WISD teacher admits relationship with former student amid misconduct allegations

Photo courtesy Waxahachie ISD

WAXAHACHIE — Documents obtained by Ellis County Citizen reveal sexual misconduct allegations against Waxahachie Independent School District (WISD) teacher Laura (Laurie) Leigh Evans.

The documents, obtained from WISD by a concerned parent, indicate that WISD Superintendent Jeremy Glenn was notified of the allegations on Feb. 11.

WISD attempted to withhold these documents from the original requester but the Texas Attorney General's office recently ruled that WISD must release the documents.

"This afternoon I was informed that one of our high school teachers had an inappropriate relationship with one of her students," Glenn wrote to the WISD board members on Feb. 11.

According to Glenn's email, the teacher admitted to the relationship.

"She admitted to the relationship, but indicated it started after the student graduated," Glenn wrote.

A written statement of Waxahachie High School Principal Al Benskin's meeting with Evans reveal Evans' reluctance to admit guilt but Evans ultimately confessed.

"I asked her if she was aware of any rumors. She really didn't respond but just looked at me. So I got more specific and asked her directly that there was a rumor about her and student having sex. She paused as if in deep thought and stated she wasn't aware of the rumor," Benskin wrote.

"I probed more and asked her "has this happened?" Again she paused and thought and then responded, "I haven't had sex with any current student." Then she admitted it was a former student who had graduated but she was adamant that it wasn't a current student and that (word redacted by WISD) had graduated."

According to Benskins' account Evans pleaded for her job.

"This happened this past summer. I was going through a very low spot, low self esteem and (word redacted by WISD) was giving me the attention I was getting at home (sic). It was a mistake. I know it was a mistake," Benskin quoted Evans as saying. "I need my job."

Following the meeting Benskin spoke with Glenn and the decision was made to place Evans on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Benskin met with Evans a second time to inform her of the decision.

"I informed Ms.Evans that she would be placed on paid administrative leave. She started crying and stated a couple of times, "I'm not a bad person. I have to keep my job. I have to keep my (word redacted by WISD). I'm going to lose my (word redacted by WISD). What am I going to tell them?" I told her she only needed to tell them that she was going to take some days off. She then said, "(word redacted by WISD) is going to kill me," Benskin recounted in his statement.

Allegations against Evans go beyond the admission of a relationship with a former student. A male student provided WISD administrators a statement that alludes to activity prior to graduation according to a WISD email.

"Page 6 statement student alludes to some activity prior to graduation," the WISD email stated.

The male student's statement, in part, reads:

"(Word redacted by WISD) told me that he and Mrs. Evan had sex and shortly after her and (words redacted by WISD) had sex and then the 3 of them together had sex. (Word redacted by WISD) would tell me how I should want her as a teacher so that I could try to have sex with her too."

Glenn's email to school board members indicate CPS and local law enforcement were contacted.

Ellis County Citizen filed two public information requests on May 14 with WISD for "any and all documents and emails relating to complaints, reprimands, investigations, suspensions, firing and resignation regarding Laura Leigh Evans" and "all documents, notes, audio recording(s) and video recording(s) of Laura Leigh Evans' departure from Waxahachie ISD."

Despite the prior release of some documents by WISD to a Waxahachie resident, WISD is attempting to withhold those same documents from Ellis County Citizen based on the opinion that the employment relationship between WISD and Evans has changed since the initial request for documents.

Ellis County Citizen is currently unable to verify if Evans is still employed by WISD.

Additionally, WISD is attempting to withhold all documents from Ellis County Citizen based on a myriad of legal arguments pending an opinion from the Texas Attorney General's office.

One of the legal arguments claims, "Pursuant to Section 261.201 (a) of the Texas Family Code, it contains information pertaining to a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect of a child, the identity of the person(s) making the report, along with the communications and records related thereto."

Another legal argument claims, "Pursuant to Section 552.111 of the Government Code and the work product privilege found in Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 192.5, it contains material prepared and mental impressions developed in reasonable anticipation of litigation by an attorney on behalf of a governmental body."

WISD's request for an opinion has revealed a prior investigation related to reports of potential misconduct under the previous superintendent's tenure.

"The documentation also includes a prior investigation pertaining to a report of potential misconduct submitted by third parties, along with subsequent notes and memoranda prepared by the former superintendent, human resources director and a former member of the WISD Board of Trustees," Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services Lee Auvenshine wrote in his letter to the Attorney General's office seeking an opinion regarding the withholding of documents from Ellis County Citizen.

As previously reported by Ellis County Citizen, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Evans is still under review by the State Board for Educator Certification Professional Discipline Unit.

The Texas Attorney General's office previously ruled that TEA may withhold documents pending anticipated litigation. Based on TEA's letter to the Attorney General, the agency may consider filing a petition for sanctions against the teacher and that the teacher may appeal thus supporting the claim of anticipated litigation.

Read the raw documents related to this story:

PDF: Ellis County Citizen public information requests and WISD letters to AG's office seeking an opinion.

PDF: WISD emails regarding allegations made against Evans.