Residents of La Vernia,Texas are anguished and divided after the jailing of a local teacher earlier this month.
The friendly town of about 1,000, are known as a community of caring, neighborly, and considerate residents.
Located in Wilson County, just 30 minutes southeast of San Antonio, the area enjoys low crime rates thanks to a responsible ethic in its citizenship and a credible law enforcement team led by Sheriff Joe Tackitt.
There has been much sympathy and prayers for the parents of the jailed teacher, especially since the news broke on San Antonio television news stations and in the Examiner last week.
News and comments about the teacher that were customarily kept within the confines of parents, teachers, neighbors and in the community has now spread in the media and social network sites like Facebook.
Because of brewing concerns with the school district administration, some parents now plan to attend a school board meeting of the La Vernia Independent School District Tuesday evening.
Holly Rebecca Marsh, 32, who was teaching classes to 7thgraders in the La Vernia Independent School District earlier this month, is now in custody in Wilson County jail after her arrest on March 10, 2011 for drugs, evading arrest, resisting arrest and the assault of a public servant.
But many are not surprised about the arrest. They say the community has known about the teacher’s drug habits for quite a while. A background check revealed no previous criminal record or warrants for the teacher.
The Examiner has been contacted by parents, residents, and even educators in the community alleging Marsh could have been “protected because she is kin to law enforcement and school district officials.”
Examiner has verified that Marsh is not a relative of an official of the school district, but her mother, Diane Tackitt Marsh, may be the same Diane Marsh listed as Superintendent Dr. Thomas Harvey’s secretary on the school district’s personnel directory.
Mrs. Marsh is also the sister of Sheriff Tackitt.
Jailed on bonds totaling $40,000, Holly Marsh, who turns 33 on March 31, has been spending time in custody in Wilson County jail, especially in the library.
Many are sympathetic and concerned for Marsh’s parents, however there has also been a frustration developing for a while about how the school district handles issues from parents about the well-being of children in her class, or parents concerned about having their children in her class in the future.
“The Marsh arrest may have been a catalyst for action,” one observer said, after seeing the arrest of the teacher and how she attacked a law enforcement officer early that morning.
Parent Amanda Russell has invited people on Facebook that may have an issues with the school district administration that have not been “addressed appropriately” to “do your part and show up to the next school board meeting.”
“Each of us is responsible to speak on behalf of our child,” Russell wrote. “Many teachers, parents and their children are frustrated with the education decisions being made, but will not speak up. Strength is in numbers.”
“Bring your voices….let us be heard,” continued Russell. “Remember your taxes employee our Superintendent. It is your right and your duty to bring forth any concerns. YOUR child’s education is YOUR future.”
When asked by Examiner if news about teacher Holly Marsh’s problem with drugs is really news to the community, or does a lot of people know this has been going on for a while, Russell replied that “many things have been stirring in LV schools for quite some time.”
“I think this was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Russell explained. ”Although not everyone knew of the situation, I think being that we are such a smallcommunity, most knew of something.”
“ My hope is that when some of these issues are addressed at the next school board meeting, the school board will do their due dilligence to investigate them and the appropriate actions taken,” she continued. “It is time to awake the “sleeping dragon” and change education as it is in our district. The cookie cutter approach is leaving far too many children behind.”
“Sheriff Tackitt is a good guy, with a great reputation,” offered one father, who asked not to be identified. “I am sure this has not been easy for him, just like it is tough on the teacher’s parents. But we are all parents who care about all of our children, even theirs.”
The next meeting of the La Vernia Independent School Board is scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the Primary School.