My Wife Breaks Her Silence #3

Look, I get it. Sean is running for public office. That opens him up to public scrutiny. We knew that, and that’s fine because Sean has no massive skeletons in his closet and he has thick skin.
We expected his publicly available information like his payment of property taxes, properties owned, how he spent his campaign money, if he had an arrest record, how he acted as a human being, and his past to be combed through by his opponents.

What we did not predict was that this district, those running it, and some members of this community would draw few lines of decency in this arena.

This past school year, the school board spent over $20,000+ hiring a private investigator to investigate Sean, BEFORE he even announced his candidacy. What possible reason could they have to pay $20,000+ – $20,000+ of YOUR dollars – to investigate a then private citizen? Were they looking to dig up dirt to blackmail him into shutting up? I don’t know. Because it’s unheard of for this to happen and I can’t imagine a legitimate reason they’d have to do it. They’re not allowed to use school funds to sue a private citizen. Yet, $20,000+ was spent investigating my husband for we have no idea what. The investigator felt like such shit about being hired to do it that HE was who told Sean about the investigation after the fact.

That means they likely had been investigating and surveilling my family along with him. Do you know how violated that makes me feel? How violated it makes my children feel? Do you know what it’s like to have your teenage kids afraid they’re being watched or photographed by strangers at all times? Do you know what it’s like not to be able to tell them they’re being paranoid for thinking that?

Was anyone watching my house the last time I ran into the kitchen in my underwear to grab a bottle of water in the middle of the night? Were people photographing my children? Did they go through our trash? Were they listening to my husband and I exchange sexual innuendo quietly during a dinner date? Is that on tape somewhere? Do y’all have ANY IDEA how wrong it is that these are questions I need to ask myself and things I need to worry about? How it feels to realize someone was watching your family – and you didn’t notice? Do you know how unprotected and anxious that makes you feel?

And yet not once have the sitting board members explained why this investigation was launched. Not once has the general public insisted on being given an explanation.
But it wasn’t limited to that investigation.

My niece moved in with us this year. At meet the teacher night, Sean and I split up between my niece and my daughter and then switched kids at their lunch period, so we could each be with each kid for a portion of the time. So, Sean was with my niece in some of her classes. One of her teachers – who apparently had a distaste for my husband – took it upon themselves to go post in an anti-Sean Facebook group to hundreds of non-school employees that she got stuck having to see my husband that night because his niece apparently lives with him now.

Y’all. Please comprehend what I’m saying here. A teacher went and gave out information about a child – A CHILD – she was only privy to because she was a teacher – to the general public. Did anyone private message her after asking my niece’s name so they could tell their kids to avoid her? I have no idea. Why am I even having to THINK about this?

For those of you who think Sean takes every opportunity he can to smear this district, or that his claims of being willing to handle things privately if people are just willing to have a conversation are bullshit, know this. Had it been up to me? This situation would not have been handled privately. I. Was. Livid. But, Sean is more diplomatic than me. Sean met with the teacher, let her know we knew what she’d done, and made it clear she was not to discuss our niece’s private information publicly again. She apologized, and he left it at that.

But a month ago, my niece decided to apply at a summer program and needed a recommendation letter from two teachers. This program was also requiring an essay from my niece, and my niece had decided to write it on a very personal topic. When she mentioned this particular teacher was one she planned to show the essay to, I had to veto her doing so. Because this teacher had failed to keep basic information about my niece private, I certainly didn’t trust her with intimate details from her life.

How did we get here? How did I end up needing to shield her from the people charged with educating her? Why is my family being violated like this? Why are you not demanding answers along with us?

You’d think the examples of the invasion of our privacy would be more limited. Unfortunately, they’re not. Just after the last school board election, Dawn Champagne notified the other members of the board that former President Ashley Vann had confronted her (Dawn) during the election demanding to know why she was listed as the third emergency contact person on Sean’s sister’s daughter.

Let me make sure you’re understanding this.

  1. My husband has a sister with kids. She used to live in Katy but moved from Katy YEARS ago. She doesn’t live in the district and hasn’t for years.
  2. Ashley Vann is not supposed to have access to student records, yet she somehow got a hold of Sean’s sister’s kid’s records.
  3. She could have only gotten them from someone IN the district who had decided to dig into my husband’s family’s records.
  4. Was it limited to that? No idea. Maybe they dug through the records of our friends, or employees, or who knows.
  5. Please – provide me a logical reason as to why anyone would need to access the records of children who haven’t lived in the district for years, much less provide Ashley Vann WITH that information. Someone. Anyone.
  6. Despite a board member making the entire board, and Hindt, aware of this FERPA violation, they did nothing. Not. A. Thing. And a source told Sean that Dawn was threatened with legal action if she went public with the information. Tell me again how our kids matter more than PR to these people? Explain to me again why this is being allowed to happen?

Apparently, the board was not satisfied with the results of spending $20,000+ on having Sean investigated the first time and finding nothing. A few months ago, I was sitting with Sean in a local restaurant, and a man I’ve never seen before comes up and sits down like we were expecting him. The man was a private investigator hired by the district.

He informed us he’d just spoken with my sister at our house (she was here visiting), and that he saw Sean’s car while driving by the restaurant and decided to stop in. He then invited himself to our breakfast, telling my husband that he needed him to reveal his sources of the most recent information Sean has asked the district to investigate that stood to cause some bad PR if they went public. He made us both uncomfortable and kept telling us how he was a private investigator with no attachment to the district or its politics and Sean needed to trust him and turn over the names. Turns out this guy is an old colleague of Justin Graham – the district’s legal counsel. This time the investigation cost y’all $40,000+ as taxpayers.

Why did this man not set up an appointment or call first? Was the purpose of his surprise visit intimidation? The district has made it clear they will spy on us, they will give out our children’s information, they will dig into our families, and now we were receiving an explicit notification that they can find us anywhere, anytime, and descend without warning.

How safe would you feel y’all? How secure would you feel your kids are? Would you think you were being sent a message? All I need to do is get my husband to shut up, and this would all stop. Do you understand how crazy that is?

Can you imagine being a single mom and trying to take these people on? Or someone with true skeletons? Or someone without family support locally?

But it’s not going to happen y’all. Because Sean is principled and stubborn, and he knows he can withstand a storm that most others don’t have the financial, emotional, or risk tolerance to weather.

Why are y’all allowing this to happen? Why are you not asking for answers? Why does disagreeing with my husband politically make it ok for these people to make his family feel unsafe? Violated? Anxious?

Rebecca Fox? Why did you authorize all of this? Why didn’t you back Dawn when she reported the FERPA violation? Why are you wasting our money on frivolous investigations?

Duke, Lance – Is all of this ok with you? Do you have the guts to look at this and say, “the way the Dolans were treated throughout this was wrong, even if I dislike Sean” or will you stay silent and allow these wrongs to stand without comment?

I will not allow this community to pretend not to know what we’ve been enduring for the last year at the hands of or without condemnation from those on the ballot next week. Do not tell them this behavior is ok.

Sean Dolan

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