The Board Of Trustees of the Vidor Independent School District took action against two educators formerly employed by the district at its regular meeting Thursday, March 27. The board unanimously voted to approve the termination of former elementary school teacher Sondra Reed and the resignation of her husband, junior high school teacher Chad Reed, whose terminations were approved by the board Jan. 20 after allegations of inappropriate contact with students were raised at the end of 2013.
The board’s actions effectively ended the battle between the Reeds and VISD over the couple’s termination, but the couple still faces potential criminal prosecution and accreditation determination by the TEA that could cost the pair their teaching certifications.
Accusations of inappropriate conduct with students were posed against the Reeds after an anonymous letter sparked an investigation into allegations contained in the correspondence. The Reeds were both suspended in December 2013, and on Jan. 20 VISD board trustees approved their termination.
As revealed in an article two weeks ago, The Examiner’s investigation uncovered documentation, including witness statements and other evidence, of the accusations made against the educators. According to information submitted to investigating agencies, the “inappropriate conduct” accusations against Chad Reed primarily pertained to providing alcohol to minors and of having knowledge of other illicit activities within his household. Sondra Reed is not only accused of illegally plying teenagers with alcohol, but also of engaging in sexual acts with underage students. Information provided to the investigating agencies includes statements from at least two young men who admitted they had sexual relations with Sondra Reed while she was employed with VISD and while they were both minors.
Trustees went into executive session at the VISD board meeting March 27 before returning to the assembly to vote on the proposed measures. The board voted unanimously to accept Sondra Reed’s termination and approve Chad Reed’s resignation. Chad Reed was allowed to resign after making a settlement deal with the district, according to the board.
“With Chad, we compensated him for the wages he’s earned,” VISD Superintendent Dr. Jay Killgo explained. “The settlement is with Chad only. Sondra is not getting it.”
As a stipulation of the agreements with the Reeds, the couple must drop their termination appeals filed with the TEA, and civil litigation filed against VISD by the couple must also be dismissed.
VISD Board Trustee Mike Kilmer called for action in the form of criminal prosecution of the couple.
“We feel strongly about the evidence that has been gathered in this case and is being gathered, and would like to highly recommend that the Orange County district attorney move forward with the prosecution,” Kilmer said.
After the meeting, Killgo said he believes VISD has taken fast, decisive action in a tough situation.
“We felt like we had overwhelming evidence that made us confident in what we were doing,” Killgo asserted. “We interacted closely with the school district attorneys, and the evidence was what it was. There was no reason to delay.”
Killgo said VISD was ready to separate from the Reeds in January when their terminations were approved, but had to deal with the TEA appeals before they could finalize the contract dissolutions. “We have been working on this case ever since,” Kill- go said. “It has consumed a lot of time. The information just kept coming forward. ... When we proposed the ter- minations, we felt confident that that is what needed to happen then. I just wish we would have known sooner. But once we knew, we acted and we have done what we can.” Killgo advised that while the battle between the Reeds and VISD is at an end, the war between the couple and other investigating agencies is far from over. Orange County District Attorney John Kimbrough said the investigation is ongo- ing as of April 2, and although there is no timeframe as to when it may be considered complete, he said in corre-spondence, “The results of that investigation will be pre- sented to a grand jury.”