By George Slaughter
The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees Tuesday night issued a second statement of support for Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt following the online disclosure of a 35-year-old lawsuit against Hindt that alleged assault.
The disclosure was made by Sean Dolan, a Katy internet marketing company owner who has had issues with Hindt and the district.
The lawsuit alleged that Hindt, after leaving a party in February 1983, got out of his car and assaulted a man after the man yelled at Hindt to drive more slowly through the neighborhood.
After much legal back-and-forth, the matter was dismissed, with the only liability being court costs linked to the suit.
School trustees are supporting Hindt. Board President Ashley Vann issued this statement Tuesday night: “The 1983 civil case was fully and finally dismissed, after litigation, with no damages or liability. No criminal charges were ever filed. Again, as stated in the March 26 Board meeting, the Board fully vetted Dr. Lance Hindt, and we continue to stand firmly behind him as our superintendent.”
Tuesday’s disclosure and response comes after the board on Monday night issued what was a first statement of support for Hindt, who last week was accused of a participating in a bullying event that allegedly took place over 35 years ago.
Area resident Greg Barrett, whose legal name is Greg Gay, made the accusations during the public comments portion of a school board work-study meeting.
Barrett accused Hindt of shoving his head into a urinal and that others kicked him immediately afterword. Barrett said when he went home he put a gun in his mouth because he felt he had no support following the alleged incident, which would have taken place when both men were junior high school students.
Under state law, neither Hindt nor any trustee could respond to Barrett’s allegations at the work-study meeting.
Katy trustee meetings are recorded on video. Dolan took Barrett’s accusations at the meeting and turned them into a stand-alone video, subtitled, and placed it on the Internet.
The video received national media attention. To see that video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yNllJ3W180&feature=youtu.be.
Last Tuesday afternoon, Hindt issued a statement that said he was not part of the incident that Barrett described.
At Monday’s regularly-scheduled trustees meeting, Vann read a statement in which the board voiced its support for the superintendent.
“The district found itself in the middle of a national media storm last week,” Vann said, adding that “viral videos, edited tape, false statements, and gotcha moments are part of our modern news cycle and social media culture, yet often these frenzied attacks lack context and distort truth.”
Vann said the board “fully vetted” Hindt before hiring him as superintendent two years ago, which drew applause from many in attendance.
“We understand the optics from last week made it seem like we are insensitive to allegations of bullying,” Vann said. “However, that could not be further from the truth. Sometimes moments like this remind us of why we became so passionate about public education. Even if the facts are not exactly correct, or if motives are unclear, it gave us a chance to look at what more we can do to continue to erase the bullying at Katy ISD.”
Hindt, speaking after Vann, said his reaction to Barrett’s allegations was one of shock.
“It wasn’t one of disrespect or insensitivity,” Hindt said. “I was purely shocked.”
Hindt thanked the board for its support and said he regretted the negative attention for Katy that came about over the past week.
“Ultimately, I’ll be judged by one person and that is God, my Lord and Savior,” Hindt said. “That’s who will judge me.”
To see Vann’s and Hindt’s statements, visit http://katyisdtx.swagit.com/play/03262018-1242. The statements begin at the 3:20 mark.