Mercedes ISD to discuss possible Harrell Middle School personnel investigation

Mercedes ISD Central Office Administrtion building on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Mercedes. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The Mercedes ISD Board of Trustees will discuss a contemplated personnel investigation at Harrell Middle School on Tuesday and may appoint a law firm to conduct that investigation.

It’s not abundantly clear what board members want investigated, although a trustee who requested that discussion said she was prompted to do so by “concerns … brought up of what had transpired at that campus.”

The board previously considered launching an investigation into something that transpired at Harrell in April 2021, when it ultimately decided against launching a probe into the district’s handling of an alleged sex abuse scandal that landed a coach behind bars.

That coach, David Bryan Reyes, has since been indicted on two counts of indecency with child sexual contact, one count of sexual assault of a child and one count of improper relationship between educator and student.

Reyes is no longer a Mercedes ISD employee and has a January trial date set for his improper relationship charge. He pleaded not guilty to that charge earlier this year.

Reyes’ arrest sparked significant turmoil in the district.

Interim Superintendent Richard Rivera, who was not with the district in 2021, said he doesn’t know what prompted Tuesday’s agenda item on the investigation, but speculated trustees may want to revisit events from April 2021.

Trustee Marcos J. Garcia IV, one of the two board members requesting Tuesday’s item, directed questions to Board President Oscar Hernandez, who also declined to comment.

Trustee Nancy E. Vallejo, the other trustee to request the item, was vague about what she wants investigated, but said she wants a “complete, thorough investigation.”

“I just think it’s something that should have been looked at from the beginning. And it’s just something that should have been done then, and now as a board trustee it’s something that I’m requesting that we look into it,” she said.

Both Garcia and Vellejo are freshman trustees, elected in November.

Apparently by coincidence, the board will also discuss naming a principal for Harrell Tuesday.

Javier De Anda, who was principal in 2021, left earlier this year for a job elsewhere, Rivera said.

Yolanda E. Garcia is currently the campus’ interim principal.