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Fallout Continues A Week After Dallas School Board Member Is Removed From Campus

Bill Zeeble
DISD's school board, as members readied for a closed session to discuss rules, authority, and what's allowed by both the superintendent and trustees

Fallout continues over the forcible removal of a Dallas school board member last week from a campus. A long, closed-door meeting Monday night will soon lead to open meetings on what’s allowed and what’s not by trustees and the superintendent.

A week ago Monday, Dallas trustee Bernadette Nutall was taken out of Dade Middle School as Superintendent Mike Miles was about to start an early morning meeting. He was replacing top leaders at the struggling campus.

Miles believed Nutall was interfering with his job, and he ordered school police to remove her as a trespasser. School video obtained by The Dallas Morning News shows they lifted her off the ground at times. Nutall was humiliated. After last night’s meeting, she remains confused.  

“I’ve never been manhandled by police before,” Nutall said. “I’ve never been. ... My offense is getting a speeding ticket and taking defensive driving. So I’ve never been manhandled by a policeman. The superintendent could have walked away, and had the cops there talk to me, you know, 'Ms. Nutall, let’s leave.' But it is what it is. It happened.”

Nutall said she was at the school to welcome and encourage the new leadership, not to interfere with the superintendent’s meeting.   

“They’re still questioning did I have the authority to be at the meeting?” Nutall said. “Let’s clarify that.  I did not attend the meeting.”

Board President Miguel Solis couldn’t relay discussions of the three-hour closed session, but said too many questions about proper roles and duties remain unanswered. He said there will be multiple open meetings to clarify what trustees and the superintendent can and cannot do. Solis said the board can’t let this fester.

“I think the law is ambiguous,” Solis said. “I think what we’re going to have to do as trustees is to make sure our policies are less ambiguous. That there’s no gray matter in this particular area.”

Solis said Miles was told to leave Monday night’s closed meeting so the board could consult with its own attorneys -- those who don’t also work for Miles and the administration.

The outcome seems far from over. Nutall said she has little faith anything will change or happen to Miles. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.