Leander ISD memo suggested schools handle matters before calling police

Leander ISD school bus(KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Leander ISD school bus(KXAN File Photo)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) – Leander ISD leaders said a “poorly written” memo was sent to assistant principals that suggested the school leaders investigate sexual assault accusations before contacting police.

District leaders sent out the memo last Thursday, two days after the arrest of a Rouse High School student charged with sexually assaulting a classmate in a school closet.

The letter reminds administrators to gather as much evidence and statements as they can before getting officers involved, unless there is an imminent danger. But the district said they sent a second memo the next day saying to ignore the letter.

“We evaluated the communication and realized the discrepancies and errors,” said Veronica Sopher, assistant superintendent of community and government relations at Leander ISD. “A follow-up email was sent out acknowledging the confusion and errors, and asked that the previous memo be completely disregarded. We have a strong, healthy, working relationship with law enforcement, and we cooperate with them during their investigations and will continue to do so. The memo that was sent out in error does not change our practices and procedures.”

Sopher told KXAN the assistant principals investigate crimes on campus along with the police.

Original Letter – April 23

To: Assistant Principals
From: Renee Williams – LISD Executive Director of Student Support Services

Wow…the second Flash of the year!

Just a reminder that we (LISD administrators) have an obligation to investigate all reported cases that are brought to our attention. Obviously, if the report involves offenses connected to our Student Code of Conduct – we own it and must do our investigation FIRST. This means, we investigate, get statements, take pictures of the contraband (if any), involve the nurse (if applicable), contact parents, etc. AND then get the SRO involved. Please do not get the officers involved before you finish your case (with a bow). Officers do not work the cases with you. We are now being advised to investigate all cases involving sex related offenses. Once we determine that a Student Code of Conduct violation has occurred, we then get the police involved. If the offense occurs outside of our jurisdiction, we still investigate and then get police involved. We must investigate FIRST.

Exceptions to this would be cases such as a viable and imminent threat to the school or person, information regarding a weapon being on campus, etc. These types of cases are to be given directly to the police.

Please call Renee if you have any questions.

Correction Letter – April 24

To: Assistant Principals
From: Renee Williams – LISD Executive Director of Student Support Services

Oops…Sometimes trying to get a “BIG” topic for discussion out in writing can present a challenge.

My intent was not to confuse folks or to cause any concern. However, that seems to be what happened.

Let’s void the AP Flash from today. In the meantime, let me separate the two main topics that I wanted to communicate. I will also provide examples in the two areas which will help you to better understand the focus.

APs – we will do our training on this information at our May AP meetings. Call me if you need more information.

SROs – I will touch base with you all to clear up any confusion.

As always, our goal is to make sure we continue to build a strong partnership between school administration and SROs in order that student safety remains our common priority.

Thank you
Renee Williams

KXAN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s