The school board superintendent seemed to laugh after Greg Barrett called him out by name as his childhood bully during the public forum part of Monday’s meeting of the Katy (Texas) Independent School District board.
“Lance, you were the one who shoved my head in the urinal,” Barrett said at the podium. “Thank you.”
And he walked away.
Barrett uses his mother’s maiden name in place of his surname after a childhood of being bullied for his family name, Gay, according to the Houston Chronicle. He said he became suicidal after current KISD superintendent Lance Hindt and another student attacked him in the boys’ room, in the late 1970s when the two attended West Memorial Junior High.
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“I laid on the ground in the fetal position as the kids kicked me,” Barrett said. “I went home and got the .45 out of my father’s drawer and put it in my mouth. At this point, I had nobody in the school system to help me.”
Another former student, Chris Dolan, told KPRC he was the second student Barrett referred to in the incident involving Hindt, and has since apologized for bullying Barrett as a youth.
But Hindt is adamant he never bullied Barrett. Hindt said in a statement, obtained by KTRK:
“It was difficult for me to listen to a gentleman Monday night recount a bullying incident he said occurred more than 35 years ago. As superintendent in three school districts in Texas, I have always tried to create an environment where every student is safe, physically and emotionally. But when an individual impugns my character and reputation as the instigator of those actions, I am disappointed because it simply is not true. I do not recall this person from my childhood.
“I did not graduate from the same high school as Mr. Barrett, though we did attend the same junior high in 1978. And my junior high principal, Mr. McMeans, would never have let me (or anyone else) get away with the actions he described. I do not suggest that Mr. Barrett was not bullied, only that I was not part of it. At Katy ISD, we are always looking for ways to make our campuses and our students safe. I am proud to lead a district that is not afraid to confront bullying behavior.”
Barrett said during the meeting that the principal sent him home for the day after telling him, “these kids will grow up.”
That last part of Hindt’s statement is another where Barrett and a group called A Better Legacy would disagree with Hindt. Barrett was speaking after Sean Dolan, a Katy ISD parent of no relation to Chris Dolan.
Sean Dolan started A Better Legacy after at least two years of what he says are bullying complaints that went unacknowledged. He told McClatchy he pulled one of his two sons out of Katy schools and put him in private school after he saw no action to address bullying in the district.
In 2016, Honesti White, a Katy ISD high school student, was expelled for fighting as a sophomore when she said she was defending herself against a bully, according to KPRC. In 2011, more than 50 teachers, former teachers and parents from Katy ISD’s Godbow Elementary came to a board meeting to tell the board that administrators there used intimidation and threats to push out teachers who weren’t supportive of administrators’ agendas, according to InstantnewsKaty.com.
Sean Dolan said new anti-bullying measures were put into place at Katy ISD schools in 2012, in accordance with new anti-bullying laws in Texas, but they just aren’t being adhered to by district officials.
“I feel like they’re driving students who are being bullied to become suicidal or to become school shooters,” Dolan told McClatchy. “They’re being victim-blamed, and it will either go inward or outward.”