paulbennettnews.com
Posted on October 10th, 2017

​From: Paul Bennett (Former Teacher at Milby High School)To Whom It May Concern: In a 5-0 ruling by the Houston Independent School District (HISD) Board of Education, a decision by hearing officer Angela Dixon to terminate my employment with HISD (Milby High School) was upheld on Monday, October 3, 2017. The board members who upheld Dixon’s decision are: Diana Davila (District VIII), Jolonda Jones (District IV), Anne Sung (District VII), Holly Vilaseca (District VI), and Anna Eastman (District I). On Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 5PM, I am slated to address the board at its Hearing of Citizens public forum. This is an invitation to all media, educators, students, and concerned citizens who want to make sure that the HISD Board of Education operates as an independent arbitrator from the HISD administration. Below marks the address that I presented to the board on Monday, October 2, 2017 at my public appeal hearing:

“Good day…ladies and gentlemen of the board. To my wife Dr. Mildred Bennett thank you for your unwavering support. Paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King Junior it is my hope that this board will judge me according to content and character. Content; as in the facts of this case. Character; as in the professionalism, which I have demonstrated my entire life. I’m representing myself today because that is what an innocent person does. This is not indicative of the representation I’ve received from counsel James Fallon—who has represented me well during this entire process. During his original testimony, Milby Principal Roy De La Garza said the only reason for my possible termination centered on TWO alleged incidents which fall under the HISD professional conduct category: one involved a verbal confrontation with Milby Vice Principal Billy Shore and the second centered on a charge of sexual harassment levied against me by Milby teachers Stephanie Hobbs, Stacy Haenchen, and Christie Skeen. 

So the FACT that he listed 8 categories for termination…demonstrates De La Garza was not truthful under oath. But let me dissect the 7 other categories that were used against me by hearing officer Angela Dixon as given to her by De La Garza. 

Category number one listed under Board Policy is “deficiencies pointed out in observation reports, appraisals or evaluations, supplemental memoranda, or other communications.” Here are the facts: I had no deficiency. I was not under the watchful eye of the teacher appraisal system. Shore was my appraiser. There are two parts to a teacher appraisal: Instructional Practices and Professional Expectations. Under Instructional Practices, I received a 38 out of a possible 52 points for an overall rating of 3. The best rating a teacher can get is a 4…and as was testified in the original hearing a rating of 3 is the best score you can get in some categories. Concerning Professional Expectations, Shore gave me 25 out of 33 points for an overall rating of 3. Again the best rating you can get is a 4, and once again in some categories as was factually testified in the original hearing the best score you can get is a 3. And by the way these FACTS I’ve just given you concerning PROFESSIONAL EXPECTATIONS…are the rating scores that Shore gave me AFTER the lies that he and the other 3 levied against me in FALL of 2016. These scores represent my SPRING 2017 appraisal scores. 

The second category for dismissal under the HISD Board Policy cites a “failure to fulfill duties or responsibilities.” In her Finding of Facts…Dixon communicates that my “students came in last on the release exam of the STAAR.” Ladies and Gentlemen, this is totally untruthful. The STAAR exam took place in Spring 2017. I was taken off my English I team and moved to teach only English III and English 4 students in January 2017. In other words I had no English I STAAR students who took the test in Spring 2017 because I was not teaching English I. Dixon corresponds that I “was pulled from teaching 9th grade because of alignment issues with the curriculum.” In De La Garza’s OWN testimony…the reason I WAS PULLED FROM TEACHING 9th GRADE was because of the charges levied against me by Hobbs, Skeen, and Haechen. During the original hearing it was revealed that in an October STAAR practice test, my students out performed the students of ALL my colleagues. 

Dixon offers no comment to the third category marked “failure to comply with Board policies or administrative regulations.” 

The fourth category for my potential dismissal is a “failure to meet the District’s standards of professional conduct.” I will come back to this lastly, because it represents the TWO actual reasons as sworn by De La Garza in his original testimony why I am facing dismissal. 

Dixon offers no comment to Category 5, which reads that an employee can be dismissed for “any breach by the employee of an employment contract or any reason specified in the employees employment contract.” 

Category 6 is the “use of profanity in the course of performing any duties of employment...” During Hobbs and Skeen’s testimony they testified UNDER OATH that during my verbal confrontation with Shore, I walked into the room cussing him out including throwing around the “F bomb”. Haechen under oath testified that I did not cuss out Shore or use any type of profanity. Shore under oath testified that I did not cuss him out or use any type of profanity. So what does the prosecution present us with? There is a conflict of testimony on their side. There are liars in their mix. 

And again, Dixon offers no comment in this area as well. 

Category 7 states that I can be fired for “any reason that makes the employment relationship void or voidable, such as violation of federal, state or local law.” Dixon offers no comment. 

The final category by HISD reads that an employee can be terminated for “any reason constituting good cause for terminating the contract during the term.” Dixon cites three examples of this: two of which involved me going to the restroom to relieve myself after the previous class bell rang. Did I tell an administrator or colleague to watch my room while I relieved myself? NO…I did not. Because most of the time many of them were hurriedly going to the rest room as well. Dixon says that I left my students unattended. What was I supposed to do…pull up my pants…leave the restroom and shout to some colleague “Hey will you attend to my students…and please make sure that (Student name removed) doesn’t write profanities on the black board…thank you.” 

The third incident concerned a day that I signed my timesheet for 8 AM even though I arrived at school 8:30 AM. This was a practice I had done my entire 5 years at Milby and never once was I reprimanded by the administration for it on those few days when I was late. Why? Because this is a practiced followed by ALL Milby teachers. On many days we find ourselves working an hour or two pass the official end of daytime which last year was 3:48 PM. As the Milby Debate Coach…as an unofficial counselor to students…as a driver who took some students home who had to stay for school sponsored events….there were many days when I left that school at 4, 5, or 6 PM…even though I officially signed out at 3:48 PM. This was a practiced allowed by Milby Principal Roy De La Garza as well. During arguably every and I do mean EVERY teacher training day where the training was over by 2 or 3 PM…De La Garza told us that we could leave…even though we all had signed out officially at 3:48 PM. 

During the original hearing I testified to the FACT that in early Spring 2017, I was called into De La Garza’s office. He told me that the school was going to let me go because of the two incidents mentioned earlier: the verbal confrontation with Shore and the charge of sexual harassment by Hobbs, Skeen, and Haechen. I asked him “If this meant that I was fired as of today?” He told me “No…No…No…It’s not serious.” If De La Garza uses a board category, which states an employee can be terminated for “any reason constituting good cause for terminating the contract during the term”…then why was I not fired DURING THE TERM???!!! Why wasn’t I let go that Day??? Because as De La Garza told me that day “No…No…No…it’s not serious.” 

Ladies and Gentlemen, what is serious are liars who intentionally call into play my character and integrity. 

As I testified during the original hearing, I served 8 honorable years in the Armed Forces of America. I have taught as a teaching professional for five years at Milby after a 20-year career as a journalist. I had NO incidents of this sort at Milby before these false charges were levied against me and I had no such incidents charged against me after these incidents. 

Which brings me to the two reasons why I face dismissal as testified under oath by De La Garza. Again, the Board rates both reasons under a singular category for what it terms a “failure to meet the District’s standards of professional conduct.” In mid October of 2016 Shore walked into my room before the bell rang for 1st period and asked in a very forceful voice: “Bennett why are you not in the PLC (teacher planning conference) meeting?” My response was “I’m checking my email. I will be there in a moment.” Shore retorted, “You know the PLC is during 1st Period! You need to be there!” My response was “I’m checking my email. I will be there shortly.” As was revealed during the original hearing, the PLC meetings are slated for 1st period which last year ran from approximately 8:32-9:25 AM. When Shore came into my room, The Pledge of Allegiance or daily announcements had not yet occurred. 

As was revealed during the original hearing, there were occasional tardies by everyone who attended these meetings, including Shore. Never in my five years at Milby had any teacher or administrator spoken to me in such a tone of force as Shore accomplished that day. I thought about my time as a private at Fort Sill Oklahoma during basic training and how no drill sergeant had ever displayed this sort of Master/Servant attitude….Because when the drill sergeant asked me: “PRIVATE WHAT IS YOUR MALFUNCTION?” I returned in equal tone: “I HAVE NO FUNCTION DRILL SEARGENT!” 

I walked into Hobbs room and told Shore in the same forceful voice he had displayed to me moments earlier… “You will never use the tone of voice that you just used with me ever again.” He told me to calm down. I told him: “I am calm. But you will never speak to me the way you just did.” He suggested that we step outside. My response was:“We can go outside, inside, upside, or downside…but you will never speak to me that way again.” 

Was my voiced raised? Yes it was. But I was not yelling. I spoke to Shore in the same forceful tone that he introduced to me. As I told the attorney representing HISD in my testimony, “I figured this was how the man communicated to grown people and I was more than happy to return the form of communication to him.” 

The second incident involved a November 2016 discussion with my colleagues about pathos speaking and writing. I informed the team that in the area of pathos presentation, which is the ability to persuade someone about a position by using emotion, I would use Hitler. I told the team no person in recorded history had caused almost an entire nation to act purely based on his emotions. I added…and you can look this up on Google right now…that Hitler was so emotional, that often times he would have an orgasm during his speeches. But I told the team I was going to let my students watch him anyway because you don’t have to understand what someone is saying to be moved by the emotion in how they say it. Next, I stood up and gave a demonstration of this by speaking in Hitler German gibberish.

Soon thereafter, I was called into the principal’s office and told that these three people said I stood up…made an orgasmic sound AND shook my groin area. 

Nothing has ever offended me as much in my life as these total lies by a group of people I have already demonstrated by their OWN testimony possess at least TWO liars in their mist. 

I told De La Garza in a written email “that as an African American male, it reminded me of the bogus lies of White people concerning the sexual prowess of Black men when it came to White women…because Nothing is further from the truth.” 

Del La Garza told me he did not doubt the integrity of Hobbs, Skeen, and Haechen in their accusations of sexual harassment and insinuated that he doubted my honor in this matter. “It’s the word of three against one” is what Del La Garza told me that day. 

Board, I’ve demonstrated to you already concerning my verbal confrontation with Shore…that I used no profanity. This was testified under oath by Shore himself and runs contrary to the lies of Hobbs and Skeen who testified under oath that I used profanity. 

In a twist of irony ROY (current Milby principal)…it’s the word of three against two in this specific instance: Shore, Haenchen, and myself against the untruthfulness of Hobbs and Skeen. Are you going to use the same standard in this instance ROY? 

Once again, Del La Garza testified under OATH the two aforementioned REASONS is why HISD is seeking my dismissal. I’ve already proven members of the prosecution to be liars in one of the reasons. How in the world can you believe them in the other? Thank you.”

The following are concerns that I will address at the Hearing of Citizens public forum on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 5PM: 

1/Hearing officer Angela Dixon is paid by HISD, which eliminates her as an independent arbitrator. 

2/There is a need for the HISD board to produce a record of all voting results as it relates to employee removal. Several private communications speculate that the HISD board and board member Eastman in particular--overwhelmingly sides with HISD administration in rulings against teachers and other staff. This should not be left to speculation. Let’s see the voting tabulations. 

3/HISD Superintendent Dick A. Carranza never spoke to me directly about the incident, but communications suggest he conversed with Principal Del La Garza. If Carranza was the supervisor to both Del La Garza and I during this event, why was I not spoken to? As the superintendent, Carranza supposedly represents ALL OF US; principals, teachers, and other staff alike. 

4/The HISD boards’ independence from the HISD administrative team as it relates to HISD teachers and other staff is speculative at best, if not outright DEPENDENT. The HISD board has its meetings and offices at the HISD administration building. One can assume that personal relationships are developed amongst board members and HISD administrators because they share the same building. During board appeal hearings, the superintendent sits with the board as they decide the fate of employees—thus eliminating any semblance of visual independence. As a whole, a similar relationship does not take place between teachers and board members. 

5/Board members who have any sort of relationship with the prosecution or defendant teams in hearings should remove themselves. Davila is listed as a Milby graduate on the HISD board website. One can assume that she and Milby principal Del La Garza have at the very least communicated about events at Milby---thus leading one to conclude that she could not be an independent arbitrator with me (in this instance), because the two of us have never communicated. 

6/As a journalist, I’ve written stories involving board member Jones and at least one could have been viewed as negative. She should have subtracted herself from my appeal hearing. 

7/Board member Eastman serves on the Holocaust Museum Houston advisory board. The fact that I identified Hitler as a great historical pathos speaker may be offensive to her and may have been the reason why she ignored the facts of a case in which the prosecution team itself displayed obvious liars amongst themselves. 

8/Not one time was the conflict of testimony amongst the prosecution even discussed by the board at the public appeal hearing. Again, concerning the verbal confrontation between Milby vice principal Billy Shore and I---Shore, Milby teacher Stacey Haenchen, as well as myself testified under oath that I used no profanities with him during our event. Board members were privy to all the testimony of the original hearing and according to the HISD board website, board member Jones is an attorney whose whole occupation is predicated upon TRUTH. The fact that Milby teachers Stephanie Hobbs and Christie Skeen testimonies under OATH communicate that I used all types of profanity including throwing around the “F bomb”, runs contrary to their OWN respective prosecution team members. 

9/Because of the listed concerns, proposed state legislation should be made to ensure that the HISD Board of Education operates as an independent agency in all forms; both physical and personal. The following is how this can be achieved concerning HISD administrative removal of teachers and staff: 

a.   The current HISD administration paid hearing officer should receive equal compensation from HISD and the various education unions. This would relieve pressure from the hearing officer of having to rule for the HISD administration because they are alone in the compensation that she/he receives.

b.   Cases involving the hearing officer, HISD administration and HISD employees facing employment removal should not take place at the HISD administration building.

c.    The HISD school board should be replaced by a panel of citizens with no ties to education during the employee appeal process. The panel of citizens should not have personal or logistic contact with either the prosecution or defendant teams. Appeal cases involving the panel of citizens and HISD employees facing employment removal should not take place at the HISD administration building.

d.  The superintendent of schools should communicate equally with both the accused and accuser before the removal process begins. HISD is not a private entity, but supported by taxpayer dollars including those of the accused and accuser. Because the superintendent is in effect the employee of all tax paying citizens, then she/he should communicate with all involved during the removal process. 

​Thank you,Paul Bennett713-529-8373 (home)713-471-2534 (cell)
​paul@paulbennettnews.com

Posted on December 21st, 2014

By Paul Fitzgerard Bennett (who writes this diatribe in the 3rd person quite effectively)
Hello friends and neighbors, "Lula's Sweet Baby" is a book which has no equal in literary history. Paul Fitzgerald Bennett does something no other poet/short story writer has ever done in human history. Whether it be God or humanity, Bennett challenges long held standards in bold fashion. If Bennett does have a peer in the poetic genre his classroom mates are William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, and Billy Shakespeare. Bennett does not write to satisfy the process of penmanship. Bennett's words are formed by "the spirits." Which spirits are for the reader to decide. Without a doubt, Bennett is the "Vincent Van Gogh" of written words. The world can only hope that he does not cut off an ear (although many of his fingers are white due to a satisfying need to peel back the skin until they bleed). In the area of "artistic" sells, Bennett already has Van Gogh beat. Van Gogh sold one painting during his life. Bennett has already sold 700 copies of "Lula's Sweet Baby." You can purchase your copy of "Lula's Sweet Baby" on paulbennettnews.com for 15 dollars or go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com

Posted on March 18th, 2013

America is comparable to ancient Israel. Everyone wants to believe that these two great human empires are moral superiors. But both proved themselves to be the sort that even great Sodom and Babylon would find wanting. The former is fool's gold when it comes to human liberty, while the later gave birth to human holocaust.

Posted on August 16th, 2012

"The piece was written by Judge Philip B. Gilliam of Denver, Co... a highly respected judge in the Denver Juvenile Court and Juvenile Hall from 1940 until his death in 1975. During his time on the bench, he spent his time protecting children and ensuring their proper treatment in the court system."



Open letter to Teenagers

Always we hear the plaintive cry of the teenager. What can we do?...Were can we go?

The answer is GO HOME!

Hang the storm windows, paint the woodwork. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn, shovel the walk. Wash the car, learn to cook, scrub some floors. Repair the sink, build a boat, get a job.

Help the minister, priest, or rabbi, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army. Visit the sick, assist the poor, study your lessons. And then when you are through - and not too tired - read a book.

Your parents do not owe you entertainment. Your city or village does not owe you recreational facilities.

The world does not owe you a living...You owe the world something.

You owe it your time and your energy and your talents so that no one will be at war or in poverty or sick or lonely again.

Grow up; quit being a crybaby. Get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone, and start acting like a man or a lady.

You're supposed to be mature enough to accept some of the responsibility your parents have carried for years.

They have nursed, protected, helped, appealed, begged, excused, tolerated and denied themselves needed comforts so that you could have every benefit. This they have done gladly, for you are their dearest treasure.

But now, you have no right to expect them to bow to every whim and fancy just because selfish ego instead of common sense dominates your personality, thinking and request.

In Heaven's name, grow up and go home!

- South Bend Tribune, Sunday, Dec. 6, 1959.

Posted on August 16th, 2012

Want to see an example of White people changing the rules to fit their agenda....check out what's happening to WikeLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Ecuador has given him political asylum in their embassy in the UK. But the UK is considering pausing Ecuador's status as a "friendly" nation in order to break into the embassy and take Assange out.

Remember humans; an embassy is supposed to be safe from invasion.