Investigation Reveals No Wrong Doing by Looney or WCS

Williamson County Schools released on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 the findings from an attorney hired in response to the Hillsboro Audio Tape Investigation. The report found all implicated parties to be innocent, and the investigation is now complete.

A law firm by the name of Leitner, Williams, Dooley and Napolitan, was hired by the Williamson County Board of Education to explore the allegations and deliver a report back on their findings. Attorney J. Gregory Grisham who was assigned to the case, sent a detailed report to the board on the evening Monday, July 13, 2015.

The conclusion of Grisham’s findings as stated in the report:

 “The undersigned finds no evidence that like or similar meetings to the one held on or about September 29, 2014 were held by Hillsboro School faculty or administrators on or off school property. There is also no evidence that announcements of like or similar off-premises meetings at Hillsboro School faculty meetings took place after the off-premises meeting or that such announcements had taken place before the faculty meeting in question. The undersigned finds no evidence that WCS Central Office Administrators were involved in setting up the meeting in question or directed that such a meeting be held or announced.”

In addition, counsel also found that Superintendent Mike Looney “has not engaged in conduct that could be considered disloyal to the Board or engaged in political activity in violation of WCS policy or state law that governs his conduct as Superintendent.

On April 2, 2015 an audio recording of a conversation between a group of Hillsboro employees surrounding politics, and criticizing newly elected school board members. The recording was aired on WWTN 99.7’s Ralph Bristol show and on YouTube.

In legal documents it is stated, “An off-premises meeting was held after school on or about September 29,2014 at the Leipers Fork Pavilion which was approximately a mile and a half from Hillsboro School.”

Named in the papers is a list of ten Hillsboro employees and documentation of communications made by one of the employees who attended:  “Information in her email about a September faculty meeting at Hillsboro and stated, among other things, that it was announced that an informational meeting would be held by a “non-biased group called Williamson Strong” and shared other statements that were made at the meeting.”

Controversy began as allegations were made about where the meeting took place, and if the meeting, political in nature, was mandatory for the employees to attend. Three School Board members, Susan Curlee, District 12, Mark Gregory, District 11 and P.J. Mezera, District 3, are reported to have expressed concern and ask about the launch of a legal investigation.

The focus of the case surrounded the following three issues as stated in the report:
(1): The Martin “Complaint” made by Ms. Martin to the Board as clarified by her April 8, 2015 email;
(2): Whether there was any wrongdoing by a WCS Administrator in connection with matters related to the Hillsboro Audio Tape, including improper use of government resources or compelling subordinates to attend a political meeting on or off school grounds.
(3): Whether Looney engaged in conduct that could be considered disloyal to the current Board and/or engaged in political activity that violated WCS policy and or that potentially violated state law governing his conduct as Superintendent.