Don’t Mess with Texas – High school fight club in Dallas school

Texas has prided itself on its tough larger than life image. Don’t mess with Texas, right? Well one Dallas principal attempted, allegedly, to prove those impressions to be true. This principal had a novel way of solving disputes. Caged fist fights.

from NY Times

The principal of South Oak Cliff High School, Donald Moten, was accused by several school employees of sanctioning the “cage fights” between students in a steel equipment enclosure in a boy’s locker room, where “troubled” youth fought while a security guard watched, according to the confidential March 2008 report first obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

Such fights occurred several times over the course of two years, the report said.

Mr. Moten, who resigned from the district in 2008 while under investigation in connection with a grade-changing scandal, denies the cage-fight accusations.

“That’s barbaric,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “You can’t do that at a high school. You can’t do that anywhere. It never happened.”

But investigators with the district’s Office of Professional Responsibility gathered testimony from two employees at South Oak Cliff High who said they had witnessed students fighting in the cage from 2003 to 2005, among others who heard about the fights.

One employee overheard Mr. Moten tell a security guard to take two students who had been at each other for days and “put ’em in the cage and let them duke it out,” the report states, and the practice was so embedded in the school’s culture that one student remarked to a teacher that he was “gonna be in the cage.”

This wasn’t Mr. Moten’s first offense either. Moten has a history of disturbing behavior as a principal and police officer. As an officer, Moten shot and killed an elderly block captain. Then, to get out of work, he lied about being kidnapped at gunpoint. And we should not forget the time he drove on the sidewalk so that he would not be late for work. What a shining example of law enforcement. Of course Moten failed to mention these trivial events for which he was fired on his principal’s application.

Once hired, officials sited Moten’s school for fudging test scores on the TAKS, Texas’ yearly graduation test. There have also been accusations of Moten pressuring teachers to change athletes’ grades so that they would remain eligible for the basketball team. Two titles have been strip from the team after allegations proved to be true. Co-workers, visitors, and parents also complained of Moten sexually harassing them.

There are inherent flaws in the hiring processes of this Dallas school district. Moten put in his application for principal only a week before the school was planning to hire, yet somehow he still got the job. This is a man with clear problems in past jobs, yet he was running a school. His resume was slim with a 6 month gap in employment. Officials mulled over this man for less than a week before hiring him, less than a week for a man overseeing children. How can this be adequate? Clearly it wasn’t.

Not only should Moten be severely punished for this grievous display of corporal punishment, those who hired him should be looked at as well. These sorts of dubious hiring practices serve no one, especially our children. It’s lazy work that could have cost children their lives. At the least did cause them bodily harm (if allegations prove true). The officials need to face some sort of punishment for their lack of do-diligence as well.

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2 Responses

  1. DISD’s hiring process definitely is a shambles, and the date on Moten’s application does support that claim, but not in the way you think.

    After the cage fighting news broke, many Dallas educators started asking questions about Moten’s background. When a reporter asked about the application date, the consensus was that the district routinely has people go back and fill out an “application” in cases where someone has made a hiring decision already and didn’t observe the niceties (otherwise known as official policy) beforehand.

  2. DISD’s hiring process definitely is a shambles, and the date on Moten’s application does support that claim, but not in the way you think.

    After the cage fighting news broke, many Dallas educators started asking questions about Moten’s background. When a reporter asked about the application date, the consensus was that the district routinely has people go back and fill out an “application” in cases where someone has made a hiring decision already and didn’t observe the niceties (otherwise known as official policy) beforehand.

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