By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Book 'em, Danno
Constables go after HISD students' unreturned books
Irma Alvarez was at work on Thursday, June 17, when her cousin called her to say a uniformed officer was at the door, demanding the return of the textbooks Alvarez's son still had after the end of the school year.
Alvarez had received notice by mail that past Saturday saying her son George, a senior at Reagan High School, hadn't turned in all his books. She told him to get them over to the school and gave him till the end of the week to do so.
That, as it turned out, wasn't soon enough. The officer not only made his way through the unlocked gate of her gated community, but used the moment her cousin stepped away to get her cell phone to step inside her home without invitation, Alvarez said. (The officer involved denies he stepped into the house.)
And she insists his manner was upsetting, not only to her when they talked by phone, but to her cousin at the house and to her mother-in-law, whom the officer called while she was at a doctor's appointment.
The officer, later identified as Mitchell Meekins, is not a Houston Independent School District police officer as they initially assumed, but a deputy constable for Victor Trevino's Precinct 6 constable's office and one who normally works with the school truancy program.
Alvarez, who took her case to Chapter 402 of LULAC, met with Yul Everline, the principal in charge of the business academy at Reagan as well as Victor L. Mitchell, the HISD assistant chief of police, who was the one who told her that HISD officers were not involved and that it had been handled by a deputy constable, Sergeant Lillian Lozano, who is assigned to Reagan from the constable's office.
It was she, he reportedly said, who organized the addresses and officers for the round-up. When Hair Balls called her, Lozano hung up abruptly without comment other than to ask how we got her number.
Hair Balls called Trevino's office and although the constable initially said he wasn't aware his officers were involved in a textbook retrieval program, he called back later and said he'd been told it had been ongoing for at least ten years.
He was echoed in this by HISD spokesman Norm Uhl, who told Hair Balls that the principal at Reagan said that high school and Waltrip High have used deputy constables for at least the past ten years to help recover the pricey volumes. Uhl said he thought this was the first complaint they've received.
"Reagan had about $60,000 worth of missing textbooks; that's a huge budget hit. So what they do, these deputies go out, make home visits, collect textbooks. So far they've rounded up half of them, $30,000 worth," Uhl said.
"I guess they don't have truants to look for in the summer, so they look for textbooks," Uhl said.
Trevino said he was told that his officers are so far responsible this year for recovering $65,000 in textbooks on behalf of both Reagan and Waltrip. The constable added that he would expect his officers to be "cordial" and to "leave a note" if necessary rather than press things too far.
Uhl made the case that actually retrieving textbooks is a good use of deputy constables.
"The only HISD policy on this requires parents to pay for textbooks that are not returned. Obviously, we've got 80 percent of our kids are from disadvantaged families. That's going to be really punitive, so it's actually a courtesy to the families to try to further retrieve the textbooks so they don't have to pay for them. And really, technically, we probably wouldn't do this but technically we could probably charge someone with theft for not returning them.
"I would look at it that, hey, 'I don't have to make a trip to the school; I'll just give it to this officer.'"
Irma Alvarez says all her son's books, priced at $180, have been turned in now.
WHATEVER, SOCIAL DISTORTION
Craigslist Prank Sours, Penises Invade
If you have a falling-out with a friend or a significant other, there are a number of responses. You can hold your head high, wish the other party the best and move on with your life; you can shoot up a Luby's; or, as a girl we'll call Paula learned lately, you can post an ad on Craigslist as that person, giving their phone number and saying they like anal sex and want to get it on "right now." (By the way, that's one of the two listed responses we don't endorse.)
Paula (we didn't want the poor gal to go through any more indignities, so we're not using her real name) was alerted recently to a disturbing message posted on Craigslist's Casual Encounters section, where adults sometimes go to find anonymous partners into whose orifices they can insert a myriad of objects, saying pretty much the following: "Hi, my name is Paula, I'm 26, I'm a 39 DDD. I'm into anal and girl-on-girl action, and I'm ready to go right now! Call me, I need a stiff one."