BEAUMONT - Attorneys for the Kirbyville Consolidated Independent School District have filed a brief challenging a temporary restraining order obtained by attorneys for the family of former Kirbyville High School principal Dennis Reeves.
The 11 page brief filed Tuesday morning in 137th judicial District Court in Jefferson County by Austin law firm Powell & Leon asserts that the district has no intent to destroy any record pertaining to Reeves' May 23, 2017 suicide or his employment according to a press release from the law firm.
The district fully cooperated with law enforcement and requests by Reeves' family for information the release said.
Attorneys are asking that the court dissolve the restraining order which they say could allow "broad and virtually unlimited access to the personal, work, and official records of school employees and trustees without cause" the release said.
The attorneys argue that there is no evidence to suggest that the district would destroy or tamper with any information or records the release said.
They also argued in the brief that the Jefferson County court has no jurisdiction in the matter because the Reeves family has made no case against the district, its employees or trustees the release said.
The brief also detailed two separate allegations of workplace harassment from a teacher and a former secretary in the weeks leading up to Reeves' resignation and suicide according to the release.
In addition Kirbyville CISD superintendent released a statement through the release stating...
“This is a tragedy for the entire Kirbyville community. The district’s counsel is working hard to provide a full, open, and transparent resolution to this difficult situation. Our district administration is focused on supporting our students and employees, and helping this community heal.”
From Kirbyville CISD's Attorneys...
The district’s brief disclosed the following facts to the court surrounding Mr. Reeves’s suicide:
• In the weeks leading up to his suicide, Principal Reeves was the subject of two separate allegations of harassment in the workplace, by a teacher and by a former secretary.
• Mr. Reeves had been sent home from work by Superintendent Tommy Wallis for a “cooling off period” due to his workplace behavior.
• One complaint by a female teacher alleged that Mr. Reeves sent her “hundreds” of text
messages and she wanted this to cease.
• Another harassment complaint came from an employee with whom Mr. Reeves had a previous extramarital affair. The employee alleged that Mr. Reeves was sending her unwanted text messages and that his wife, Tammy Reeves, was also sending unwanted text messages and targeting her with vulgar and unwanted social media posts. In one, Mrs. Reeves posted “you are still alive only because I can’t afford a hitman.”
• On May 23, 2017, Superintendent Tommy Wallis, accompanied by the assistant superintendent, met with Mr. Reeves about the harassment allegations. Mr. Reeves was informed that the district would have to investigate the allegations against him and he would be placed on administrative leave during that period. Mr. Reeves was offered the opportunity to tender his resignation if he did not want an investigation to take place.
• Mr. Reeves chose to tender his resignation in lieu of an investigation into his conduct. He departed from the school and shot himself in his vehicle, which was parked in the school parking lot.
• In order to protect the privacy of the Reeves family, Superintendent Wallis did not fully disclose the complexity of Mr. Reeves’s employment and marital difficulties to the media in an interview immediately following the suicide.
• Following the suicide, Tammy Reeves asked Superintendent Wallis for Mr. Reeves’s district-owned cell phone and a copy of his resignation letter, both of which were provided to her. She also asked for the written statement by Mr. Reeves’s former secretary that contained allegations of harassment. This could not be provided at that time because it contained personal information that the district was not at liberty to disclose without an Attorney General’s opinion.
• No other requests for documents were made by the Reeves family prior to a plaintiff attorney seeking a restraining order against the district on their behalf. The order purports to preserve records but also seeks broad and virtually unrestrained access to personal, work, and official records of school employees and trustees without cause.
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