In a unanimous vote, a Houston-area school board of trustees voted to retain private counsel and seek a defamation lawsuit against critics of the district’s superintendent.

Katy Independent School District trustees voted 7–0 tonight to pursue a defamation lawsuit against a citizen who alleged that Superintendent Lance Hindt bullied and tormented him in middle school. Shortly after the vote, Hindt announced that he would be resigning his position effective January 1 of next year.

In March, Katy resident and businessman Greg Gay used the public comment session of a board meeting to address Hindt’s bullying of him decades earlier. Gay, who attended West Memorial Junior High School with Hindt, said that because of his last name Hindt tormented him and even shoved his head in a urinal. The torment was so bad that Gay said he considered suicide.

While the superintendent initially maintained that the action never happened, Gay produced a witness, Chris Dolan, who confirmed Gay’s allegations. After the story began to make national headlines, Alabama Circuit Court Judge David Carpenter came forward corroborating Gay and Dolan’s claims.

“He was a vicious bully. He was a thug. He was a wealthy thug, but he was a thug,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter went on to say that Hindt would bully weaker kids on a constant basis and at one point even bragged about beating up a cop.

Carpenter oversees the Alabama Criminal Court.

Hindt maintained that he was not a bully in middle school, but did apologize for the negative attention the district was receiving. Oddly, without looking into the allegations, board members rallied around Hindt, using their time during a subsequent board meeting to voice their support for him.

In tonight’s meeting the board voted unanimously to hire the law offices of Feldman and Feldman to file a defamation lawsuit on behalf of the $375,000 a year superintendent.

Ironically, using the full power of the tax-funded entity seems like the ultimate form of bullying, as they are trying to silence those who may consider publicly criticizing a public official.

In a statement during the meeting Hindt said, “I am thankful the board has taken a stance and is moving forward with the defamation lawsuit, or the possibility of, hopefully this will send a message that the antics of the mob of ruthless individuals will not be tolerated today or in the future here in Katy ISD.”

A Go Fund Me campaign has also been started as a legal defense fund for any of the targets of the defamation lawsuit.

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.