Last week’s explosive Examiner cover story that Beaumont Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois knew about a systematic program of cheating continues to reverberate among outraged citizens who thought they had heard the worst of the BISD scandals. But Jennifer Johnson’s report documented cheating on such a massive scale that it has made a mockery of BISD claims of academic progress. This egregious conduct was overseen at Central High by former principal Patricia Lambert and spread among other schools in the district. Lambert was subsequently promoted into the district’s top leadership by the very same Dr. Chagrois. While the facts about Lambert’s activities have continued to ooze out — from her felony extortion convictions in New Orleans, to lying about her credentials, to her numerous family members on the Central payroll, to charges of grade-rigging, to having an on-the-clock school maintenance employee build a fence in her back yard — it had not been previously reported that Chargois had knowledge of any of the nefarious allegations.
This has proved to be a sore subject indeed for the BISD gang of trustees and administrators who are unable or unwilling to put a leash on the Lambert excesses, and the revelations that Chargois knew suggests a lack of accountability in the upper echelons of the district.
An audience member’s possession of The Examiner newspaper with the “CHARGOIS KNEW” headline prompted the BISD Board of Trustees to end a scheduled budget meeting shortly after the meeting commenced Thursday, June 6. The audience member reading the newspaper, Beaumont City Councilman and local attorney Mike Getz, didn’t immediately move from his seat, so an adamant Janice Brassard, the trustee chairing the meeting, called a BISD police officer to escort Getz away. When the lawyer questioned the legality of the move, Brassard moved to abruptly adjourn the meeting. At that point, BISD Board President Woodrow Reece voiced the opinion that if Getz would not go willingly, Getz would go in handcuffs.
This was not the first time Reece had attempted to use BISD police to bully and intimidate citizens attending district meetings, but those police officers do not answer to him, despite his position as board president. This megalomania must be catching because Brassard has subsequently filed charges against Getz with the state bar association for being contrary, though waiting in line for sweet tea and reading a newspaper at a public meeting violates no known statute.
Student testing might be a sensitive subject for the excitable Brassard since she operates a company on Dowlen Road called Miz B’s Tutorials that offers instruction in English, math, science, social studies and reading, plus test preparation for TAKS, among other services. Business must be good because she recently applied for city permits to expand her tutoring business – perhaps because of the substandard performance of BISD schools. But that apparently doesn’t matter to Chargois, Reece, Lambert and Brassard, who are more concerned with what newspaper Mike Getz is reading than the quality of education in BISD.
Chargois knew, indeed.