Round Rock Independent School District, roughly 20 miles north of Austin, is another flashpoint in the nationwide conflict between parents and the local tyranny of the education establishment. The district has appealed open records requests to Attorney General Ken Paxton in an apparent cover-up attempt to protect the superintendent and board members.
Since August, parents have found themselves in conflict with a majority of the RRISD trustee board, whom one citizen calls the “Bad Faith Five:” Trustees Amy Weir, Amber Feller, Tiffanie Harrison, Dr. Jun Xiao, and Cory Vessa.
RRISD has used force to silence citizens, restricted who can attend school board meetings, and “coordinated” with the Williamson County sheriff’s office to have two citizens arrested. Members of the “Bad Faith Five” also attempted to censure the two pro-parent trustees, Mary Bone and Danielle Weston. This was blocked by the 425th District Court.
At the center of this conflict are allegations that RRISD Superintendent Dr. Hafedh Azaiez demanded his mistress get an abortion and threatened her with violence and being discredited by the RRISD board when she refused. Furthermore, it’s alleged that Azaiez assaulted her after she approached RRISD trustees.
Texas Scorecard sent four open records requests to RRISD under the Texas Public Information Act (PIA) to further investigate these matters. Three have been appealed to Attorney General Ken Paxton, while clarification was requested for the fourth.
RRISD is giving this same treatment to Jeremy Story, one of the citizens RRISD “coordinated” to have arrested.
“I have made several Freedom of Information Act requests with various entities lately, and all have expediently sent me information except for Round Rock ISD,” he told Texas Scorecard. “Round Rock ISD has sent out what amounts to form letters to the Texas AG, listing almost every possible exception to the open records act in a shotgun-type approach, hoping that one of the 36 or so reasons for withholding information will stick.”
It is not being done in good faith and is wasting the attorney general’s time to consider various reasons to withhold information that have little or nothing to do with the actual information requested.
The Open Records Requests
On August 4, RRISD Board Trustees Mary Bone and Danielle Weston went public with allegations they’d received against Azaiez. Story told Texas Scorecard the mistress contacted all school board members on July 14, 2021.
On September 21, Texas Scorecard sent an open records request to RRISD requesting all communications board members received July 14. On October 5, RRISD appealed to Paxton, asking permission to “withhold certain information.” One of the exemptions they cite addresses “information held by a school district related to an informer.” RRISD sent a follow-up appeal seven days later.
In mid-September, a majority of the RRISD Board blocked a number of citizens from entering the school board meeting and raised their taxes. Bone and Weston abruptly left in protest. RRISD “coordinated” with the sheriff’s office to have Story and Dustin Clark, who were at the district during the meeting, arrested days later for “hindering proceedings by disorderly conduct.” They were released a day later.
On September 19, Texas Scorecard sent an open records request to RRISD, asking for communications between Azaiez and the school police chief with the sheriff’s office. On October 4, RRISD appealed to Paxton and sent a follow-up appeal on October 11. Scorecard had also requested for communications that trustees, Azaiez, and others had that contained the keywords “Dustin Clark,” as well as all grievances filed against trustees and Azaiez.
A motion to censure Bone and Weston was placed on trustees’ agenda for September 23, an action a district court blocked. Days earlier, Texas Scorecard sent an open records request to RRISD for all communications in trustees’ possession that included the keywords “Mary Bone” and “Danielle Weston,” as well as other communications between trustees and certain district staff. On October 4, RRISD appealed to Paxton and sent him a follow-up appeal on October 11.
“Round Rock ISD is attempting to use the Texas attorney general’s office to stop the public from getting access to information they should rightfully have,” Story told Texas Scorecard. “The public needs to ask the question, ‘What is the Round Rock ISD Board hiding?’”