A new petition by a group of Prosper families is demanding “Justice for Janies,” young victims of alleged sex abuse at the hands of a Prosper Independent School District employee that officials hid for months.

The petition, Demand Prosper ISD Independent 3rd-Party Investigation, was started Saturday by a group called We Are Prosper and directed at the district’s seven elected school board trustees.

For the past two weeks, Prosper ISD families have faced shocking revelations that district officials covered up allegations that bus driver Frank Paniagua sexually abused two little girls, ages 5 and 7 at the time—identified in a lawsuit filed August 25 against the district as “Janie Doe.”

On August 29, the board claimed in a “prepared statement” that an “independent investigation” was “ongoing” into the actions of Superintendent Holly Ferguson and her administrative team, which includes the district’s internal Prosper ISD police department. That claim turned out to be false.

“Prosper ISD students, parents, educators, staff, and taxpayers stand united in demanding that Prosper ISD (PISD) Board of Trustees back up the public statement made at the Monday, Aug. 29th School Board meeting and make a motion to hire an independent 3rd-party to investigate the matter which resulted in a $5 million lawsuit against Prosper ISD at the Special Board meeting on Tues., Sept. 13th,” the petition begins.

The Janies’ parents say more than 100 instances of abuse occurred throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Paniagua was arrested May 11, but parents of other children who rode his bus and attended the same school as the Janies say no one ever notified them that their children may have been exposed to a molester. They had to learn about it from media coverage of the lawsuit.

Paniagua died on June 10 from injuries sustained in an alleged suicide attempt inside Collin County jail. No reports of the alleged crimes or Paniagua’s arrest and subsequent demise ever reached the media. Obituaries for Paniagua have been scrubbed.

The petition demands specific actions from the Prosper ISD board of trustees, including actually hiring an independent firm to investigate the district’s handling of the sexual assault allegations, complete public transparency about the investigation and its findings, and suspension of Ferguson while the investigation is ongoing.

The petition also calls for the board to use the findings to identify changes in district policies and procedures to help prevent similar crimes and cover-ups in the future—something that has yet to occur due to the cover-up.

Petitioners also promise legal action against board members if they fail to comply.

The petition concludes, “Members of the community are asked to continue to pray for the victims and their families, as well as our ISD, our students, ISD staff and our entire community. We pray for Justice for both Janies, and all other unnamed child victims of sexual assault in our schools.”

The board scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, September 13, at 8:00 a.m. to take public action as legally required to approve an independent investigation, as well as meet with their attorney in closed session to discuss the pending lawsuit and deliberate regarding a “public officer or employee,” which many parents say they hope indicates suspension of Ferguson.

Concerned community members can contact their elected Prosper ISD school board trustees with any questions or to request they take action.

Read the full petition here.

Read Texas Scorecard’s coverage of the Prosper ISD scandal here:

Lawsuit Claims Prosper ISD Hushed Up Sexual Assaults by Bus Driver

Prosper Parents Unleash on School Board Over Sex Abuse Cover-Up, Demand Superintendent Resign

Prosper School Board’s Response to Sex Abuse Cover-Up ‘Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test’

Prosper ISD Trustee Speaks About School Board’s Response to Sex Abuse Cover-Up

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.