Greg Barrett, a 53-year-old businessman formerly known as Greg Gay, spoke during the public comments section of the March 19 meeting and accused Hindt of bullying him for his last name and nearly causing him to take his own life while they were in middle school together in 1978 at West Memorial Junior High School in KISD.
Videos of Barrett’s comments to the board went viral—one video garnered more than 1 million views—with news outlets like the Washington Post reporting on the incident.
Hindt said in a statement March 20 that Barrett's claims "simply were not true," and that he did not remember him from his childhood.
"I do not suggest that Mr. Barrett was not bullied, only that I was not part of it. Bullying is wrong. Period. It was then and it is today," Hindt said in the statement. "At Katy ISD, we are always looking for ways to make our campuses and our students safe. I am proud to lead a district that is not afraid to confront bullying behavior – whether in person or online."
At the next board meeting March 26, KISD Board President Ashley Vann released a statement announcing the board’s support of Hindt.
“As trustees to our children and their parents, our responsibility is to act on behalf of our community and judge our superintendent based on the totality of his record; his 27 years of service to students and the community as a teacher and administrator; not just on claims of what a 14-year-old boy is alleged to have done 40 years ago,” Vann read. “We stand united with Dr. Hindt today.”
The statement also touched on KISD’s prevention and intervention tactics to address bullying.
Since the March 19 meeting, two petitions have been started calling for Hindt’s resignation, and one has more than 4,000 signatures from KISD parents and community members. Another petition in support of Hindt was also created, and that petition has over 2,000 signatures as of April 4.
ABC reported another former student confirmed the junior high incident involving Barrett. Shortly after, court records surfaced alleging Hindt was involved in a 1983 personal injury lawsuit that left another man with serious injuries. The injuries included a right side skull fracture and several rib fractures that left the man unable to work for three full weeks, according to the court documents.
In a statement released March 27, Katy ISD board President Ashley Vann said the 1983 civil case was fully and finally dismissed, after litigation, with no damages or liability.
“No criminal charges were ever filed. Again, as stated in the March 26 board meeting, the board fully vetted Dr. Lance Hindt and we continue to stand firmly behind him as our superintendent,” Vann said in the statement.
A third round of accusations continued to plague the district after another one of Hindt’s former classmates and now a circuit court judge in Alabama, Circuit Court Judge David Carpenter, alleged Hindt was a bully when they both attended Taylor High School, also in KISD, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Hindt released a letter to KISD staff April 2 and apologized for the negative attention brought to the district over the last two weeks. Hindt neither confirmed nor denied any of the incidents, and said he is not a perfect person and had to learn from his teenage mistakes.
“As an adult, I believe and I hope that my impact on others has been positive,” Hindt said in the statement. “But I recognize, I am not a perfect person; none of us is. I certainly wasn’t as a teenager, and I am not as an adult. When I was young and dumb–I did dumb things.”
Hindt went on to address the “media storm” that ensued after Barrett’s comments, that according to him, included “unfortunate that half-truths, viral videos, edited tape, false statements, and gotcha moments.”
“Although I do not believe the attacks on our great school district, our school board or me are over, I remain steadfast in my commitment to Katy ISD,” Hindt said in the statement. “I trust that you will judge me based upon who I am today, not the allegations of more than 30+ years ago."
The Katy ISD Board of Trustees will meet again April 16 at the Education Support Complex, 6301 South Stadium Lane, Katy.