Granbury school district trustee Karen Lowery was censured by the majority of her peers after an investigation found that she did not have permission to be in the high school library.
The 5-2 vote by the Granbury school board came during an almost five-hour meeting where 50 people spoke either in support of Lowery or called on her to resign. Lowery and board member Melanie Graft voted against the censure, which is essentially a public condemnation.
In her response to the investigation, conducted by the Walsh Gallegos law firm, Lowery said that she followed the policies and procedures to enter campuses and that she and a parent used their cellphone flashlights to look at library books that were near the floor.
Lowery, elected in November, campaigned on a platform of removing pornographic books form the library.
“This retaliation culture is a concern for the parents and teachers. My guilt was proclaimed by the first reports I was in the library I was never asked why I was there,” Lowery said.
But other trustees and audience members who spoke accused Lowery of violating board policies concerning campus access.
Board president Barbara Herrington said her responsibility was to keep the board on task.
“In fact, this has almost become a Karen Lowery vendetta against me as board president than it is to you,” Herrington said. “I am OK with that.”
Speakers supporting Lowery said the investigation was nothing more than a “witch hunt.”
Mary Lowe urged Lowery not to resign.
“The fact that you would censure her is a witch hunt” Lowe said.
Faith Barnes, a parent, however, offered a different opinion.
‘I believe she is more dangerous than any book in our library,” Barnes said.
The Daily Beast reported that Lowery attended an event held in the cafeteria at Granbury High School on Aug. 2 to help hand out backpacks with school supplies for disadvantaged children.
She and another woman then went to the library without permission.
An assistant principal saw the two women using flashlights on their phones to look at books in the darkened library. He then asked them to leave since they did not have permission to be there, according to the article.
According to the Daily Beast, Herrington told Lowery in an email that she should have gotten permission to enter the library from superintendent Jeremy Glenn, who was at the back to school event.
Instead, you chose to violate every standard of ethics for school board members by using a very busy activity at the high school to enter the high school and misrepresent why you were there …” Herrington wrote.
She continued, “I have never seen such a blatant breach of ethics in public schools.”