On Thursday, Western Hills High School sociology teacher Kristopher Franks was cleared of all wrongdoing by interim Fort Worth schools superintendent Walter Dansby in a case that flared up last week when Franks sent a student, Dakota Ary, to the assistant principal’s office following a dust-up in class in which the student allegedly made disparaging remarks about gays. With a new district anti-gay-bashing policy just put into place, the AP suspended the student with the principal’s approval, setting off a controversy that wound up with Franks being suspended with pay and an outside investigation ordered by Dansby. (Curiously, the AP and the principal who actually suspended the student were not punished. Teachers cannot suspend a student; they can only write an infraction, leaving punishment – if called for – to the assistant principal and the principal.)
The student’s mother, charging the district with violating her son’s First Amendment rights, called in a lawyer and the student was soon reinstated.
Franks said he will be back at school Friday. Whether he will stay at Western Hills has not been decided, he said. He praised Dansby’s quick action that diffused a potentially explosive situation and his even quicker action in clearing Franks of all allegations against him.
Does this mean the controversy is over? Hardly. Franks has retained an attorney, Stephen Gordon, who will represent him “on any aspects of this whole thing going forward,” including actions he might take against unnamed people who he charges have “lied and made false allegations against me,” Franks told the Dallas Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers issues relating to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Further, the student’s attorney has said that the school owes him not just an apology, but must make efforts to “completely vindicate him and say that he did nothing wrong. … He should never have been written up for an infraction. He should never have been sent to the office, and he should never have been suspended.”
Follow the story in the Dallas Voice at: http://www.dallasvoice.com/90930-1090930.html