First-year Wharton ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael O’Guin has been vocal about how he doesn’t follow social media when it comes to concerns of parents of students, or the community might have of the school district.
He prefers face-to-face contact.
If that is the case, then parents and the community will have their opportunity to voice their opinions at a regular school board meeting Thursday about how Wharton High School is run and how and if students are disciplined.
This comes on the heels of athletes and a student allegedly attacking a football coach during halftime of the Wharton Tigers varsity game, and a teacher being stabbed with a pencil while in school.
Twice, Dr. O’Guin said “at the conclusion of the investigation appropriate actions to address the situation will be taken.”
The Wharton Journal-Spectator Monday emailed the superintendent and Wharton ISD Public Relations Coordinator Bridget English about updating the community on these incidents, and didn’t receive a response.
Wharton High School is led by first-year Principal Richard Chandler.
According to the Wharton ISD Code of Conduct, it states a person is designated to serve as the “campus behavior coordinator.” The WISD Code of Conduct reads it can be the principal or any other campus administrator selected by the principal.
Dr. O’Guin and English were asked if Chandler provided input during the investigation.
The Journal-Spectator also asked the following questions by email:
• What are the offenses (if applicable) that were committed during these two separate incidents?
• As a result of these separate investigations, was the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) implemented, in accordance with state law and the WISD Code of Conduct?
Following the reported attacks that were made public through news releases on Wharton ISD’s Facebook page, Oct. 11 and Oct. 12, the board of trustees did not request to have a special meeting to discuss these topics.
The Journal-Spectator did ask Dr. O’Guin and English if the community will have the opportunity to speak on these and any other matters during the Thursday trustee meeting, and if there were going to be any restrictions placed (to save time) during the public forum/citizens comments portion of the meeting.
The meeting at the WISD Education Support Center, 2100 North Fulton Street, begins at 7 p.m.
News releases provided to public
Wharton ISD released a statement Oct. 11 that said Dr. O’Guin, who regularly attends the home games, was advised of an altercation inside the Tigers’ locker room.
“I am aware of an incident occurring during halftime of the football game on Friday involving a member of the coaching staff and student athletes,” Dr. O’Guin said in the press release. “The incident is currently under investigation.”
Dr. O’Guin didn’t give details about who was involved in the investigation, but added “at the conclusion, appropriate actions to address the situation will be taken.”
He said the incident involved an employee and for student confidentiality reasons, no additional information would be shared.
“As always, the safety of our students and staff remains our top priority,” “Dr. O’Guin said.
According to a Houston news station in an Oct. 11 report, there was a separate altercation last month between an educator and a student on the Wharton High School campus.
Wharton ISD did not issue a press release about this incident.
A teacher whose voice was altered to remain unidentified in the KPRC news report, said the Wharton ISD Board of Trustees needed to acknowledge the school district is in “serious trouble.”
The unidentified teacher said a female colleague had bruises on her leg and marks on her hand from a student’s pencil attack Sept. 23. The male student allegedly threatened the lives of other students and teachers, one of them a substitute, and said he was going to “kill everyone.”
The Journal-Spectator Tuesday did reach out to Dr. O’Guin.
He said the following: “We’re aware of an incident that is being investigated and appropriate actions are in the process of being taken. Because the incident involves employee and student confidentiality, we will not be making any further statements. As always, the safety of our students and staff remains our top priority.”
The unidentified teacher said there is no discipline being administered to students.