The Ennis Daily News (Ennis, Tex.), Ed. 1 Thursday, January 10, 2013 Page: 4 of 8
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Thursday, January 10,2013
Ennis Daily News
begin to heal
This week signals the end of one of
the more disturbing cases in recent
memory in Ennis — Joshua Jaggears,
former Ennis teacher, will serve prison
time for soliciting young boys in the dis-
The sanctity of the classroom was
desecrated in this case. A man who
teachers, parents and students trusted
because of seeming
high moral standing
and a clean history
was proved to have
none of those things.
Jaggears pled guilty
to the charges against
him. He accepted the
terms of a plea agree-
ment that required him to admit his
fault in soliciting illicit images of stu-
dents at the high school. It’s definitely
enough to send shivers down the spine
of any parent or person who holds true
and unconditional love for children.
The Ennis Independent School Dis-
trict has been forced to deal with a con-
siderable amount of negative attention
over this case, and in some ways, that’s
natural. While district leadership and
perhaps even Jaggears’ closest cowork-
ers couldn’t possibly know what was
going on, it is right for people to be held
accountable, policies and background
checks to be reviewed and questions to
The district has upheld its responsi-
bility and cut ties to this individual as
soon as the circumstances of the case
There’s not much else for the commu-
nity to do but heal. Given the sentence
and depending on individual perspec-
tive, justice has been meted out in 40th
Judicial District Court after a long wait.
We’re glad to see this deeply troubling
situation come to a conclusion and are
hopeful the lessons learned in all of this
will inform the entire community’s ac-
tions from this point forward.
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CHUCK HA6EL IS
UNIQUELY QUALIFIED TO
BE SECRETARY OF ir
DEFENSE. AFTER AlL.HE
HAS EXPERIENCE IN
Seeking solutions, not excuses
Excuses. Beginning this time of
year, so many of us are consider-
ing our resolutions — and some-
how, inevitably, that leads to
For example, my
wife and I just went in
to Lonestar Athletic
Club where we work
out. We were weighed
and had our body fat
measured; it was a
very depressing ven-
ture. We vowed that by
April, we will have
lowered both our
weight and our body
fat through a regimen
of cardio and stretch-
ing in the morning and
weightlifting in the afternoons.
We view ourselves as disci-
plined people, and we work out to-
gether. But in my mind, I am
already formulating the excuses. I
am 54, my knee tends to swell, our
son has basketball and baseball
practices and games, and so forth
... the excuses are endless.
I am the principal of the Alamo
Education Center, which services
the Discipline Alternative Educa-
tion Program (DAEP). This means
that my campus is the last resort
for many students who have per-
sisted in making bad choices in
the regular school environment.
Before a student is admitted in
DAEP, there is a process called “in-
take.” This means that a parent or
guardian must come to the cam-
pus with the student, and I inform
them of the expectations and rules
of DAEP. All parties agree that
they understand the rules and ex-
pectations of the more stringent
and structured environment at
However, every sin-
gle week, I have to
send students home
who violate these
rules. I call the par-
ents, explain the in-
fraction, and the
student is suspended.
Invariably this is
where the excuses
Whether it is the
student or the
guardian, I am sub-
jected to a litany of excuses for the
errant behavior. What I cannot
help but wonder is, “What about
the thousands of other students in
EISD who follow the rules, adhere
to the policies, and do not end up
in DAEP? What about their ex-
cuses? Surely they have some.
What is the difference? Why do
they not tap into the excuse pool
while others clearly abuse the
Here is what I know to be true:
He with the most excuses ends up
in the most trouble. I do not pre-
tend to be philosophical or even
prophetic. However, it seems like
we have a society that is plagued
Of course, there are students
who have a poor home life as well
as those who must deal with diag-
nosed behavioral disorders. But
let’s consider this for a second:
What if we stopped with the ex-
cuses and started teaching chil-
dren about consequences?
I know that we teach cause-and-
effect in schools, but do students
really comprehend the concept? I
once attended a discipline profes-
sional development training
where teachers were urged to put
posters in their classroom with
these titles: What if I do? and What
if I don’t? Listed on these posters
were consequences for good be-
havior and for bad. There was no
gray area — students understood
the expectations and the conse-
quences, which left no room for ex-
Here is something else I know to
be true: I have taught in 12 school
districts over my 30-plus-year ca-
reer, and Ennis is a great place for
children. I have seen inefficient
school districts and Ennis is not
one of them. I am continually in-
spired and motivated by the dedi-
cation I see from the teachers and
administration of Ennis ISD.
However, I cannot stress enough
how much the community affects
what happens in the educational
setting. Let’s make this a city-wide
effort to stop making excuses and
allow children to stand on their
own two feet.
The truth is always the
Paul Nies is the principal of
Alamo Education Center
An example of smoke and mirrors
I preach against cynicism dur ing
the Christmas season. And then,
shortly thereafter, I fall victim to it.
After receiving more than my
fair share of Christmas cards this
year — which is such a
delight — I must con-
fess that I am com-
pletely opposed to the
mas letters which tell
of the tremendous suc-
cesses of every family
you ever met.
Since these are usu-
ally sent from friends
and relatives far away
none of you gentle and
kind readers is guilty
But I’m guessing you
received at least one
such letter during the holiday sea-
son, and it prompted you to con-
sider hiring a private investigator
to ferret out the real story about
these people. Now, didn’t it? Tell the
truth. Am I the only one?
Many Important People keep
their friends of long ago, perhaps to
remind them of whence they came,
or perhaps to prompt gratitude for
how far they’ve progressed. I think
I was Left Behind for these people.
They’re publishing books on the
They’re curing cancer.
They’re hiking in the Grand
Their children will soon have
campus buildings named for them.
Even their pets play an instru-
ment or do origami.
Our dog came from Stein-
hatchee. We’ve been working at the
same newspaper for 25 years. Both
our children live here. We probably
can’t find Mount Kilimanjaro on
No wonder I haven’t
written a Christmas let-
I can only remember
a couple of mass pro-
duced letters I ever en-
joyed. They had a
them — counting lost
meals or automobile ac-
cidents of the previous
year. Other one-size-
fits-all letters just leave
me baffled. Annually
one of my cousins
writes at least as much
about her dog, as she does about
their two grandchildren. The dog
w ill now fold its paws to pray when
you say “Let’s bow our heads...”
Of course, I guess that’s pretty
impressive. I’m still teaching my
children, who are adults, that one.
Another non-favorite among my
Christmas cards suggested that
“they haven’t traveled as much this
year, but trips to Italy and Germany
were among the highlights.”
I haven’t traveled as much this
year either; I only made one trip to
beach. They’ve cancelled the news-
paper trip for the past two years be-
cause nobody’s making any money
so I haven’t been out of the tri-
states (Georgia, Alabama and
Florida) since God was a boy and
I’m of that age when I could die
with very few questions asked. I
need to be traveling on tour buses
and eating dinner at 4:30 p.m. in
So why am I pounding the com-
puter keys? Because I still have one
more family member to put
through college. I’ve got three
car/truck payments, a house mort-
gage and a phone bill, which is al-
most as large.
And nobody wants to read about
that at Christmas. So I usually just
sign my name, and cause them to
wonder if I might be writing the
next best seller or studying turtles
on the Galapagos Islands.
My greatest compliment came
from a college friend who e-mailed
to acknowledge that she received
my Christmas card.
“You look normal enough,” she
said, having heard stories to the
The rest, I believe, is just smoke
But my favorite holiday letter of
all time arrived during my
courtship with the husband. His fa-
ther penned and printed a message
for all recipients on their Christ-
mas card list — including my fam-
ily noting that the youngest of the
three boys was in the oil business.
My mother, who hadn’t been too
impressed thus far, said, “Oh my
“Don’t get excited, Mom,” I said.
“He pumps gas at Tommy’s Tex-
Susan Lincoln is the managing
editor of The Perry (Fla.) News-
Herald, a sister paper of The Ennis
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Todaro, Nick. The Ennis Daily News (Ennis, Tex.), Ed. 1 Thursday, January 10, 2013, newspaper, January 10, 2013; Ennis, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth774695/m1/4/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Ennis Public Library.