Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Don’t be fooled.
May 26, 2009

I received this e-mail from a viewer today and thought it would serve as a good reminder not to be fooled by official looking e-mails from banks. Here’s the e-mail…

just wondering if anyone else is receiving emails from Banks saying ” Information reguarding your online account” when infact I do not have an online account with them. 1st time from Wells Fargo, this time from Commonwealthe Bank in Austrilia.. Is this just pilshing to get customers or worse Id’s??

This viewer is right to be worried about receiving these type of e-mails because they are phishing scams. Thankfully this viewer didn’t fall into the trap by giving out any personal information. Remember, your bank is NOT going to request your personal information via an e-mail. If you receive one of these e-mails, report it to www.ic3.gov then delete it. Also, don’t worry about having your personal information compromised just because you received one of these e-mails. You actually would have to respond to the e-mail for that to happen.

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State School Investigation
December 2, 2008

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During the first part of this year I spent several months researching allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation at state schools. These schools care for those with mental and physical disabilities. Some of the residents have varying degrees of disabilities, but many need around the clock care. Residents come from  families that cannot afford the expensive medical care needed or simply cannot devote the time required. Unfortunately, some of the residents have simply been abandoned. In short, a lot of the residents at these schools cannot care for themselves. During my investigation I found more than 2,000 cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation occurring at these schools in a four year period. In 2006 the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the Lubbock State School. The findings of that investigation were scathing regarding the quality of care. The DOJ then began investigating the Denton State School. A few days after my reports aired the DOJ announced it was investigating all state schools. We got a copy of those findings today. I’ll admit its a lengthy read but one that shows a system in severe need of overhaul. Essentially what the report says is Texas is not meeting minimum care requirements. More specifically, federal investigators cite a lack of care contributing to the deaths of some patients. State Representative Garnet Coleman put a finer point on it, “The state has failed. Texas gets and ‘F’ and if there’s anything lower than an ‘F’ we get that too.” Coleman has been pushing for change for more than a year, even holding a series of hearings and offering several recommendations for areas that could be improved. I’ve got stories running tonight at 6pm and 10pm.  I’ve posted a couple of links to my original stories and the entire DOJ report.

Original Stories: http://www.click2houston.com/news/17233426/detail.html

http://www.click2houston.com/news/17247520/detail.html

U.S. Department of Justice Report: doj-findings-letter-12-1-08

Playing Hooky
November 25, 2008

Coming to a school district near you?

Coming to a school district near you?

One of the things I do in my never-ending quest for story ideas is to scan requests to the Texas Attorney General Office for opinions on points of law. Yes, I know I need a social life. Most of these requests revolve around procedural matters or whether a certain government body has the authority to do one thing or another. Most of it is pretty bland, but this week one request caught my eye. The Brazos County Attorney (Bryan/College Station area) is asking whether a Justice of the Peace has the authority to order a chronically truant student to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet. This piqued my interest because ankle monitoring bracelets are usually used for people who are considered flight risks, high risk sex offenders, those under house arrest or anyone under some type of court ordered monitoring. Brazos County Justice of the Peace Tommy Munoz announced plans to institute this punishment for students who are chronically truant. No, not the kids who skip a day or two to head to lake Somerville, but those who reguarly skip school and are affiliated with a gang, have a history of behavior problems, etc. According to the Judge’s news release the bracelets would monitor students’ exact whereabouts 24/7. However, the program is now on hold while the County waits on a ruling from the AG’s Office. The reason for the request is because Justices of the Peace have authority over those crimes punishable by fines only. Skipping school is a Class C misdemeanor, basically the same as a speeding ticket. So ordering a kid to wear a monitoring bracelet goes well beyond a fine, hence the request for an opinion. I did a little digging and it turns out this is not a new idea. Bexar County and Midland County already launched pilot programs this year. Both Counties report the monitoring bracelets have, so far, led to a big reduction in chronically truant students cutting class. However, if the AG determines Justices of the Peace do not have the authority to order students to wear monitoring bracelets then the programs will have to stop. If the AG goes the other way then this type of monitoring could start popping up in more places. With that in mind I checked around Harris County. HISD’s acting Press Secretary, Norm Uhl, says no one in the District has floated the idea. I then checked with Harris County Justice of the Peace Dale Gorczynski, he handles A LOT of juvenile cases. Officials with Judge’s Office say he is not too keen on the idea and rejected as too controversial and burdensome. I’m curious what you think about 24/7 monitoring of chronically truant kids.

Request for AG opinion from Brazos County: http://www.oag.state.tx.us/opinions/opinions/50abbott/rq/2008/pdf/RQ0762GA.pdf