August 28, 2018
Katy Magazine Editors
On August 28, 2018, Katy Magazine received an anonymous letter by U.S. Mail that claims to be from a current Katy ISD teacher. The letter is an open letter to Sean Dolan, the outspoken Katy ISD critic who launched a social media campaign against Superintendent Lance Hindt, and complains vigilantly at Katy ISD board meetings. The author of the letter expresses fears of retribution by Dolan and his anti-Katy ISD supporters for stating their opinion.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
INTRO LETTER TO KATY MAGAZINE
I am sending the enclosed letter on behalf of many Katy ISD teacher, including myself, who are tired of the negativity being spread by Sean Dolan and his group of followers. I know that many people are following that back and forth that has been going on.
Because of the tactics that Sean Dolan and his group use, I do not feel comfortable commenting on any of his posts of posting my opinion online. Other teachers and staff members that I have talked with feel the same way.
I am sending this letter to a few different Katy news outlets. I thought it might provide some insight into the way that Katy ISD teachers are feeling. If you see fit to publish or post it, great. If not, it was therapeutic to write.
OPEN LETTER TO SEAN DOLAN
Dear Mr. Dolan,
First off, I would like to say that I have been an educator in Katy ISD for the past 12 years and my children attend Katy ISD schools. To be clear and upfront, I am a supporter of Dr. Hindt. I realize that for you and most of your followers the fact that I said that makes anything else I have to say irrelevant, and that you probably already marked me as just another sheep who blindly follows the district, supports bullying, supports plagiarism, and/or any of the other labels that you associate with anyone who disagrees with anything you or your followers have to say, but it is simply not true.
The fact that you and your followers do not see the irony between what you accuse others of doing and the things you are doing is completely mind-blowing.
I cannot believe some of the comments that I read from your followers during the live streaming of Katy ISD board meetings. The name calling, innuendos, and blatant disrespect is reprehensible, especially coming from a group who claims to be trying to bring awareness to bullying. I can only imagine that if the comments that are made about our board members were made about your followers’ own children, they would be on the phone with the school in a heartbeat.
Mr. Dolan, I have heard you claim that teachers are afraid to speak up because they are afraid of backlash from the district. As for me, and a steadily growing number of fellow teachers, I will tell you that the number one reason that we DON’T speak up, is you.
I know that if I were to sign my name to this letter, it would only be a matter of time before my name, salary, direct line, and other personal information would be posted on your page, with your safety net “public information” label.
You are always more than willing to meet anyone for coffee, which is all well and good when there is pure intent behind the invitation, but why in the world would I agree to that? So that our conversation can be recorded and spun into something negative? It is not my district that I am afraid of. Sadly, it’s you.
I hate that I sit here and read some of the comments on your page, KNOWING that they are false, and yet I am too afraid to stand up for something that I believe in. I am afraid to speak my mind or offer my opinion, or many times, clarifying FACTS, because I do not want the backlash from you or any of your followers. It is so sad that you have created such an unsettling atmosphere.
Are there flaws within the district? Absolutely. Are there employees who are unhappy? Absolutely. As I have said, I have worked in the district for 12 years and I also have children who attend Katy ISD schools. Have we had issues? Absolutely, but there is far more good in this district than bad. You have chosen to take the bad, publicly exploit it, and spin it so that you get to look like the hero that is going to single-handedly save the district from itself.
You have created an environment so hostile that anytime there is an issue, no matter the size, it is taken straight to social media as another mark against Katy ISD. It’s apparent, at this point, that you prefer things go wrong. It’s another feather in your election cap. I hesitate to call you an ‘ambulance chaser’ but…
The most recent issue involving transportation was, and still is, a major work in progress. My children were late to and from school every day the first week. I agree that the staggered bell times and shortage of drivers, etc. seems like it was not planned out the best way. While I was irritated and concerned that my children were home late, as a parent, I made sure not to project my agitation onto my children, because I was not going to take away from the excitement of their first day of school.
I never considered my children “missing” (they were either at school or on a bus) and would have never thought to call the police. I was actually shocked that you would suggest this. I think, in spite of planning issues, a majority of the schools, as well as the transportation offices have done a very good job keeping parents in the loop and I trust that it will get better. As of the second week of school, my children have been picked up and dropped off within 5 minutes of their scheduled times. I saw a post of yours where a mom commented about her children having to walk across a busy intersection and that there were some people that wouldn’t stop so that the children could get safely across. You made a comment about wanting to be “deputized” so that you could write those careless drivers tickets… Why didn’t you offer, with your flexible schedule and big military vehicle, to serve as a volunteer crossing guard so that those kids would be able to cross the street safely?
I’ve heard you question the district’s spending and I saw your “protest” at our teacher convocation. I’m sure that your posters were only meant to stir up emotions, because I would hope that you understand that when it comes to school budgets, money that is designated for salaries cannot be spent on school supplies, just like bond money for a stadium can’t be used to hire teachers or buy more buses.
You question the fact that teachers and staff members have the option to allot a portion of their paychecks to the Katy ISD Education Foundation, and I question why where any part of my paycheck goes is any of your business? I think it’s amazing that teachers believe so much in what their peers and co-workers are doing that they want to give back to their community. We are, in no way, shape or form, forced to or pressured to give anything. It is a choice that we make because we are proud of the work being done in our district and want to continue to enhance student learning. The Katy ISD Education Foundation is not solely backed by teacher and staff donations, but the fact that teachers and staff members CHOOSE to put a portion of their money into worthwhile projects of their fellow teachers is a GOOD thing.
Whether you want to believe it or not, in the short amount of time he has been here, Dr. Hindt has been an amazing superintendent. I only had the privilege to meet him one time, but I will tell you that many, many teachers were excited about the direction in which our district was going. It was refreshing to have a Superintendent who made himself so available and visited campuses because he wanted to be out and involved, not because it was a photo opportunity. It is truly a shame that he was not given an opportunity to accomplish the things he set out to do for our district.
I write this letter with the support of many teachers and staff members. I do not think anything I have said will change anything that you or your followers are doing. I tell my students and my children that they do need to speak up if something is wrong and I am an avid supporter of the belief that people should try to be a part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem. As teachers, and most importantly, parents, if we teach our kids to constantly look for the bad and focus on the negative, we are doing them a tremendous disservice, because that is all they will ever find. I don’t think that you are interested in seeing the good, and truthfully, changing board members and Superintendents is not the issue or the solution.
I think you and your followers will find fault with anyone that sits in those seats. the word “legacy” has been thrown around a lot lately, and looking at the list of your followers, there are some recognizable names that have a long legacy of disagreeing with most of what Katy ISD does. Our district, our school board, and our current Superintendent are actually very widely supported.
The sad part is that many of us have allowed ourselves to be bullied into silence because of you. Your initial intent may have been one thing, but the way you have gone about things is just wrong. I don’t know what you expect to accomplish by tearing down so many different parts of the district. I know that many of your requests and questions could have probably been simply handled without all the publicity but it’s evident that you thoroughly enjoy that part. Our district has so many wonderful qualities. We have devoted teachers. We have amazing students. We have outstanding programs and activities. It’s a shame that none of that seems to matter to you.
A large majority of teachers, staff, parents, community members and students support our district and those leading us, even though their jobs have been made unnecessarily difficult in the last year.
While I am very disappointed in myself for not having the courage to post or comment publicly, I will continue to support the district the best way I can. I will welcome my students eagerly, teach them, support and encourage them, love them and remind them that the most important thing they can be is kind.
It’s important to remember that if you can’t think of something kind to say, you probably aren’t thinking hard enough. “
Mailed to Katy Magazine by a reader claiming to be a Katy ISD teacher and parent who wishes to remain anonymous.