Williams said she adamantly denies allegations that she created a hostile work environment or harassed anyone based on gender or race. She did, however, admit to parts of some allegations made against her, offered an apology to members of the public who were offended and said she will not repeat her missteps.
“I’m new at this,” she said. “I was an activist and now I need to learn how to be on the board. It took me some time to adjust. I’m coming in a little heavy-handed because I’m used to fighting for the marginalized.”
A third-party investigative report by the district concluded Williams, who unseated an incumbent last November, acted inappropriately in her position as a member of the board of trustee. The report claimed Williams questioned the sexuality of a former executive assistant to the board. The rest of the board voted Monday to approve a resolution that condemned Williams’ alleged actions and called for her resignation.
The resolution also accuses the Position 5 trustee of violating the Texas Open Meetings Act by sending emails to a quorum of trustees regarding the school system’s operations, publicly sharing confidential information from executive sessions and repeatedly misrepresenting facts. It also alleged that Williams tried to coerce other trustees to make the employee’s grievance “go away.”
Williams denied all of those accusations and claims the board and the district conspired against her in retaliation for her calling out what she believes are a violation of the law. The trustee said she plans to file a defamation lawsuit against the other board members of the board and the district for the statements made in the resolution and investigative report.
On HoustonChronicle.com: Fort Bend ISD rebukes trustee accused of questioning employee's sexuality, 'Hitler' name-calling
A Fort Bend ISD spokeswoman on Thursday declined comment on Williams’ alleged actions or the district’s position on whether the trustee should resign, saying it was a matter for the board, not the administration.
Williams claims she never directly questioned the employee who filed a complaint against her about his sexuality, but admitted to making a comment insinuating he could be gay to the attorney who conducted the third-party investigation.
Williams said she made the comment when the attorney asked her how well she knew the employee and his spouse, who also worked in the district.
“My response was that I don’t know anything about (the employee or his wife) and that if I were to guess, I would assume he’s gay,” Williams said. “I didn’t mean any harm. I meant that I don’t know anything about the guy and didn’t have an issue with him.”
Williams said she understands the statement may be offensive to some because she made an assumption about the employee’s sexuality, but said she did not intend to demean the LGBTQ+ community
She also denied calling board President Dave Rosenthal “Hitler.”
“I didn’t call anyone Hitler,” she said. “I called (his) behavior Hitler-like. I was saying that he was acting like a dictator. I find the man reprehensible and repulsive.”
The investigative report also alleged that Williams referred to another trustee as a “Nazi,” which she denied.
Williams said she does not want to apologize to Rosenthal for the comment she made. She did, however, say she apologized to community members who were offended by the remark and said she would not do it again.
Rosenthal declined to comment on Williams’ remarks. He, along with every board member but Williams, voted to denounce her statements and proclaim her unfit to serve in office.
“I really have nothing more to add,” Rosenthal said in an email Thursday.aside">
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Williams also took issue with the investigative report claiming she discriminated against the white male employee because of his race. She added that she aims to serve everyone in the district, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.
“It’s offensive for them to think I ran just to serve underserved kids,” she said. “I didn’t just run for poor kids. I’m fighting for anyone who’s attending classes. Pigeonholing me is insulting.”
As for the alleged pejorative comments Williams made about district constituents on social media, the trustee said she was responding to “trolls” in a way that she has learned is not appropriate for an elected official.
“I was being called dumb, stupid and crazy,” she said. “They were harassing me and I reacted.”
Williams said she has learned the best thing she can do is to ignore such comments.
“(Reacting) is childish,” she said. “I apologize if my actions offended you.”
Williams said she has heard messages of support from some of her constituents and that she does not plan to resign in the wake of the board’s rebuke.
Source : https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/I-m-new-at-this-Fort-Bend-ISD-trustee-16553085.php934