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Two lawsuits filed against BISD raise questions about top administrator

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BEAUMONT -

More charges of cheating are coming out in the form of two lawsuits against the Beaumont Independent School District.

Patricia Lambert is BISD's assistant superintendent for secondary schools, and for the past few weeks, she's been on the hot seat, accused of masterminding a pattern of cheating in the district.

Houston-area attorney Larry Watts filed the two lawsuits Tuesday, both of which imply that cheating is not only taking place, but also being condoned.

He said, "My grandfather used to say a lot of folks have the cat box syndrome.  That means when they poop, they cover it up."

Last month, Central High School teacher Yvette Griffith came forward saying she had witnessed a teacher helping a student cheat on a standardized test.

She says she reported it to Lambert, and Lambert covered it up.  An investigation is ongoing, but now more allegations are surfacing.

Watts is representing C'Brionne Hendrix.  Hendrix is a senior at Central High School, and the daughter of the assistant principal, Sharon Hendrix.

C'Brionne is suing the district and Lambert, claiming her ranking as salutatorian was stolen.  Salutatorian is the senior with the second highest academic ranking in the class.

Watts accuses Lambert of rigging the outcome, and handpicking who she wanted as salutatorian.  He says she did this to get back at C'Brionne's mother.

Watts told 12News, "Well it looks like the reason that she did that may have been because she just never got over the the fact that this little girl's mother, while serving as an assistant principal who was a woman of total integrity, who would not sacrifice that integrity for Lambert's personnel decisions and antics that's why."

On the same day the lawsuit was filed, Watts says the BISD reassigned Hendrix to Pathways Learning Center, the district's alternative school.

Watts is also representing teacher Valina Johnson, who he says has faced job insecurity and has been overlooked for promotions after she questioned why students at a school ranked exemplary could not read at their grade level.

BISD attorney Melody Chappell says the district will review the lawsuits and then file a response with the court.

Jefferson County 60th Judicial District Judge Gary Sanderson has set a hearing for a temporary restraining order in the salutatorian case for June 18th, however that might have to be changed to an earlier date since graduation is Saturday.

Watts says it's an urgent matter since whoever is named salutatorian becomes eligible for scholarships and other university offers.

 

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