By Greg Ford
The Garland ISD finds itself on the receiving end of two lawsuits concerning former teacher Michael Roell, who was arrested and charged last June by Sachse Police Department with one count of indecency with a child – sexual contact, following an investigation into allegations regarding alleged improper contact with students.
That investigation concerned an incident at Hudson Middle School. Roell, who was terminated last July according to the district, reportedly will have a hearing later this month before a Dallas County courtroom.
The two suits, which were filed in federal court, claim that GISD willfully allowed Roell to teach at Hudson, even though it knew he already had injured a child at the Pathfinder Achievement Academy, an alternative school within the district.
Cherish Hooper, the legal guardian of the Hudson student, is one of the plaintiffs, while Stephen and Nora Schutt, the legal guardians of the Pathfinder student, are the others.
“The issue is the school district learned, if nothing else, that he had broken a kid’s arm, and shouldn’t have been back at any school after that,” said Martin Cirkiel, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.
Garland ISD can’t comment on pending litigation, or items related to personnel matters, said Dr. Mida Milligan, the GISD’s executive director for communications and public relations.
Roell, who was 35 at the time of his arrest, was taken into custody following an investigation that began May 2016 after the alleged victim’s mother notified authorities of possible sexual abuse, the Sachse police said.
Reports indicated that several students were interviewed at the Dallas County Children’s Advocacy Center. After the investigation, and consultation with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office, the decision was made to press charges, according to the Sachse Police Department.
According to the arrest warrant’s affidavit, the police investigated a complaint of a teacher touching a student in an inappropriate manner at the middle school. After interviewing the student and others, investigators reportedly determined that the students had been touched and viewed in an inappropriate manner. Police officials also stated they interviewed Roell during the course of the investigation.
Roell was placed on administrative leave with pay at the time of his arrest before later being terminated.
(For the full story see the July 20 issue and the e-Edition at https://www.etypeservices.com/Sachse%20NewsID248/default.aspx