Community meeting

Little Elm ISD to hold community meeting after violent protest against HS – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Little Elm Schools Superintendent Daniel Gallegher held a community meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the controversy and protest the handling of a sexual assault allegation that resulted in the arrest of four students and the hospitalization of a police officer.

The students organized the protest after saying the district was not doing enough after a teenage girl reported a sexual assault by another student more than a month ago.

The superintendent spoke to members of the media Tuesday morning before the listening session.

“I call it a listening session because that’s really what I set out to do,” Gallagher said. “We want to come together. We want to be able to move forward. »

Asked if he thought the police had gone too far in their use of force against minors, Gallagher replied: “I will say this, what happened, nobody wants it, but he is important that we let this investigation, this independent review happen so that we know all the facts before making any judgement,” he said.

In a video posted to Facebook last week, Gallegher and Little Elm Mayor Curtis Cornelious said they could not share details of the investigation, but a thorough investigation has been carried out by Little Elm police and it has been determined that there was insufficient evidence to prove that a crime had been committed.

Little Elm Schools Superintendent Daniel Gallegher said he would hold a community meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the controversy and protest the handling of a sexual assault allegation that resulted in the arrest of four students and the hospitalization of a policeman.

Little Elm ISD/Facebook

Little Elm Mayor Curtis Cornelious, left, and Little Elm ISD Superintendent Daniel Gallagher.

Gallegher said no student received disciplinary action for reporting sexual misconduct and that misinformation related to the incident and shared by the student body led to a call for the walkout.

In the video, Gallegher said, “Campus administrators and school resource officers were prepared to stage a peaceful exit and keep our students safe when using their voices, however, this protest was not peaceful. and caused major disruption.”

Citing an example not found in videos shared on social media, Gallegher said a large group of students tried to break into an administrator’s office “in pursuit of targeted individuals who genuinely feared for their lives. security”.

Cornelius added that two students were arrested after assaulting a police officer and a third student was arrested for interfering in the arrest of one of those students. Cornelius said during this third arrest an officer was coerced into using pepper spray and a stun gun on a student. The fourth arrest, Cornelius said, came after a student spat at an officer.

Video of the student being pepper sprayed and shot with a stun gun by Little Elm police was widely shared on social media on Friday. The video does not show the moments leading up to when the officer uses the spray and, Cornelius said, lacked context.

NBC News 5/@briangomesss

Cellphone video shows interactions between Little Elm police and students at Little Elm High School after police were called to quell a protest, November 19, 2021.

Now the district wants to begin the process of moving forward and the superintendent said the listening session after the Thanksgiving holiday will begin that process.

“What led to Friday’s student protest touches us at the core of who we are and we need to find a way to rebuild the trust we need so we can all move forward,” Gallegher said in a statement. letter announcing the community meeting. “Your questions, thoughts and concerns are very important to me. I have heard and read every one of them and I can feel your pain.”

Gallegher said in the letter that he will “be as transparent as possible” during the community meeting, but that due to federal privacy laws, he is limited to providing certain student-related details.

The listening session took place inside the high school auditorium.

The superintendent says the session would last as long as necessary to ensure that everyone who wants to speak does so.

The Little Elm Police Department spokesperson declined a request for an interview and referred NBC 5 to ‘Little Elm Facts‘, a website with frequently asked questions related to the incident. The department’s public information officer said all officers involved in the incident were back on duty and could not immediately confirm whether the department’s internal review was still ongoing.

“It is important to me, our board and campus administration that we provide our parents and our community with the opportunity to voice their concerns, thoughts and make suggestions to the district administration. “, said Gallegher.

In response to the protest and subsequent violence, Gallegher said the district is taking the following actions:

  • An independent panel will review Little Elm ISD’s sexual harassment reporting and investigation process.
  • The district safety and security committee will review Friday’s incident.
  • The alleged sexual misconduct will be independently investigated.

“We want to take any allegation seriously. And I think letting our community peek into our proceedings is the right thing to do, which is why we created this committee,” Gallegher said.

Gallagher says the community-led committee will be chosen at random and encouraged all parents at Tuesday night’s meeting to sign up.

The Town of Little Elm has also launched a website, LittleElmFacts, to dispel rumors and counter misinformation surrounding the protest. The city said the webpage was created because incorrect information was circulating widely on social media and they wanted a place to provide official statements about the upcoming incident.