The contentious saga in Round Rock Independent School District continues as the agenda for Thursday’s school board meeting includes plans to censure trustees Danielle Weston and Mary Bone.

The censure resolution is based on Weston’s and Bone’s early departure from June’s board meeting. Weston and Bone walked out of the meeting in protest of what they considered the board’s hypocrisy—allowing COVID-positive trustee Amy Weir to attend the meeting after keeping the district’s 51,000 students out of school for months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Background

For more than a year, Texas Scorecard has chronicled multiple scandals involving Round Rock ISD in a special report and a podcast series, Exposed, which included investigations into the school board’s rushed hiring of Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez. Five trustees—Amy Weir, Jun Xiao, Amber Feller, Cory Vessa, and Tiffanie Harrison—voted to hire Azaiez despite the objections of Weston, Bone, and local parents.

After Azaiez’s hiring, citizens criticized the five board members, dubbed the “Bad Faith Five,” for allegedly covering up domestic violence allegations against Azaiez and protecting him through ongoing criminal investigations.

Additionally, Weston and Bone previously walked out of an August 2021 school board meeting after accusing the district of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act by intentionally limiting seating under the guise of following COVID-19 safety guidelines. The Bad Faith Five then attempted to censure Weston and Bone, but a judge issued a temporary restraining order and halted the vote.

Weston and Bone also faced pressure from an activist connected to the board majority. The activist filed a lawsuit requesting Weston’s removal from the board, which a state court dismissed and denied for further appeals last month. In an interview with Austin’s KLBJ, Weston disputed the activist’s accusations that she accepted bribes as political contributions.

“The amount of money that has flowed to me as a political candidate because of what these people are doing here in our school district has really been concerning to those who are the allies of the other school board members—who have engaged in some problematic behavior, in my opinion,” said Weston.

Another Censure

Weston claimed the most recent censure attempt is a direct retaliation against her and Bone’s investigations into Azaiez and repeated exposure of the school board’s failures. She recently highlighted Feller’s and Weir’s violation of state law after missing the district’s School Safety and Security Committee meetings and accused the Bad Faith Five of preventing them from sharing their concerns with the public.

“They are using the censure to challenge our right to free speech,” said Weston.

This November, trustees Weir, Feller, Harrison, and Vessa are up for re-election, with Xiao’s seat also vacant after his February resignation.

Thursday’s meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. at Round Rock High School. Citizens may sign up to speak at the meeting between 2:30 p.m. on August 17 and 2:30 p.m. on August 18.

Katy Drollinger

Katy is eager to use her skills in writing and research to accurately report on issues for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.

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