KISD Virus 2.jpeg

KISD Superintendent John Craft, left, and Killeen school board President Corbett Lawler discuss business at the Oct. 27 school board meeting while neither are wearing a mask at the district’s administration building, 200 S. W.S. Young Drive, in Killeen. Multiple board members have not worn masks at board meetings although the district’s policy says masks must be worn on district property.

The Killeen Educators Association and its president, Rick Beaule, have published a letter addressed to John Craft, the superintendent of the Killeen Independent School District, criticizing him and the district for its continued response to COVID-19.

“As a school district you have a certain measure of control over lives. Unfortunately, that power is being misused in Killeen ISD. It began when the Board of Trustees chose to give up the power vested in them by the citizens of KISD and gave it to you (John Craft), allowing you to make unilateral decisions for over 50,000 people,” according to the letter published today in the Herald.

Rick Beaule

Rick Beaule

The letter also criticized the district’s decision to bring students back into the school building in August.

“Unlike many other large districts that chose to remain in virtual learning you, Dr. Craft, decided to start early,” the letter said. “You let down students and educators in failing to

anticipate the obvious needs of virtual learning despite ample time and data, and despite statements speaking of a potential return to virtual learning in the spring. In each of these things you have made MONEY more important than LIVES.”

When asked what he meant about money being more important than lives, Beaule said the district has voiced concern over students not logging in to attend school if they are virtual learners.

If students don’t attend school, the district could lose money from the state for attendance.

The KEA has 650 to 700 members, according to Beaule.

Beaule told the Herald Friday that the district has made a multitude of decisions that have not kept kids safe like not physically distancing on buses and suggesting physically distancing “where possible.”

Another criticism in the letter was also directed at the district’s board of trustees.

Multiple board members have not worn masks at board meetings although the district’s policy says masks must be worn on district property.

KISD Virus 1.jpeg

From left, Killeen ISD Board Member Susan Jones, KISD Superintendent John Craft, school board President Corbett Lawler and Board Member Minerva Trujillo discuss business at the Oct. 27 school board meeting. The Killeen Educators Association said multiple board members have not worn masks at board meetings although the district’s policy says masks must be worn on district property.

Beaule provided some context on the letter via email when he explained why he felt the public needed to see the letter that the KEA published as an advertisement in today’s paper.

“One of the components of our Mission Statement is to arm our members, students, and the community with a voice to be heard on issues that impact their workplace, classrooms, and families. (On Thursday) the district reached a new single day high in cases with 19. The district has a duty and an obligation to do its utmost to protect the KISD Community from the ravages of the pandemic,” he said.

KISD spokeswoman Taina Maya and the district’s administration responded with a statement via email on Thursday.

“Killeen ISD began the school year virtually for all students on August 17 and opened for in-person instruction on August 31 for parents who felt comfortable. Unlike surrounding districts, KISD does not require parents to commit to either an in-person or virtual modality of learning. There will never be a one size fits all approach to mitigating COVID-19,” Maya said. “Employees and students are required to self-screen for new COVID-19 symptoms before entering a KISD facility and are required to stay home if they are sick. District leaders have worked on-site since May 4, with many opting to attend in-person before that date.”

Maya also responded to the lack of masks at board meetings by both board members and Superintendent Craft.

“Killeen ISD has allowed school board members to participate in meetings virtually. The board room has been arranged with COVID-19 mitigation protocols in mind, allowing for ample space between board members. This, combined with the Governor’s face covering exceptions, allows members of the board to remove their face covering, if they desire. Board members follow COVID-19 guidance from the State of Texas, Bell County Health Department, and CDC,” Maya said.

Killeen school board President Corbett Lawler responded to the criticism from the KEA via email Wednesday.

“For the last several years KEA, and/or its leadership, have been constant critics of KISD. NEVER respond to the criticisms of a critic; they won’t believe it or it will never be enough,” Lawler said.

Lawler is one of the members that has not worn a face mask during meetings and he addressed that concern as well.

“There is no special policy for board members. As for me, I try to wear the mask and maintain proper social distancing,” Lawler said. “I believe that Dr. Craft and his central staff, our campus instructional staff, and our entire support staff are working very hard to provide the highest quality of protection from the china virus for our children and the staff.”

Board members Brett Williams and Marvin Rainwater also provided responses to KEA concerns.

“Tiana had prepared a district response regarding the face mask issue. I agree with her written response and will not comment further,” Rainwater said.

Williams said he has been wearing masks at recent meetings.

“I made the decision two meetings ago to wear a mask during the meeting. That will remain my position for the foreseeable future. I think we must continuously evaluate our stance on COVID-19. The key will be the ability to keep our parents and staff prepared for potential changes,” he said.

Emails were also sent to board members JoAnn Purser, Minerva Trujillo, Shelley Wells and Susan Jones asking for comments and responses were not received by deadline.

254-501-7464 | hking@kdhnews.com

(22) comments

curlymom2000

The "china virus". I am sickened by that term coming from anyone, let alone a prominent leader in our district. Even the guidelines for this KDH thread state "No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person." I am normally proud of our district, but the red flag this derogatory statement infers is disturbing at best.

schiperno

Lawler's comment was disgraceful. I am embaressed for him and the entire board who has made him their "President." Can you imagine the punishment a student would receive for making the same racist remark?

This is whom the community has elected to take care of our children, and they don't even respect one another enough to follow their own rules.

This is why school board elections matter.

Killeen patriot

And another thing, what are the CDC guidelines for wearing a mask????? Oh how we quickly forget. The CDC guidelines state you should wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. O.K., what is social distancing? The CDC states it is being separated by 6ft. O.K., so how far apart are the seats in the board room? well over 6 feet. So the district is following CDC guidelines for masking during board meetings. For KEA, it is about promoting a progressive narrative not about science.

Killeen patriot

KEA is just a progressive liberal national educator cesspool. I am a teacher with the district and COVID has hardly had an impact since school has restarted. KDH is another purely political piece of garbage newspaper that hates the district. If you notice, when they publish articles about COVID in the paper, they always list the total number of cases that have occurred in the district. This is the total # of cases since March. Sure, there have been some cases of COVID throughout the district. I think Shoemaker high has been the hardest hit recently with 11 cases. Hmmmm... 11 out of 2400 people on campus 0.04%.... OH NO SHUTDOWN EVERYTHING!!! this is what KEA wants to do. You know they are leaving out the fact that the majority of virtual only learner are failing this year. Yep, that's right people, virtual learning does not work for most students. I earned my Master's degree online and it took an amazing amount of self-discipline to be successful. Sorry, kids lack this ability. So there has been some cases throughout the district, how many people have died as a result....... zero!! There is still no deaths in bell county of anyone under the age of 20, and the death rate in bell county is 1.5% which is still less that last flu season. The article states that KEA has 600 - 700 members, if the district has 4000 employees then their membership would equal approximately, 18% of the district. KEA does not speak for the majority of the district. They need to shut up and go away.

TMcNamee

The virtual student do not get the same access to teachers as the in person. KISD stopped doing zoom classes and the student have to send emails. The teachers most of the time do not answer them until the next day. They also wait until the study are all read failing before writing an email to the parent. They also blame the student and not them selves. They say it to hard to do zoom and in person at the sametime. That is a lie as I am a trainer for a company coving 95 percent of the US and I do both at the same time. Dr. Caft Need to do what he and the Principal at SHS have said in the past were they were going to do zoom classes. I have hade children and grandkids in KISD for over 25 years and this district as been going do hill for the past 10 raise taxes and over paying the leaders that only say what they thing people want to hear. Dr. Caft has told me in a couple of phone calls that zoom was coming back that was the same week they went back to in person. Dose it take over three months or dose it show he doesn't care only wanting money.

RooDawg913

The virtual students ARE NOT going to get the same access to teachers as the face-to-face students. That should be obvious. This is a new area for teachers and I can promise you for most of them they are doing the best that they can to teach both the students that are face-to-face and the students that are virtual. Do you realize that many of the students who are virtual have almost no support at home, either through technology or discipline from someone, to help them maintain their workload for school? You can ask almost any teacher in the district and they can tell you that they have several students who have done NOTHING this school year. Those teachers are working to find out why. They call, send emails, and some have even made home visits. If you are having problems, specifically, with a student who is virtual and are not getting any help from their teacher than I would suggest you contact the teacher by phone and try to get resolution that way. If that doesn't work then contact the AP. If that doesn't work then contact the principal. Just remember that your concern is only for students that you care about. How many students is that for you? Most teachers at the high school level care for over 150 students. Again, virtual students do not get the same access to teachers as the face-to-face students. That doesn't mean that the teachers don't care for the virtual students any less. They just don't get to the see them like they see the face-to-face students.

Love Our Planet

In case you were wondering, we have had 302 cases in this district since September 2nd. On September 2nd, there were 43 cases and all were staff. On September 11th, our first student tested positive. From September 11th to today there are 163 students who have tested positive and as of September 2nd 139 staff members. Thankfully no one has died, and yes virtual school is miserably hard for a lot of kids, mine included. But this is not a virus we can afford to take lightly. The spectrum of severity goes from literally nothing to dead.

RooDawg913

Dear KEA,

I am curious as to what you would like Killeen ISD to do? In your letter to the school board I am assuming that you are asking them to close schools. Which schools would you like to close? For how long would you like to close them? You are concerned about the safety and education of KISD students. Parents are the ones who decided to send their kids back to school or not. KISD is only providing them an opportunity to do so. Why do you think some of those parents chose to send them back to school? I'm thinking most of them are believing that it is safer to send them to school where teachers and administrators are doing their best efforts to make sure that they are in a safe environment throughout the day. Otherwise those students might be home by themselves with no one to look out for them. This is a military town and I am sure that the military is not shutting down to allow our service men and women to go home and watch their kids. How ridiculous an accusation to suggest that this is ALL ABOUT money. The district has been very good stewards of the finances and there has to be concern about the average daily attendance because that is what the state of Texas and TEA has set up. I am a teacher within this district and I had the tested positive for the virus. My wife is also a teacher within the district and had to be quarantined. The district was fabulous in handling our situation and we both have returned to work. We have moved on. And we would both do it again because we want to be there for our kids in the classroom or virtually. Teaching is a calling. We didn't ask to be in this situation but what a wonderful way to model how to be a wonderful responsible person in the world than right now as a teacher to these kids. Quit crying about what the district is doing wrong and get in the game as a teacher and show your kids some love.

monaw24@yahoo.com

You are so great.

I am grateful for you and your wife sir.

Well said.

TMcNamee

You say parents make the choice your right but do you understand why they make the choice? Most made it do to other people that are at high resect to this. You state there making it safe that is not happening as they do not enforce the rules and are not cleaning like they state.

TMcNamee

Why did the school board make classes large last May but are building new schools.

MrsAlyKat

Social distancing is a lie, on Fridays kids are all being piled up in classrooms and gyms and the paras are the ones stuck in there with all the kids , all the concerns over teachers while paras and other staff are put at risk.

monaw24@yahoo.com

Well to honest the disease is not quite the grim reaper people want it to be at all. Students are contracting it but they are doing just fine throughout and after they are infected. The same with teachers or so I've noticed and hear in the work rooms.

Love Our Planet

The families of the 250k deceased might think differently. Also, those with permanent lung damage or other long haul symptoms might think differently. Pre-existing conditions are now a very real worry for people who were never sick before they got covid.

monaw24@yahoo.com

Um I'm pretty sure there are hospitals being investigated for fraud over Covid! I'm also positive that if people are dying it's because they have a slew of other illnesses but also now have covid. Covid is not killing them it's all if the other things that are wrong with them.

BorrachoAllTheTime

Ohh really! How do you know? What do you use to track all these positive Covid cases and the impact on their health? Do you have access to their medical records or their Doctors care reports?

monaw24@yahoo.com

And another point that I'm intrigued by is how people are getting infected. It's odd how people who are infected can be in close range if others performing strenuous activity without masks or masks down and yet noone else is infected including the teacher who was in very close proximity to the student during the activity or while writing the clinic pass. Humm. Makes me think there's something wrong. If its so highly contagious everyone else including the teacher w.d would have it too..especially those on the L.R..after the exercise.

Love Our Planet

I posted something similar on Facebook and had several people get mad saying that admin was working very hard to keep kids safe and distanced. I stand by my post though. I went through the first remote learning day in a classroom filled with kids. Paras and other staff are the ones getting the BS end of the deal during each remote learning, teacher in-service, and early out day. We are moving people's classrooms from one class to another, we are making bulletin boards, unloading pallets, cleaning "high touch" areas, and/or watching classrooms full of kids. It's ridiculous. Why don't they just make it a remote learning day for all the students and not allow kids in school?

JamesRage

Lawler said. “I believe that Dr. Craft and his central staff, our campus instructional staff, and our entire support staff are working very hard to provide the highest quality of protection from the CHINA virus for our children and the staff.”

Nice... so non racist of him. smh.

MrsAlyKat

Yet people keep voting for these people.

Love Our Planet

I was so disgusted by that statement. Up until that moment I thought he was a decent human. Now I know he's just another racist old man who needs to find something better to do than making choices for our children.

BorrachoAllTheTime

And you know what? People in this community are still gong to vote for him. Sad!

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