THEY DID AT SCHOOL AND NOT ONE OF THEM SPENT A DAY IN JAIL!!! What my son had did… did not even happen at school…NO I don’t approve of what he did. It was wrong BUT to have him sent for that long and then these kids were released it just xxxx me off!”
“So yeah my son is like a target now ‘til this day… I can truly say there is favoritism in LV…I did talk to my son (and) told him don’t let them bring you down because of your past behavior. Keep your head up and do as you’re told. Stay STRONG! I want to thank you for the articles you’ve written and that have brought out the truth about La Vernia. THANK YOU SO MUCH.”
“It’s far reaching in the fact that many of the perpetrators were more than likely victims at some point.”
“Yes it’s painful and yes it hurts to keep having to do it (deal with the scandal). But the only way to properly deal with this situation is to keep going deeper or further back in this case and making those accountable for their actions that has so torn up the lives of a lot of good people. Protecting the guilty is why this has escalated to this point. These victims need to get the proper counseling and support not only from professionals but from the school district and the community as well. Being afraid or ashamed to come forward is not how to heal this burn. Making those accountable is a start.”
““It has affected the sports teams and the pride in their Bears that has been ingrained in them for generations. It’s far reaching in the fact that many of the perpetrators were more than likely victims at some point. There’s no way of knowing how far back this goes and at what point that the so called hazing crossed the line into sexual assault.”