Plainview ISD board addresses CPS report over South Elementary incident

In a board meeting Thursday night, Plainview ISD trustees spoke on the results of a state and federal investigation into teacher culpability.
Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 10:39 PM CDT
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PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - The Plainview ISD Board of Trustees regrets what happened in late April at South Elementary school, superintendent HT Sanchez told parents and families at a meeting Thursday night, and the district is committed to making adjustments so it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Sanchez was referring to an incident in late April, where state and federal investigators report “mutual inappropriate sexual contact” occurred in a classroom at South Elementary school. A family claims their six-year-old girl was sexually assaulted during class and recorded using a district iPad.

PREVIOUS STORY: Plainview family claims 6-year-old was forced to perform sex acts at South Elementary

The school district’s attorney told trustees that state and federal agencies have determined there was no negligent supervision for any of the children and no incident of sexual abuse.

“We are now at the point of finding the facts by an impartial third party,” Sanchez said during the meeting, “which has been shared. The CPS report has been reviewed by multiple levels in oversight of the Family and Protective Services, in conjunction with the FBI.”

Sanchez then introduced the school district’s attorney, Ann Manning, to address the findings.

“I know we have needed transparency, and that’s what I hope to be able to help you with tonight,” she began.

Manning said Sanchez immediately contacted her when the district learned of the incident, then they reported it to police. From there, Manning said CPS agents ordered Sanchez to remain silent on the issue instead of informing parents.

“We were at a standstill, we were not allowed to investigate at that time,” Manning said.

When administrators learned about the recording on the iPad, Manning said they immediately turned it over to police and forbid anyone from looking at it. From there, Manning said the FBI took the iPad and instructed the district to not comment on the incident. Once the FBI finished its forensic investigation, Manning said the FBI returned the iPad and the district placed it in police custody.

Manning said the district attorney may use it as evidence in case of any litigation.

“I know this has been tremendously difficult,” Manning told the board. “We strove in every single way to follow the law. We wanted to say things, we wanted to console, we wanted to help, but we were prevented from doing so as a matter of law.”

Manning praised the board of trustees for supporting the administration and said this report should bring “peace and closure for this event.”

The board then spoke with Manning in executive, closed session for nearly two hours and did not remark on the report again.

After it returned to open session, the board heard citizen comments, including from concerned community and family members who denounced a lack of accountability for the incident and demanded justice for the six-year-old girl involved.

“Right is right and wrong is wrong,” Samuel Gonzales, a state representative for the League of United Latin American Citizens, declared. “We just want justice and the right thing to be done and completed.”

Gonzales did not speak in specifics, but said “there needs to be come consequences” after this incident, “more than just a slap in the hand.”

Annalisa Carillo Tapia, another representative from LULAC, demanded justice and accountability “on every level.”

“We want the little girl’s age to not be a factor,” Tapia said. “She has been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse.”

The trustees did not disclose or announce any specific plans in the future as a result of the report’s release or its discussion with the district’s attorney.