Report: Problems At Key Middle School

Teachers Have Until March 22 To Respond To HISD

HOUSTON - A report released Thursday about Key Middle School suggests there is much to be concerned about, KPRC Local 2 reported.

The Houston Independent School District hired a group of attorneys to investigate the school after it said it found surveillance video showing employees taking computer equipment from the school. Some of it ended up at Kashmere High School, officials said.

Officials said the report found evidence of cheating, nepotism and theft. It also said district policies were regularly not followed at both schools and there was no system for checks and balances.

The report also accused several employees of charging students for gum, candy and school dances. Others have been accused of paying for the chance to teach summer school.

There were also allegations of unauthorized fund raising activities. The report said that thousands of dollars received were not deposited or accounted for in any district activity fund accounts.

Some employees have also been accused of handing out the TAKS test in advance.

"I think this is just a witch hunt," said Jackie Anderson, one of the employees named in the report.

Anderson said she had no knowledge of improprieties.

"Their testing that I thought was of no concern of me, I don't have access to that information," she said. "How can I be concerned about something if I don't have that level of access?"

One of the employees under investigation is current Kashmere High School principal and former Key Middle School principal Mabel Caleb.

"Multiple witnesses stated that they were fearful of Ms. Caleb and reluctant to say anything against her," the report reads. "When asked what they were fearful of, witnesses stated that Ms. Caleb was vindictive, powerful (and connected to people like Carol Mims-Galloway and Sheila Jackson-Lee,) and would use that power to intimidate them and make their lives miserable, including telling people they were not wanted at Key or threatening them with their jobs. Other witnesses stated Ms. Caleb had an "inner circle" of employees who she took with her from Key to Kashmere." Employees named in the report have until March 22 to respond.

"Once we get all that information together, the administration will consider everything and make some decisions and make some recommendations to the Board of Education," HISD spokesman Norm Uhl said.

Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon said she plans to sue the school district on behalf of her members.

"What we found was they would ask a teacher, 'Did this happen?' and they'd say, 'No, it didn't,' and they'd accuse them of lying," Fallon said.

During the investigation, Kashmere's principal was removed from her job while six other employees were reassigned.

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