District knew about inappropriate messages from assistant principal months before investigation

Posted at 11:27 AM, May 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-16 20:20:04-04

In a Central Texas News Now investigation, we were able to see how Connally ISD and the law firm of Walsh Gallegos handled complaints against former Assistant Principal John Simpson.

Simpson is the subject of at least two investigations: one by the Texas Education Agency and one by the Connally ISD Police.

April/May 2018: Several victims confirmed to Central Texas News Now that Connally ISD Junior High Principal Thurman Brown led a committee of teachers to promote Simpson to assistant principal from his behavior intervention position.  

May 22, 2018: A recording surfaced of an assistant principal telling Brown and Assistant Principal Annie Connor that Simpson was sending inappropriate electronic and text messages to female teachers and employees.

May 22, 2018: The former assistant principal at Connally Junior High says Superintendent Wesley Holt and Connally ISD Chief Human Resources Officer Larry Cumby summoned him to the administration building.  In that meeting, the assistant principal informed Holt and Cumby of the same information (about Simpson) he relayed to Brown and Connor. The assistant principal was told not to mention Simpson’s name ever again and to drop the accusations.

May 23, 2018: An email from the assistant principal was sent to Cumby documenting the discussions he had in previous meetings regarding Simpson’s behavior.  The assistant principal also informed Cumby that because of the information he had on Simpson, he felt he was being retaliated against by Brown.

May 24, 2018: The day before the final day of school for the year, the assistant principal was told he was no longer allowed to be on campus and was escorted off campus by the Connally ISD police.

When Central Texas News Now brought these dates to the attention of Connally ISD legal counsel Mark Goulet, he sent an official statement, that said in part:

“On November 5, 2018, Connally ISD Administration learned of alleged inappropriate conduct, consisting of sending inappropriate electronic messages to another Connally ISD school employee.”  

According to documents and multiple interviews, Connally ISD administrators actually knew about allegations back in May of 2018.

When asked about the allegations, Goulet responded via email:

“There are so many holes in your story and flaws in your logic, that I wouldn’t even know where to start. Your sources have given you a great deal of false information.  I stand by my statement on behalf of Connally ISD.”  Attorney Mark Goulet, February 21, 2019

Simpson has nearly hundreds of pages of sanctions on his record with the Texas Education Agency, as well as a suspension in 2016-2017 (all before he joined Connally ISD).  

In November of 2018, Simpson resigned from Connally ISD after being accused of sending inappropriate electronic messages to female employees and teachers.  He is also accused of exposing himself and masturbating in front of a teacher in a book room at Connally Junior High.