A third-grade teacher in a rural West Texas town has resigned after some parents complained when their children were upset about a video she showed in class back in March.
As Breitbart Texas reported, Heather Anderson, a third-grade teacher at the New Home Independent School District (ISD), was showing videos from the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum” series to her students while she graded papers. One of the videos, “Annabelle the Devil Doll,” told the story of a Raggedy Ann doll kept in a locked cabinet at an occult museum in Connecticut. The doll was rumored to be possessed by a demon, and the video, which was presented in a documentary style, attributed numerous supernatural occurrences and at least one death to the doll.
After watching the video, the students were upset and some cried. Anderson reportedly told the students not to tell their parents, saying she “didn’t want text messages saying you can’t sleep.” It should be noted that some of Anderson’s supporters have disputed this account, saying that Anderson was joking or being sarcastic.
Several parents complained to the New Home ISD administration, and Anderson was placed on leave while the principal, Shane Fiedler, investigated. Anderson was allowed to return to the classroom earlier this month, and the New Home ISD School Board addressed the issue at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting this past Monday.
Breitbart Texas attended Monday’s meeting, held in the school’s library, and observed nearly fifty people in attendance who were there to support Anderson — a remarkable number considering that New Home only has 334 residents (according to the most recent Census in 2010).
At that meeting, the Board heard comments from parents and New Home residents urging them to allow Anderson to keep her job, characterizing the video incident as an isolated mistake made by an otherwise good teacher. The Board left the library for a closed executive session with their attorneys. Anderson’s husband, Shawn Anderson, is on the Board but was not included in the closed session due to the obvious conflict of interest.
Just before midnight, the Board returned to the library to say that they were quitting for the evening and would resume at 8:00 pm the next night, Tuesday. The Board’s attorneys spoke to Anderson and her husband in the hallway, and, according to comments made by Anderson’s husband, urged her to resign.
According to a New Home parent who attended Tuesday’s meeting, most of the New Home ISD elementary teachers showed up, as well as more parents, both supportive and critical of Anderson. Some challenged whether the Board had properly called Tuesday’s meeting — Texas law states when a public meeting is adjourned, a new meeting requires at least three days’ notice — but the Board argued that they had merely recessed, not adjourned, and returned to a closed session again.
Anderson turned in her resignation letter on Tuesday, before the Board could take any official action against her, according to a report by KLBK-Lubbock. “Please permit this letter to serve as my resignation in all capacities of my employment with New Home Independent School District… effective at the end of the 2014-2015 school year,” wrote Anderson in her resignation letter.
New Home ISD also released the following statement:
On Tuesday, May 12, 2015, Ms. Heather Anderson graciously tendered, and the school district accepted, her resignation of employment.
Leland Zant, superintendent of schools stated, “Ms. Anderson is a valued and beloved member of the New Home community and her absence will be felt by many of the students, parents and faculty members of New Home ISD.”
The District will now return its focus to the education of its students.
State law prohibits the District from disclosing any further information relating to personnel matters.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.