The family of a 12-year-old boy who was assaulted by an educator at Beaumont Independent School District’s Smith Middle School has asked the court to allow for the release of video of the incident and for formal depositions to be taken of BISD officials in the quest for answers as to whether district administrators were involved in a cover-up to protect the child’s assailant.
Adrianne Wells, the mother of the victim, was in Judge Donald Floyd’s District Courtroom with her family Wednesday, Dec. 18, represented by attorney Kevin Laine.
“We can determine (from the video and depositions) if there is a common practice … of a conscious indifference among BISD administration,” Laine argued before Floyd’s bench.
Houston attorney Chris Gilbert argued on behalf of BISD, accompanied by school district attorney Melody Chappell.
“Our immunity is high enough … to avoid needing administrators to take depositions,” Gilbert said. “We are of the position that the parent has a right to see the video – they do not have a right to a copy of the video.”
Floyd ruled against BISD’s argument, allowing for the release of the video to the Wells family and for depositions to be taken of key BISD officials.
Among those on Laine’s list to answer questions are Superintendent Timothy Chargois, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Administration Patricia Lambert, and Smith Middle School Principal Wilbert Andrews.
“We want to know why there were efforts on that day (of the assault) by the principal to sweep this under the rug,” Laine said. “After the assault, there was this cover-up and we want to know who all was involved.”
Wells’ 12-year-old son suffered injuries Friday, Oct. 29, when, according to the complaining victim, the youth was punched multiple times in the face and chest by BISD Smith Middle School math tutor Michael Fisher. Instead of calling the police to arrest the adult abuser, Fisher was allowed to go home and has not since been arrested for his actions.
“If it was you or me who punched a child in the face and flung him across a room in front of witnesses, you can bet we’d be in jail by now,” Wells said following the traumatic event. “I can’t understand why (Fisher) wasn’t arrested on the spot instead of just sent on his merry little way.”