breaking news

Texas softball coach Connie Clark to step down after long run with Longhorns

School board asked to censure trustee in Confederate school name flap


The move is latest in clashes related to a delay in deciding whether to remove names of Confederate figures.

Trustee Teich wanted board to consider the censure for Ted Gordon’s remarks, which she called unprofessional.

Trustees delayed a February vote on changing school names with ties to the Confederacy.

Austin school district trustee Ann Teich asked fellow school board members Wednesday afternoon to consider censuring Trustee Ted Gordon for publicly criticizing the board.

The request, made during a board operations meeting, is the latest move in ongoing clashes related to the trustees’ delay in deciding whether to remove the names of Confederate figures from five schools.

Teich asked that the board officers — President Kendall Pace, Trustees Geronimo Rodriguez and Julie Cowan — schedule a discussion of a possible closed-door censure of Gordon at a future school board meeting.

Teich said she wanted trustees to consider the censure “for his comments on two different separate occasions about the board of trustees, which includes all of us. They were unprofessional comments, they were not done face to face, they were not discussed with us at all. That, in my opinion, violates our current board handbook provisions about board member behavior.”

READ: Confederate names on Austin schools were reaction to civil rights movement

Gordon, a University of Texas associate professor, was not at Wednesday’s board operations meeting, but, reached by phone later, he said, “I maintain my position, and if the board feels it needs to censure me for it, it can do so.”

Since trustees on Jan. 8 pushed back a February decision on whether to rename schools, Gordon has at least twice publicly criticized the board’s decision, most recently during Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech at the University of Texas.

Gordon, the only African-American trustee on the board, told the media that the board has “no moral compass and moral spine” on the issue, and he told a crowd of several hundred that the school board has not acted to “remove the names of traitors who took up arms to defend slavery and destroy their nation … because it is afraid of the tensions that are produced by the prospects of change.”

Teich said she wants the board to consider the censure in executive session.

“I don’t believe in making things public when it comes to individuals, because I don’t believe in public shaming even though I was shamed and the whole board was shamed on two separate occasions in public,” she said.

A censure is an official reprimand or denouncement of a board member’s actions, but it does not necessarily have any accompanying discipline of the trustee, nor is it a step toward removal from office.

But after Wednesday’s meeting, Pace, the school board president, said it’s unlikely the board officers will agree to put the item on a future agenda. However, Pace said she does “agree that we should have respectful dialogue and interpersonal conversation, especially if there’s disagreement.”

In 2016, the board renamed Robert E. Lee Elementary after some in the school community pushed for the change.

Administrators already had a timeline and plan for removing names tied to the Confederacy from five more Austin schools, and had discussed the issue with advisory councils and students. But this month, trustees said they wanted to postpone a February decision to develop a process for how the schools should be renamed, prompting the criticism from Gordon, who was absent when the board decided to put it off.

The board next month will continue discussions on the issue.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Cornyn bill targets prosecution of juvenile sex assaults on base
Cornyn bill targets prosecution of juvenile sex assaults on base

Sen. John Cornyn has filed legislation that seeks to plug a jurisdictional gap on military bases that has allowed hundreds of sexual assaults committed by juveniles to go unprosecuted in recent years and decades. Cornyn is the second Texas lawmaker to push for a solution to the issue, which the American-Statesman revealed in a 2015 investigation. In...
Here are 30 must-see movies from the Paramount Summer Classic series
Here are 30 must-see movies from the Paramount Summer Classic series

More than 110 movies are screening this summer as part of the Paramount Summer Classic film series. Here are 30 not to miss. There are others worth seeing, of course, but are 30 really good ones. “Stormy Weather” (7 p.m. May 31) This 1943 picture remains one of the most important musicals ever made (what with its staggering African-American...
ATX Television Festival launches ‘The TV Campfire’ podcast
ATX Television Festival launches ‘The TV Campfire’ podcast

ATX Television Festival premiered its inaugural podcast series, The TV Campfire, as a part of its ATX TV Podcast Network. The series is co-produced by Madica Productions and provides an insider's perspective into the world of television with special guests including “Scrubs” and “Cougar Town” producer Bill Lawrence, “Wire&rdquo...
Community news: Austin joins global affordability group

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN City joins global affordability group Representatives from the city of Austin’s Economic Development Department will join cultural leaders from around the world to explore and address challenges of urban affordability facing creative communities. The first-ever Leadership Exchange Program, an initiative of the World Cities...
TV REPORT: Sutherland Springs shooter describes domestic abuse in 2012 video
TV REPORT: Sutherland Springs shooter describes domestic abuse in 2012 video

Five years before Devin Kelley walked into a Sunday morning worship service in Sutherland Springs and killed more than two dozen people, he recorded a video in which he describes being bullied, suicidal and having trouble with self-control. The video, obtained by WOAI-TV News 4 in San Antonio, was recorded in November 2012, when Kelley had...
More Stories