Remain proud of school, city

Published 9:06 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Editorial by Dawn Burleigh

As I contemplate the topic for this week’s article, I start to reflect on several thoughts which wander across my mind in recent weeks…

While researching inappropriate teacher/student relations reports in the county, I noticed one school missing from the list I was compiling: West Orange Stark High School.

I noticed this because I was, honestly, looking for a connection to Orange County with the information concerning Senate Bill 7.

  • Senate Bill 7, approved by the Texas Senate just one month ago, as reported in The Orange Leader, Expands the Texas Education Agency’s investigative authority from intra-district to inter-district relationships. Currently, TEA can only investigate cases where a teacher and student are in the same district.
  • Broadens reporting requirements to include principals. Currently, only superintendents can be sanctioned for failing to report.
  • Automatically revokes teaching certificates if offenders receive deferred adjudication for a misconduct offense or any offense that would require them to register as sex offenders.

This bill was co-authored by every member of the Texas Senate, according to Sen. Robert Nichols, R – District Three.

Freedom of Information Act requests confirmed my research, which I narrowed to between the years 2011 -2017 to match the information in the report mentioned in the article, West Orange Cove Consolidated Independent School District (WOCCISD) has had no reports of inappropriate teacher/student relations.

While the school district is being drug through the news for the actions of individuals visiting another county during Spring Break, it is not a true reflection on the school.

The persons involved in the situation were not attending a school function. They were not representing the school, nor our city.

We do not know all the details of the incident, but that is not a reason to try and degrade the school system or the football team.

How many schools can say they have had zero reports of inappropriate teacher/student relations, Back-to-Back State Championship titles, and a growing academic program?

The Mustangs did something rare this past year, they won Back-to-Back State Championship titles AND won all 16 games. They are on a 27 game winning streak.

For the first time, since the inception of the Congressional Stock Market Challenge, a team of four from the West Orange High School is participating in the challenge.

While the rest of the country attempts to blacken the eye of Orange and WOCCISD, we need to stand tall and remember those outside the community do not know the pride of our city or the schools.


Dawn Burleigh is editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at