Who’s Running Things Around Here?

It’s not Lisa LeMaster. It’s not Charla Aldous. And it’s not Stephen Swann. It’s me. I disabled the comments on Claire’s ESD post yesterday simply because I was too busy to moderate them. And believe me — they need to be moderated. If you’re offended by some of the comments that have appeared here, you should see all the ones that we don’t approve.

But I agree with the commenters (and callers and emailers) who have complained about the tenor of the discussion on this blog. So we’re tightening things up around here. I’m going to be a bit more judicious when moderating the comments, in an attempt to raise the level of discourse. That means that some of you may write a comment that never appears on Preston Hollow People‘s blog. The key words there are “Preston Hollow People‘s blog” — i.e., my blog. No one has an inalienable, Constitutional right to anonymously comment on my blog.

If you don’t like that, let me offer you a full refund. Oh, wait — that’s right; we’re offering you all of this coverage for free.

16 thoughts on “Who’s Running Things Around Here?

  • August 31, 2011 at 7:55 am

    good for you

  • August 31, 2011 at 8:14 am

    So glad you turned off the comments! They had digressed to the point of being pathetic and insulting.

    Will you be allowing Claire’s updates without the “Christian” comments?

    Sure do hope so…


  • August 31, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Well said. I appreciate the opportunity to express my thoughts on the matter, as well as hear other peoples’ opinion about the case. I found several comments from opposing views to be quite thought provoking, largely because they were expressed in an intelligent manner. But when the discourse breaks down to such a base and juvenile level nobody wins. I dare say the only people reading the entirety of all the posts these last couple of days were the people engaged in the “spitting” match, as John put it. Thank you.

  • August 31, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Detta, Claire will continue to cover the trial until it ends. I can only hope that the end is near. The only reason Claire didn’t update yesterday’s post with the afternoon proceedings was exhaustion. She does have a life outside that courtroom, you know.

  • August 31, 2011 at 9:06 am


    Thank you for your words. As a parent of an ESD child, I am deeply interested in this trial. I think your blog has provided excellent coverage, and I read it daily. Many of the comments, however, have been reprehensible on both sides. The vitrol and venom spewed is really depressing to witness. Mostly, I just scroll past those and focus on the mature, more intellectual posts.

    I believe mistakes were made by the ESD admin., but I do not know whether they are actionable by a court. I do not pretend to have all the information necessary to make that call, nor do I believe any of your commentors do.

    I do, however, know how it feels to be JDII. I had a very similar experience in high school. I was overwhelmed by the situation and didn’t have the kind of relationship with my parents that I could confide in them. The difference was, I believe, one teacher reached out to me, let me confide in her and she became my champion. The perpetrator was dismissed over Christmas break and never came back. I finished at that high school, went on to college, etc. Years later I did some therapy to sort it all out. This all happened 30 years ago, times were different, and to this day, my parents don’t know a thing about it. But I often think about that teacher who saved me from that evil man, and from myself.

  • August 31, 2011 at 9:16 am

    While I agree that some of the comments got out of hand on both sides I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and I think I learned a lot, legally and otherwise. I did read all of the comments in their entirety, but I don’t believe I was involved in a “spitting match”, just wanted to read what people had to say. I hope you do continue to allow comments, albeit monitored.

  • August 31, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Claire- I have read your daily reporting with great interest as a now-outsider who has not had two years of gossip to enlighten me. But I’m missing the forest amongst all the fascinating trees. I’m also missing some trees (Irene just blew through here). One basic question is, what is the legal description of the claim of the Does against ESD? I get the date, Farmers Branch, the plaintiff’s general complaints about the school, the soon-to-be perp. But there are so many diverse issues, including the school’s tax status, staff calls to the stb perp, DoeII’s forced withdrawal from the school. There’s enough here for a full season of Law and Order. But what is the basic issue that all of this evidence is supposed to be evidence of? If you can give me a website for newbies I would be very grateful.

  • August 31, 2011 at 9:28 am

    @Tinkerbell, very insiteful email. Also, very well put. Thank you for sharing with us what must have been a painful experience

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  • August 31, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Since it seems only the most generic comments that add nothing get will get thru, let me address PHP. It is quite obvious that the PR campaign by ESD succedded in getting your organization to quit letting people have a platform to express the disgust with this school and the people who run it.

    ESD has earned every single negative comment that has been posted on this site. Your coverage has been very good and it seems like the fanboys for ESD have a distatse for facts. I have another great story you can pursue,why this business does not pay any taxes. Seems the defenders want it both ways. They do not want to pay taxes yet they do not want to be labeled Christian either because the schools reprehensible showing in court do not fit the Christians only do good marketing BS they spout.

  • August 31, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I appreciate the coverage of the case and the comments by many of the bloggers.

    First, sorry it happened to you too, Tinkerbell. It is a strange experience to relive abuse via someone else’s experiences. When a person is right in the middle of a situation like this, logic often goes to the wind and emotions play a huge part. So does the impact each participant has with each “player”. It totally colors how one sees the situation.

    After reflecting for over 30 years and comparing my situation to Jane Doe’s, I can understand where some fellow co workers wished the teacher all the best. They were not wishing someone they saw as a monster perp all the best. They were wishing someone who might have been a close friend all the best. Someone who they saw as a good person but had screwed up big time. The person I saw as a monster, others saw as their best friend, husband, Dad, whatever. Maybe they too wonder how close they might have come to going down the same road. Sex Addiction healing centers are booming businesses for a reason.

    And, I can see how some of the teachers might not have seen what was obviously happening in front of them. They are human. In my case, my youth minister was a very good soul but because she held the belief that all priests were good, she was totally blind to the abuse even when she walked in on it. That a priest could do this was so foreign, she could not accept it. Twenty years later, she understands how obvious it was and said she was sorry. So, because I have known a very good person and saw the mistakes she made because of belief patterns and pre established relationships, I can understand why some of the staff reacted the way they did.

    I’m not glad this happened to Jane Doe II. I’m not glad that the teacher went down this road. But, I am glad that attention has been drawn to this subject.

    I can only speak for myself, but the parish I grew up in offered me so much. I was graced by so many people just like Jane Doe was at ESD. Yes, there was the abuse, but that is how life is…good and bad mixed together. That good and bad mix is found in every single institution from top notch schools, churches and families. If we destroy ESD and all other places where things like this happen, they earth would be a barren place. It happens everywhere. Everywhere.

    Good people can have dark sides that they show only to a few. Bad people can have good sides that they show to many. Much of what I figured out took me 30 years to better understand why it happend back when I was 16. It’s complicated. I still don’t have it all figured out. It’s hard when you love the players.

  • August 31, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    People Newspapers is hardly without sin on the comments being made by others on this blog. The paper has fanned the flames for weeks with its continual frontpage articles, real-time coverage, and blogging. And who can blame you, the salicious details of sex between a teacher and student, especially at the most expensive school in Dallas is just too good to pass up. The only problem is now you want to raise the level of discourse on this site…too late. Be careful what you wish for.

    I think that we as a community are teaching JD2 other important lessons about victimization. People Newspapers has taught JD2 about how a juicy story, even it draws on someones misery, sells papers. I suspect that People Newspapers will try to rationalize its actions saying it is assisting JD2 by shining a light on an injustice. However, JD2 and ESD were already scheduled to have their day in court before the paper started to follow the story. And the resources the paper has committed to trial coverage undeniably show your true motives.

    For those of us who don’t have a dog in this legal fight, we are teaching JD2 about schadenfreude as we gleefully watch ESD get raked over the coals. And, we don’t really care about whether this exacerbates JD2’s shame as we cheer for either JD2 or ESD during the trial. We will make similar excuses as People Newspapers but we know better. We are drawn to this case like an Oprah show or a car wreck.

    Shame on us all.

    Dan, you are right that you are offering all of this coverage to us for free so it is not our decision about what gets printed. Oh, wait – that’s right; I am a paid subscriber to your newspaper. So I guess I am paying for the coverage afterall…for now.

  • August 31, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I believe, as above, that ESD earned the negative comments. When parents of current students, wives of board members, and faculty are continually calling a rape victim a “whore,” “slut,” “trollop,” and “strumpet…” I’m not sure how they expected decent people outside of the “family” to respond.

    I’m pretty disgusted to see criticism of PHP for the coverage. It’s a big story, and not because they are covering it. It’s big because we ALL have heard about it for going on two years! You expect the media and the public to ignore it or sweep it under the rug? If I was an ESD parent, and loved the school, I would be thrilled that the trial and conversation would bring about change, and my child(ren) could could stay after the issues, problems and concerns were addressed.

    Had just one time in earlier posts a pro-ESD comment admonished the name calling of the victim, the tone would have stayed civil. I’ve been a paid blogger for years,and can see when a topic turns. PHP should be commended for doing a very, very excellent job.

  • August 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I emailed Dan last night because I didn’t want the PHP to be influenced by the potential backlash from the highly influential E$D supporters.

    Dan returned my email early this morning with his thanks for being a PHP reader and pointing me to his online comments above.

    Maybe the E$D supporters can relate to Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men” with his statement “You can’t handle the truth!”

    Jane Doe II “is a victim of grooming” by a well respected E$D teacher. E$D did not support her and instead decided to throw her out of the school that they had already graduated 3 of her siblings

    I don’t know the Doe family and have no connection to E$D or the case.

    As a parent of 2 teens I can empathize with Does parents since my kids don’t want my input( although I still give it) and I am involved & supportive in everything they do (scholastically, athletically, musically, socially) etc. but I only have my 2 and the oldest will turn 17 in 2 weeks.

    I’m not giving the Does excuses but as the youngest of 5 kids, if you asked my older siblings, I got away with murder (in their opinion) because I received the advantage of not fighting for use of a car and a bedroom of my own. They were all out of the house and I was living with “relaxed” older parents that probably hoped I gained some “sense” from absorbing their guidance with my siblings.
    Lucky for my parents, they raised me right because one day when I was “walking to school” at 16 (small Midwestern town – up hill and through the snow both ways) someone tried to sell me “pot”, and I said no – part of it was their training and the other part was the “fear of God” if I did something that was wrong I was going straight to “hell”. (you might guess I was raised Catholic).

    Jane’s parents may have been ignorant to what was going on in her life (regrettably so) but I’m sure they weren’t planning on an influential, popular E$D teacher taking control of their daughter.

    If E$D weren’t so concerned with protecting their own interest and would have been more concerned to protect one of their children, IMO this case wouldn’t be in court and dragging E$D’s name through the “court of popular opinion.”

    I don’t believe the Does want money (no money will heal their family), but they want E$D to admit that they were wrong to expel their daughter and exposing the bad decisions by E$D’s administration (Royall/Mayo/Swann/Burrow) and to assist Campbell in his defense of all of the bad decisions. (My opinion not the Does)

  • August 31, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Amanda- All the trial has done is bring further embarrassment to the family and school- think about her three older siblings who have to live in this shadow and the students like myself who’s education has been discounted because of the families need to place blame on everyone but themselves. Jane will never be able to escape this- as it was mentioned earlier it has followed her to college. ESD doesn’t deserve the harsh words. If they were aware before that night in november action would have been taken. I’m glad you think that because one side starts name calling it’s ok for everyone else to join it. Pretty sure two wrongs STILL don’t make a right. The comments are feeding fuel to an unnecessary fire. Thank you for monitoring php.

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