HOUSTON – A judge declined Thursday to find probable cause against a Cy-Fair ISD teacher who allegedly placed her COVID-19 positive 13-year-old son in the trunk of her vehicle, fearing exposure to the virus.
The case surrounding Sara Beam, 41, sent shockwaves from the Houston area to across the nation, causing mixed feelings from those weighing in on the issue.
According to court documents, on Jan. 3, Beam pulled into a drive-thru testing site at Pridgeon Stadium located at 11355 Falcon Road in northwest Harris County when a witness reported hearing something in the trunk. The witness said when Beam unlatched the trunk, the boy was found lying down inside.
Beam said she placed the boy in the trunk because he had COVID-19 and she was afraid of getting infected. The witnesses told Beam they would not receive any COVID tests until the child was removed from the trunk. The witness then called police, according to court documents.
Authorities were able to view surveillance cameras showing the child exiting the trunk of the car and getting in the backseat.
Beam was charged with child endangerment. She was taken into custody a few days later and was released after posting a $1,500 bond.
According to Cy-Fair ISD, Beam most recently worked as a teacher at Cypress Falls High School and has been employed by the district since 2011. She was placed on administrative leave after the incident involving her son.
Many of her colleagues, parents and students showed their support.
Some of the signs posted on Beam’s home read:
“A teacher with a heart of gold.”
“Never judge a book by its cover.”
“Mrs. Beam is a caring person, always caring about their students.”
One of Beam’s neighbors, however, had a different opinion.
“I think she needs to be held accountable if she put a kid in a trunk. I have a problem with that,” Doug Becker said.
It is uncertain what will happen next to the mother. Although the judge decided not to move forward, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office could refer the case to a grand jury.