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BISD trustee Mike Neil tries shedding light on assault leave con - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

BISD assault leave controversy sparks more heated words, remains unresolved

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BEAUMONT -

Emotions ran high Thursday night as people tried to get answers about Beaumont Independent School District's communications director Jessie Haynes' assault leave.

Board trustee Mike Neil tried to shed light on the controversy for his constituents, but found himself in the dark literally.  After the meeting, Neil stuck around the board room answering questions for constituents and reporters, but a BISD police officer kept turning off the lights.

When Neil turned them back on, the officer turned them off.  The officer told Neil that it was superintendent Timothy Chargois, Ed.D who wanted the lights turned off after the meeting.

Neil had already been upset because three board members had walked out of executive session right before they were to discuss Haynes' assault leave.  It kept Neil from looking at Haynes medical records and checking if she had indeed filed a worker's comp claim.

Sources tell 12News that she has not which is a requirement under assault leave.  Worker's comp pays part of a person's salary while on leave, and the district pays the rest, but there is concern that taxpayers could be footing the bill.

Neil told 12News, "I will say that I was prevented from looking at the records because certain board members got up and left, and killed the quorum, so we could no longer meet."

One of those board members was Zenobia Bush.  She told us, "Well, you saw us leave, but it wasn't for the reason that people think."

Haynes requested and was granted assault leave in August after a confrontation between her and Neil when she blocked a door Neil was trying to open.

Haynes has been charged with the Class B misdemeanor of obstruction of a passageway.

We asked BISD's human resources director Sybil Comeaux if proper procedure had been followed, but she told us to talk to the district's spokesperson.

We then asked Comeaux if she had any comment as the district's human resources director, she said she had none, and again repeated we would have to ask the spokesperson.

When we went to confirm if she meant Nakisha Myles, the same officer, who kept turning off the lights, told us that we were now harassing her, and stopped our interview.

We were granted a two minute interview with Chargois, but he told us, "I won't talk about the process or identify any type of specific leave for any specific employee."

But one person who did talk was Ozen High English teacher Kathryn Hall.  She addressed the board about her assault leave.

She explained she was on it after being beaten up by two female students at Ozen, while Hall was pregnant in 2011.

She described a process that seemed more detailed and document-driven than Haynes' assault leave.

Hall told Chargois, "My plea to you Dr. Chargois, as the leader of the district, to please make sure all rules and regulations are followed according to the law for all employees."

Also on Thursday night, the board voted unanimously to fire BISD comptroller Sharika Allison, who is under federal investigation.

She and the district's finance director Devin McCraney are accused of misuse of public funds.

McCraney, however, remains on paid leave because he chose to appeal the district's proposed termination.

Board members also set dates for public meetings to get input on adopting a new five single- member, two at-large member election map in the event of a 2014 election.

Those dates are January 13 and 23 and February 6.  The seven board members, Beaumont city councilman Mike Getz and NAACP executive director Paul Jones will each be able to draft their own map for consideration.

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