Round Rock ISD superintendent shares letter to staff regarding 'increasingly raucous' meetings

Hafedh Azaiez was previously superintendent at Donna ISD in South Texas. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)
Hafedh Azaiez was previously superintendent at Donna ISD in South Texas. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)

Hafedh Azaiez was previously superintendent at Donna ISD in South Texas. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)

A letter shared with district faculty and staff by Round Rock ISD Superintendent Hafedh Azaiez was made public by Place 4 trustee Cory Vessa via social media Dec. 3.

The letter addressed both the recent fatal shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan as well as the "increasingly raucous" board of trustees meetings, where "passions have run high and frustrations have mounted."

Azaiez pointed to issues that have made headlines recently, including the arrest of two parents who were removed from a Sept. 14 board meeting, the Texas Open Meetings Act and safety at board meetings. In his letter, Azaiez wrote to staff and faculty that he wanted them to have accurate information regarding these matters.

Regarding the parents removed from a board meeting and later arrested by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office on misdemeanor charges of disrupting public proceedings, Azaiez wrote that he had observed some confusion about the RRISD Police Department's involvement as the entity that originally removed them from the meeting, but did not carry out the arrests.

"Information provided to the Williamson County Attorney's Office resulted in the arrest of two of those individuals," Azaiez stated in his letter.

He also stated that the district had not violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by limiting the available seating inside of a meeting room and providing an overflow space with a live stream of the meeting due to COVID-19 concerns.

"In fact, our board goes above and beyond what is required by the [Texas] Open Meetings Act to ensure opportunity for public engagement," he wrote. "Our board allows public comment both in person and virtually—one of the only governing bodies in the state to provide a virtual option for speakers."

Azaiez reiterated that the board also allows open comments during its regular meetings, when it could easily limit comments to items on the agenda only.

He closed the letter to faculty and staff by expressing gratitude for staff and faculty as the district nears the end of its fall semester.
By Brooke Sjoberg
Brooke Sjoberg is the Round Rock reporter for the Round Rock and Pflugerville/Hutto editions of Community Impact Newspaper. She worked for The Gonzales Inquirer, The Daily Texan and The Daily Dot among other publications before coming to Community Impact. Brooke is from Seguin, TX and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2020. Her last name is pronounced Show-burg.