Andrews ISD Responds to Child Abuse Allegations

Andrews ISD Responds to Child Abuse Allegations

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - It's a story NewsWest 9 first broke out of Andrews. More allegations of child abuse at the hands of special needs teachers.

The aide who made the claims filed suit against the Andrews School District for being fired and now the district has formally responded.

The allegations of abuse this time came out of the Devonian Elementary special needs class.

Child Protective Services has been involved and families told NewsWest 9 that back in December the teacher was removed from the classroom.

However, these allegations have gone as far as the terminated teacher's aide, Lacey Stringfield, filing a lawsuit against the district after she claims she was let go for being a whistle blower.

The nine page petition filed in Andrews County lays out the allegations of abuse at the hands of the teacher, Kelly Harmon.

Some of the requests of the temporary injunction are to make the classrooms more visible with cameras and half doors.

Stringfield is also is hoping to be reinstated into her teacher's aide position at Devonian Elementary.

The district formally responded on Tuesday to the plaintiff's application for a temporary injunction by filing their answer to the petition and a plea to the jurisdiction of the court.

The district claims that as a government entity, it has immunity under the Texas Torts Claims Act and that the court does not have jurisdiction over the case.

They are requesting that the case be thrown out of court.

The next step will be for Andrews ISD is to set a hearing date on its challenge to the court's jurisdiction.

Ultimately, a judge will have the final say on whether the lawsuit moves forward or not.

No date has been set yet for that hearing.

NewsWest 9 did try to contact Andrews ISD to speak with them about their response and have yet to hear back on the subject matter.

NewsWest 9 contacted the lawyers for Lacey Stringfield they said they will release a statement after they get in contact with Andrews ISD's lawyer about their response.

The district has not told NewsWest 9, if their investigation on Harmon has been wrapped up and if she has returned to the classroom.

However, NewsWest 9 has received numerous e-mails and calls claiming that she is back teaching.