NECHES, Texas (KETK) – More than 450 people have signed an online petition calling for the removal of Kimberlyn Snider from her position as principal of Neches Elementary School.
Snider is under indictment on charges related to interfering with an investigation involving the sexual assault of a minor.
Last week, Snider turned herself in to sheriff’s deputies and was booked into the Anderson County Jail on charges of tampering/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair, which is a felony, and five counts of official oppression, each count is a misdemeanor.
If she is convicted on all counts and receives the maximum sentence for each, she could face up to 15 years in prison.
“In light of the recent indictment of Neches Elementary Principal Kimberlyn Snider, the parents and concerned citizens of the district are petitioning for the resignation or removal of Kimberlyn Snider as acting principal,” says the petition on change.org.
“Like all others accused of crimes, she is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law,” continues the petition that was started by Kaitlin Scroggins, who has spoken against Snider. “However this arrest and indictment comes after many years of abuse of power complaints, intimidation, grievances, retaliation efforts, even parents filing formal complaints with law enforcement. As parents we believe all school officials should be advocates for our children and she has proven over many years she is not an ally for all students.”
The petition calls on Snider to resign from her position as Neches Elementary School Principal immediately. Neches is a small school district in Anderson County.
On Monday, Randy Snider, Kimberlyn Snider’s husband and the superintendent of Neches ISD, said he would keep his wife in her job. His decision was supported by the school board.
After an executive session of the school board on Monday, Board President Van Brown said Randy Snider, not the board, had to decide whether Mrs. Snider stayed on the job.
“Thus far, Mr. Sinder has elected to retain Mrs. Snider in her position of campus principal because he believes it is in the best interest of Neches ISD,” Brown’s statement said.
“We oversee Mr. Snider’s decision making and can affirm that we (the board) join Mr. Snider in his assessment,” Brown continued.
“The board acts primarily as a policy-making body. We supervise only one employee and that is the superintendent of schools. As such, we have no authority to place the principal on administrative leave. This decision was not made in haste but after significant deliberation and consideration of the totality of the circumstances and a commitment to make the specific needs of the Neches students and staff top priority,” Brown’s statement said.
Ten people spoke in the public comment portion of the meeting before the board went into executive session.
Some speakers praised Snider’s dedication to staff and students.
School employee Michael Owens said he sees Snider’s compassion with children. Snider works to make the school “a great place,” he said.
Owens’ wife, Kimberly Owens, a third-grade teacher, also spoke. “She (Snider) has the children’s best interest at heart.”
Scroggins, a parent of a Neches student, told the board she believes Snider should be put on administrative leave.
“I can’t comment,” he said.
“Why should she be allowed to be around our children?” asked Scroggins, who is affiliated with Change for Neches, a group that says its goal is to create a better school.
Many of the almost 60 people who were at the start of the meeting remained to hear what the board would do. Some left abruptly when Brown read his statements. One woman called out in protest.
After reading the statement, KETK asked Brown to speak about the decision.
Kelli Karczewski, the attorney who represents Neches ISD, previously said, “The administration, including Mrs. Snider, is cooperating with law enforcement and feel optimistic that with clarification the matter will be resolved expeditiously and without disruption to the educational environment of NISD students.”