First they came … and I did not speak out

Once again I have no personal knowledge of what the five former EPISD officials that were arrested the other day did or did not do.

What troubles me is the massive machine that has been deployed to convict them before they have their day in court.

“Today’s actions by the FBI further places EPISD on a path to recovery after years of uncertainty.”

“The actions today by the FBI allow us to further put this incident behind us.”

These statements from EPISD officials imply that the five arrestee’s deserve what is happening.

Particularly troubling is that both of the statements came from EPISD officials who are lawyers.  Both of these officials have been doing good work at the district but seem to have forgotten their places in this situation.

It would have been appropriate to say something about the standards and expectations that the district has in place today, but to paint the defendants as guilty when a jury has not decided the issue is unfair.

I would hope that they stay out of it in the future and let the system work.

We deserve better


22 Responses to First they came … and I did not speak out

  1. As I have already pointed out, the Feds do not go as far as making arrests if they do not have an air tight case. That said, these people were all part of the original mess, and it just took longer for someone to make a case against them. Remember, this is a local problem that did not get addressed locally, ever.


    • Reality Checker says:

      This is the second time in less than a week that you have said the Feds do not bring charges or make arrests if they do not have an air tight case.

      I would hate to be on trial with you as a juror and my freedom in your hands. To say without equivocation that the feds are never wrong is to say that every person ever charged by the feds was guilty. That is just wrong. Any number of people have been wrongly convicted. Even the feds know they don’t always get it right. That’s why they recently formed a Conviction Integrity Unit to look at potential wrongful convictions.

      If the EPISD people are guilty, so be it, but don’t be a cheerleader for denying people the presumption of innocence or a fair trial.


      • Y Que! says:

        Then indicted can be presumed guilty until proven otherwise in the public arena. It is the public’s right to freedom of speech. It is in the legal realm where the presumption of innocence is the rule. So, as a member of the public, IMO, they are guilty as hell.


      • And, you are reading something into my words that I did NOT say! I said they do not bring charges without an air tight case. That is because I have worked with them, and I know how the Federal prosecutors hate to lose, so they will not accept a case that is not ready for trial. This position has nothing to do with the presumption of guilt or innocence, but with reality. I am well aware that whatever charges are brought must be proven in court, to the point that a jury agrees with the prosecution. And, I am also well aware that a poorly prepared prosecutor can lose a slam dunk because they fail to convince the jury. I did not say that the feds are never wrong, either. Maybe you’d do better to think about what others say before you react to my words.


    • Juana says:

      I can name at least 2 times when members of the public have been screwed over by the Feds. In those 2 cases, the charges came out of thin air — or rather at the behest of a corrupt Federal Prosecutor, who by the way, is still in office.


    • Helen Marshall says:

      So are you saying that any federal arrest is tantamount to evidence of guilt, as it is an airtight case, and there is no point in having a trial???


  2. Dan Wever says:

    I doubt that many juries will be called for these people. They will probably cop a plea in order to receive less jail or probation time. If they do go to trial and are found guilty they will do more time and this is as it should be in these cases because of the hurt they have done to many students. How many of these 6 people received bonus money for their actions? It would be interesting to know.


  3. Dori Fenenbock says:

    The acts of these individuals, if found guilty, are very troubling and EPISD is cooperating with law enforcement. All but one had not been employed by EPISD for several years. Over the past two years this board and superintendent have worked extremely hard to create an environment that reflects the highest values and highest ethics our community deserves. We have created an atmosphere where we encourage our employees to say something if they see something not right and have placed auditors reporting directly to the Board. Trustee Al Velarde, a former EPPD Police Detective, is the Audit Committee Chair. We have a Fraud, Waste and Abuse hotline. Board members welcome calls and emails directly. We knew that more arrests were pending. The statements you reference merely reflect our sentiment that the community’s closure on this sordid era comes from that process moving forward and was not in anyway an implication or presumption of guilt.
    Dori Fenenbock
    President EPISD Board of Trustees

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brutus says:

      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Juana says:

      This current board is like a breath of fresh air. Too bad the “old” board stubbornly refused to remove themselves, even after the entire community found them incompetent. Indeed, they fought to have their authority re-installed after the Managers tool control. Thank you to the Managers and to you, Dori, for doing the job that you were elected to do.


    • Helen Marshall says:

      As you say, IF FOUND GUILTY!!


    • Dan Wever says:

      Dori Fenenbock, It is strange to me that the EPISD still has people in the “EPISD JAIL” as employees like to call it. It is a place were teachers and other employees that said or did something wrong are taken out of the classroom and reassigned to go and fetch jobs while their cases are being investigated by the district. Most of them have no idea why they are in Jail and have not been told what they are being investigated for. You should check on the Jail and find out how many of our employees are not doing what they were hired to do and in fact are doing nothing toward education but still getting paid. Find out how many are in Jail and you might be surprised. A new one, an outspoken teacher, just joined their ranks in the last couple of weeks.
      I wonder what happened to your statement
      “We have created an atmosphere where we encourage our employees to say something if they see something not right”


  4. ManintheMoon says:

    What should be troubling people even more is the failure of our local officials to deal with the corruption even when it is clear they have been told. This happens over and over again and the corruption is always dealt with with from out side of El Paso which most times takes years.
    The question should be when do those elected officials that failed us locally in dealing with the corruption are held accountable for their failures to act. Sorry to hurt some feelings but it is a clear case of dereliction of their duties and malfeasance of their office.
    These people pretty much put the writing on the wall that there can be corrupt government in El Paso but the people elected locally who should deal with the issues are a zero threat to those that are committing criminal acts in local government. Even worse a lot of these people have been shown to have been reward for their bad actions before some out side agency takes them in hand and marches them off to jail.
    Sure we do not like the big show that was done to these people who worked in EPISD but it is kind of like ignoring the four thousand pound elephant in the room and focusing on the little mouse in the corner.
    Has any one noticed no one in the media is asking the D.A why he did not act or the Sheriff or the El Paso police chief, or demanding answers and this speaks volumes to why this non-sense goes on decade after decade year after year.
    Then it seems the majority in El Paso likes it this way because the majority never does nothing about it or hold these elected officials accountable.
    And the band played on!


    • JerryK says:

      Prior to this latest perp walk, there have been over 20 indictments and convictions here. Three county judges. As far as I know, all of these were pursued by the FBI. Does the DA have any authority in local corruption investigations or does he just choose to not embarass his friends and let the Feds take the heat?

      I mean, they haven’t even started on the city yet.


      • ManintheMoon says:

        Jerry K
        Yes The D.A., Sheriff and the police chief have the authority to go after corruption they just make the choice to look the other way.
        Remember Esparza had no problem going after District Court Judge Regina Arditti on what were mostly political reasons and lost. So clearly he has the authority to go after corruption in El Paso and a good part of far west Texas he just doesn’t.
        Just like our criminal complaint against the EPCAD for what was criminal misuse of public records which was done in a attempt to cover up their messing up appraisals and failure to implement a half million dollar automated cad appraisal system. Yep Esparza set on it until the statue of limitations ran out. He was to much of a coward to just throw it out and he knew we would have nailed him on ethics charges if he did.
        This is just one example why there is the level of corruption in El Paso . Then again El Paso set back and paid for Esparza concubine on the tax payers dollars and most in El Paso do not even bat an eye. Yep it’s been clear for years Esparza had some serious ethics issues in his office but El Paso keep electing him and that mostly is El Paso’s fault for being stupid in doing so. Oh and most likely El Paso will do it again this time around.
        Yep this post was to meant to offend, sorry the truth may hurt some feelings.


  5. Sandy Doss says:

    What worries me is the fact that the general public, along with representatives of the press, public officials and yes, the current school board, have already convicted the 5 indictees . None have presented their side of the story. None have had their day in court. But I am hearing many people say this is a step in putting it behind us and the district and hey, maybe now we can move on with our lives.

    Let’s not forget, people, that it’s the burden of the government and their representatives to prove the guilt of the accused. Until they stand trial, everything you hear, see, and read about this case is hearsay.


    • Y Que! says:

      Sandy, it’s called free speech.


    • Helen Marshall says:

      IT may be free speech as Y Que! tells us, but the massive coverage on the front pages leaves little doubt that any trials will have to be conducted elsewhere if there is to be any pretense of innocent until proven guility. But maybe that idea is just “so last century.”


    • Sandy Doss says:

      It may, indeed, be free speech. It’s also free sound bytes. And in my opinion, self promoting. Tell me, how does the televised ‘perp walk’ help the EPISD ‘move forward’?

      Seems to me that moving forward means addressing HOW and WHY any cheating took place, then fixing THOSE problems. What policies have been put in place to increase monitoring of the calculation and reporting of student populations? What about monitoring of the board itself? And, by the way, let’s include accountability of the TEA. Goes all the way to Washington DC, doesn’t it?

      Of course, basing the funding of public education on head counts and standardized test results opens all kinds of creative ways to skew the numbers. Why not include other standards? School programs encouraging students to get involved and give back to the community? What percentage of students graduate in the top 10 % of their class? What percentage continue to college? Lots of ways to judge the education process besides how many were in attendance on any given day. Who is considering the WHY of the problem and fixing that?

      I agree with Ms. Marshall…any chance of these 5 being treated fairly requires a change of venue.

      Free speech? Maybe. Sensational journalism? Definitely. Grass roots movement to fix the problems? May be there, but I haven’t seen it.


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