Wednesday’s meeting of the Neches ISD School Board was more of the same as the board deliberated late into the night at Neches High School.
Like the contentious board meeting months ago, organizers and supporters of Change for Neches spoke before the board. The group continued its assault on Neches Elementary Principal Kim Snider, reiterating allegations of emotional bullying of students. The group also heaped grief on Kim’s husband, Superintendent Randy Snider, and the board.
Of course, supporters of the Sniders were also present, and just like months ago, the board went into a long executive session. And just like months ago, the board cleared all complaints and would not discuss what was said in the session.
The situation has become even more challenging as the school board decided not to renew the contract of suspended teacher Amanda Kincade and fired secretary Effie Williams. The group said Kincade was let go as retaliation for Change for Neches. Williams was fired on Thursday. A third teacher, Ashley Perry, resigned before contract renewals.
Change for Neches believes the three were let go as retaliation. Williams, who believes in the group's cause after her dismissal, said she wanted to be neutral and was fired because she would not sign a letter supporting Kim Snider.
The small but vocal group has now hired legal representation and continues to raise funds to advocate for the removal of Kim Snider as principal. The group has also sent letters of complaint to the Texas Education Agency. The agency said Wednesday they are still determining if an investigation is needed.
Whatever is happening behind closed doors and hushed whispers at Neches ISD, the optics are not good. While the TEA is taking its time deliberating, the school continues to be under a dark cloud. Like many small communities that revolve around the local school, the pall casts a shadow on the town itself. There are arguments on both sides, and no one without the legal authority to do so can properly judge what is fact and what is hyperbole.
It’s time for the clouds to clear, and have this matter resolved. The TEA needs to step in now and start an investigation into the matter. The state should also quickly put an end to this struggle, by either clearing Neches administrators or administer the proper corrective measures at Neches.
We would think both sides of this struggle would welcome the state intervention. The Change for Neches group would like an outside agency looking at the allegations with different eyes. For Neches ISD, it would be a chance to finally clear its name once and for all and get back to its mission — educating children. The community can stop bickering about the issue and can resume normalcy and support its school, whatever form that would take.
This matter has gone beyond what people feel in the court of public opinion. Both sides are entrenched and someone needs to ask if the strife is good for the community.
The answer to that question is an affirmative “No."