Denetta Williams 3.jpg

Denetta Williams 

The Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees has taken the unusual step of rebuking one of its own, accusing trustee Denetta Williams of abusing a former employee, sharing confidential information on social media, fabricating emails about an investigation and making racist comments, among other charges.

The trustees in a 6-1 vote last week approved a resolution denouncing Williams, and calling on her to resign. Williams was the lone vote against the resolution, and spoke out strongly against the measure.

“You can call me a whole lot of things, but how dare you as a board stand up and call me racist,” she said before the vote.

Williams was first elected to the Position 5 spot on the board in November 2020, ousting incumbent Allison Drew. Under Texas law, a school board cannot remove another trustee from office, and it’s not clear Williams has any intention of resigning from the board. Her current term ends in 2023.

Trustees held little discussion before last week’s vote against Williams, but based on the text of the resolution itself, it appears the move was the culmination of a months-long investigation into the trustee that began when a former district employee filed a complaint against her in June, records show.

The vote came after trustees exited executive session – a time when they can hold discussion about some matters outside of the public view.

The former employee in June filed a complaint against Williams, asserting she created a hostile and threatening environment, defamed him, called for his firing and mistreated him because of his gender and race, according to a 34-page report of the investigation filed by attorney Phillip Sharp of the law firm Baker Donelson.

Williams in the meeting denied the accusations against her, but did not respond to a request for comment about the resolution or report as of Friday afternoon.

“The greater weight and preponderance of the credible evidence shows Williams treated (the former employee) abusively in part because he is white and in part because he is a man who worked as an administrative assistant, whom Williams believed she could treat as she pleased,” Sharp concluded. “DIA (local) (board rules) specifically identifies ‘gender stereotypes’ as an example of prohibited discrimination, and Williams herself leaves little doubt she indulged in a stereotype concerning (the employee) that violated that policy.”

Sherry Williams, a spokesperson for the district, said she was not sure how much the district paid for the report, and recommended filing an open records request – a process that can take up to 10 days – to find out.

In the trustees’ resolution against Denetta Williams, they include many details from the report as well as asserting that their fellow trustee engaged in behavior that’s beneath her office.

“Whereas, Trustee Williams has been disrespectful to members of the community, failed to work cooperatively, respectfully and professionally with district staff and her fellow trustees and repeatedly violated her oath of office and the board’s policies and operating procedures (including the board’s code of ethics),” the resolution asserts.

In recent months, Williams has been exceedingly active on various Fort Bend County social media pages, asking residents for input and sometimes making assertions about her fellow trustees and the district.

“So, this is a picture from our June board meeting,” Williams wrote on Oct. 20, for instance. “Question: Why is Denetta Williams, the trustee being accused of being homophobic, the only trustee who recognized pride month? Take as long as you need with this question.”

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