Texas Dads Sound OFF After Being Arrested For Getting Vocal At School Board Meeting

Texas Dads Sound OFF After Being Arrested For Getting Vocal At School Board Meeting

A pair of Texas fathers have responded after being arrested for speaking out at a school board meeting, even as a group of Republican senators is demanding that Attorney General Merrick Garland rescind an earlier memo instructing the Justice Dept. and FBI to target such meetings.

After the fathers were arrested for allegedly disturbing Round Rock Independent School District board meetings, they laid the blame for the arrests on the board members as well as  Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez, whom they said were trying to “intimidate” them into silence.

“I believe I was arrested on 9/17/21 to intimidate me and other parents and community members from continuing to speak out against the superintendent and five of the school board members,” Dustin Clark, a father of four children in public schools who started speaking out against certain policies at school board meetings virtually in April, told Fox News.

“We believe we were intentionally targeted for arrest to silence our voices because we were speaking out against the school district for illegal activity,” Jeremy Story, a father of seven homeschooled children and a resident whose tax dollars go to support the school district, added in an interview with the network.

Fox News noted further:

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Clark and Story simultaneously around 5 p.m. Sept. 17, according to the fathers. Ryan Deck, the fathers’ defense attorney, told Fox News that while the sheriff’s office carried out the arrest, the school district’s separate police department filled out the probable-cause affidavit leading to the arrest. 

Both Clark and Story face a misdemeanor charge of “Hinder Proceedings by Disorderly Conduct,” but the charges name different dates. The charge against Story traces back to an Aug. 16 board meeting while the charge against Clark traces to Sept. 14.

Amy Weir, president of the Round Rock ISD school board, told Fox News that “there has never been an attempt to silence Mr. Story.” She also noted that Clark has “spoken at nearly every board meeting since that September meeting without incident and without interruption.”

“At no time were speakers not allowed to speak in accordance with state law and board policy at a Round Rock ISD board meeting,” Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, a spokeswoman for the school district, told Fox News.

Though Clark first started to speak out at board meetings in opposition to mask mandates, he and Story were also opposed to the hiring of Hafedh Azaiez, which the board did without investigating him thoroughly, the pair maintain.

“We uncovered a video where he had used the police in his former district to silence a 68-year-old grandmother,” Story said in reference to a June 14 video showing police officers delivering a restraining order to Raquel Gonzales Martinez that barred her from coming onto school grounds for two years.

Asked about the restraining order, Martinez told Fox News she “caught an employee meeting with the board president and a board member,” which she suggested was corrupt.

As for their case, “Story and Clark told Fox News they’re planning a civil rights lawsuit against the school district and members of the school board. They held a fundraiser for that effort this past Saturday, drawing more than 250 people,” the network reported.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s 11 Republicans sent a letter to Garland asking him to rescind his controversial school board memo after learning that the FBI has created a “threat tag” to track alleged risks to school personnel (“EDUOFFICIALS”).

“Are concerned parents domestic terrorists or not?” the letter begins, according to the Washington Times.

“In light of a disturbing new revelation about the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division following your directive, we call on you to withdraw your October 4 memorandum and make abundantly clear through words and actions that no arm of the government, including the offices under your command, may be used to chill criticism of local government officials,” said the letter.


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