Despite citizen opposition, the Neches Independent School District voted last night to extend indicted elementary principal Kim Snider’s contract.

Principal Snider was indicted and arrested on February 2, 2021, on third-degree charges of tampering with/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair, as well as five misdemeanor counts of official oppression after an investigation of a sexual assault of a child. She is now out on bail.  

On February 22, Neches school board members met to discuss renewing Snider’s and other school administrator’s contracts.

At the start of the meeting, board president Van Brown said board policy allowed them to limit the time people could speak. Attendees were given only two minutes to deliver public comment.  

Thirteen parents gave impassioned speeches against renewing Snider’s contract.  

Lacey London spoke about an incident that led her to file a grievance against Snider. London had previously requested a copy of her son’s student records. Upon arriving at the school to pick up the records, the principal gave London forms to withdraw her son. 

A few parents said they would withdraw their children if Snider stayed employed for the 2022-2023 school year.  

Only two people, both employees of the district, spoke in favor of keeping Snider. Carol McGee said, “We work with your students at least eight to nine hours a day. My job keeps you in your job, and we do it with love. We treat your kids with respect. Mrs. Snider is good to your children.” 

School board members recessed to an executive session to discuss the contract renewal of the elementary principal, vice principal, and high school principal. 

Kaitlin Scroggins, the organizer of the Facebook group Change for Neches, explained during the recess that to “have Kim Snider still working was like having a bank robber still working at the bank.”

The executive session lasted for almost two hours, with the result of the board renewing all administrators’ contracts. Board member Trish Davilla was the lone vote opposing Snider’s renewal. 

Scroggins was undeterred.

“We remain dedicated in our fight to protect every child in our district and steadfast in our desire to remove Kim Snider as principal of Neches Elementary,” she said. “Now more than ever, we redouble our efforts to hold her accountable and expose the blatant corruption of the Snider administration.”

When asked about her feelings about that night, parent Allison Fruge said, “I’m disappointed but not surprised. Neches is a small district where nepotism and corruption has been allowed to flourish unabated for two decades under board president Van Brown.”  

“We began this fight seven years ago, and we will continue to fight for every child until Principal Snider is removed,” she continued.

As everyone was leaving, citizens called for a boycott of the board president’s store in town, Van’s Country Store and Grill. 

Citizens are actively looking for potential candidates to run in the next school board election in November 2022.

Tera Collum

Tera Collum has 13 years experience as a government and economics teacher in Texas public schools. She recently was the director of The Travis Institute of Educational Policy and Teachers for Texas.