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BISD cheating allegations spark investigation debate - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

BISD cheating allegations spark investigation debate

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BEAUMONT -

There has been strong reaction from a report 12News broke on Monday.  An online post by a citizens' group alleging cheating on standardized tests in the Beaumont Independent School district has led to an investigation, or has it?

This is what we know, the Texas Education Agency was notified about the accusations, but where it gets confusing is whether there is now an investigation.

We can confirm there is an investigation.  That confirmation comes from two Beaumont Independent School District trustees.  However, they have different opinions on whether there is anything to investigate.

Board trustee Janice Brassard is outraged that teachers are being implicated in these accusations.

She said, "That is a slap in the face to teachers of this district."

Brassard is referring to an online posting by citizens' watch group, BISD Board Watch, that claims the TEA has launched a full investigation into widespread cheating in BISD.

The claim forced Superintendent, Dr. Timothy Chargois to go on offense with emails and robocalls denying any investigation.

In his robocall, Chargois said, "The TEA has not informed BISD that the agency is conducting any investigation of your school district."

The superintendent's assertion was echoed by BISD attorney Melody Chappell, who says she spoke to TEA general counsel David Anderson, and he told her there was no open investigation regarding BISD, so we called TEA ourselves.

TEA spokesperson DeEtta Culbertson said, "The TEA has received several complaints concerning the district, and we are responding to those complaints."

She never mentioned the word investigation, but board trustee Tom Neild does.

Neild told us, "It is an investigation, it's just that simple."

Unlike Brassard, Neild supports looking into the matter.

Neild said, "We can have zero tolerance for this, zero!"

He says he doesn't see this as a condemnation of teachers, but Brassard, who was a teacher for almost 40 years, compares it to the Salem Witch Trials.

Brassard said, "They started finding witches in every household and it destroyed that community."

Neild responds, "Whether you want to call it a witch hunt or whatever term you want to use, it's our duty and our responsibility to seek this out."

Brassard does agree with Neild that there is an investigation, just not by the state.

Brassard said, "TEA referred the matter to Dr. Chargois and Dr. Chargois has launched a district wide investigation to determine if any of these allegations are true or not."

12News has obtained a letter, that one of the teachers who complained received from TEA about her allegations, and it did come from the director of special investigations.

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