When outraged parents exposed explicit materials in school libraries this past year, one Texas dad was banned from school property for speaking out—a months-long suspension that has only just been lifted.
Samuel Hall, whose children attend schools in McKinney Independent School District, spoke out against the explicit materials in an April 2022 school board meeting, stating that “I’m here to protect these kids and I expect you to do the same.”
When Hall attempted to attend McKinney ISD’s May 2022 school board meeting, he was intercepted by police outside the building and blocked from entering, on the orders of School Board President Amy Dankel—who spent months rejecting parents’ concerns.
Hall recorded his encounter with McKinney police officers, who issued him “a criminal trespass warning for all McKinney ISD property that’s good forever unless they rescind it.”
“You have three minutes to get off the property, or you’re going to be arrested for criminal trespass,” School Resource Officer Supervisor Sgt. Farrel Ritchie told Hall.
Officers accused Hall of calling the school board “a bunch of pedophiles,” but Hall denied the accusation, stating, “I did not call them pedophiles. I said they support pedophilia.”
Nevertheless, the warning stood.
Hall told NDT News that for the past year, “I cannot pick up my kids from school. I cannot drop them off at school. I couldn’t attend any of their school events, which hurt myself, it hurt my family. It was damaging to my family and I can never get that time back and neither can my children.”
Now, Christopher Maska, an administrative judge with the Texas Education Agency, has ruled the trespass citation invalid, because Hall was never given a verbal warning first and “because it would severely impair his ability to partner in his children’s education.”
“School board president Amy Dankel said the district lifted Hall’s trespass around the same time,” reported NDT News. “She said there had been no further incidents and that there were a number of student activities at the end of the year Hall may want to attend.”
Hall told Texas Scorecard the judge’s ruling is a “huge win for parents and families, not just in McKinney or Texas, but all over the United States who have gone through the same exhaustive persecution from out-of-control and tyrannical school boards who attempt to bully and intimidate parents who are standing up for their children.”
Debra Liva, a paralegal and independent educational advocate who led Hall through McKinney ISD’s grievance process and then appealed their decision to the Texas Education Agency, also called Maska’s ruling a “huge victory.” She told Texas Scorecard, “The grievance process is somewhat, what I refer to as a joke, because it’s a rubber stamp, they’re gonna do whatever they want.”
During the grievance process, McKinney ISD provided sworn statements that Liva says “were all falsified. I mean, they were basically bald-faced lies. And there was no video, no audio, nothing that substantiated their position.”
“Tampering with government documents—and they’re a school district, they’re a government entity—is considered a felony, and people should start getting arrested and maybe we’d have some changes,” said Liva.
McKinney ISD’s conservative board member Chad Green told Texas Scorecard the district’s actions over the past year have been disappointing.
“I am very happy that Mr. Hall has been vindicated by the Texas Education Agency and his rights to participate in the education of his children restored,” said Green. “It is time for McKinney ISD to focus back on teaching core subjects, building the CTE program, and continuing the excellence in fine arts and athletics. I want to thank Mr. Hall for his willingness to stand for the innocence of the children in McKinney ISD and I look forward to parents and other citizens being vindicated.”
“I hope this outcome is an encouragement for all parents and sets an example that you don’t have to be intimidated or persecuted in this way and that you can go through the legal process and have the victory!” said Hall. “All glory to God for His favor in this victorious outcome!”
TEA Commissioner Mike Morath will be responsible for finalizing Maska’s ruling.