ROUND ROCK — A troubling and contentious saga continues in a “safe and suburban” Central Texas school district.

On Thursday night, after months of public outcry and delays, the Round Rock Independent School District board of trustees met behind closed doors to again discuss the employment of Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez—who has been accused of domestic assault.

After the closed session conversation, the board emerged into the public meeting room and voted 5-2 to bring back Azaiez, effective 8 a.m. tomorrow.

“I’ll just say that for me to vote for this would require the willing suspension of disbelief. I will be voting no,” said trustee Danielle Weston.

Texas Scorecard previously chronicled the months-long saga in a recent special report and exclusive podcast series, Exposed, which included three separate investigations into the district and Azaiez. Also investigated were five of the seven school board members facing allegations of covering up the superintendent’s alleged violence as well as weaponizing “censure resolutions” against their two dissenting trustees. The recent events in Round Rock made national headlines.

At Thursday’s meeting, trustees exchanged words on the decision just before the vote.

“The information that we had was not only that Travis County no longer has an active investigation and it’s closed, but the district attorney also had assured us through another attorney that the case was closed,” said trustee Amy Weir, one of the “yes” votes. Weir was previously accused by the alleged assault victim of “guaranteeing Azaiez he would not lose his job.”

“I would just like to clarify the information that we have,” interjected trustee Mary Bone, the other “no” vote. “We have a letter from an attorney that is basically hearsay. I was not allowed to verify it; I was not allowed to have our attorney Joey Moore verify it, so I don’t take that into consideration.”

“And I keep hearing that the investigation is closed. The investigation is not closed; the investigation is inactive,” Bone continued. “It says, ‘I confirm we no longer have an active investigation.’ So, that means I guess it could come active anytime. It’s not suspended. It means lots of other things, so when we say it’s closed, I think it’s a little bit of a non-truth to the public.”

“So, according to this document that we had right here, it said, ‘The assistant district attorney assured me that the case was closed, and in a separate conversation with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office detective, she assured me that the case was closed and no criminal charges would be filed against Dr. Hafedh Azaiez,’” chimed in trustee Tiffanie Harrison.

Azaiez has been on paid administrative leave since January, pending investigations, and still collected roughly $90,000 of his taxpayer-funded salary during that time.

Meanwhile, the Texas Education Agency’s investigation report into Azaiez was finalized earlier this month, though the board chose not to immediately release it to the public. Texas Scorecard currently has a pending open records request for the document.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.