Book 'em, Danno

Constables go after HISD students' unreturned books

EDUCATION, CRIME

Book 'em, Danno
Constables go after HISD students' unreturned books

By Margaret Downing

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

By Craig Malisow

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."

"I am busty," Paula tells Hair Balls, "but, like, they don't even make [bras] in odd sizes, so I'm like, whoever it was, was an idiot."

She says that, although the ad was soon flagged, she e-mailed Craigslist's administrators, asking if she could find out who was behind the ad. Craigslist wouldn't reveal such information without a warrant, so Paula contacted the Katy Police Department.

But since it was a misdemeanor crime and the IP information would come out of California, Paula says, KPD did not believe it was worth pursuing.

"They wouldn't even ask the judge" for a warrant, she says. "I was like, 'Can you please ask the judge and have the judge say no?'"

She says she gave them the name of a girlfriend she recently had a fight with, and while the police called the girl, she of course said she was not the responsible party. And in the meantime, Paula kept getting calls and e-mails from dudes who wanted to get it on, as it were.

"They were gross," she says. "They were extremely persistent...I was still getting pictures of their ding-a-lings the next day...Trust me, I was doing everything I could to save my phone number, because I've had it for a while. And eventually, I just had to let it go."

So, let that be a lesson to you: Never have a falling out with a friend...unless you ­really are into anal and girl-on-girl action...
_____________________

DOING IT DAILY

There is a ton of new stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you're only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or "/rocks" or "/eating") and under "Tools" on the top-right side of the page, use the "categories" drop-down menu to find these stories:

Sports

We rode the World Cup excitement for all it was worth, with analysis and slideshows and an examination of how five famous movies would have ended differently if they starred the French soccer team. The Astros continued to implode, and Cleveland continued to suck in its effort to convince LeBron to stay.

Education

One Texas Tech representative argued Democrats hate Sarah Palin because she's pretty, not like Michelle Obama or Eleanor Roosevelt (really); another catalogued all the Michael Jackson references in scholarly papers. And a federal judge rejected, and ridiculed, a creationist school's attempt to have the state certify its program giving master's degrees in science.

Crime

Harris County commissioners tangled noisily on how to deal with jail overcrowding; a bout of drinking in the Valley ended with the Worst Father's Day Ever (hint: it includes a dead father); and Houston police were charged with beating a handcuffed suspect — but only face misdemeanors.

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