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James and Dr. Monica Lewis are calling for a investigation followed by the removal of Cedar Hill High School Principal Tammie Mariani for her involvement in the assault, and cover up of their daughter Adjane’ Latimer.
The family has gotten frustrated with Cedar Hill school officials attempting to hide the fact that high school principal Tammi Mariani was the principal in charge of not one, but two incidents involving assaults on minority students by white members of the Cedar Hill Athletic Department.
According to documents provided by the Cedar Hill School District in each incident reported, Principal Mariani handed out the same discipline for coaches who assaulted the students which was absoutely nothing.
In the case of recent graduate Adjane’ Latimer who was struck in the face by her math teacher/coach Jonathan Mullins, Principal Mariani who spent over 25 years as a counselor for the school district never called Child Protection Service (CPS) after finding out the student was struck by the teacher/Coach.
Not only did Mariani failed to alert CPS with regards to the student, she also failed to inform her own school police department that a child had been hit by a class room teacher as required by Cedar Hill school policy.
Sources close to the story say that not only did the coach whose name was Mullins strike student Adjane’ Latimer, but he also struck another female student who went down to the main office, and reported the incident to school officials.
Although Principal Mariani failed to take proper actions when learning about the incident involving teach/coach Jonathan Mullins, she did manage to lie to the parents when confronted with the story of the incident by phone.
In a recorded conversation between Dr. Monica Lewis and Principal Tammi Mariani a few days after the incident, Mariani was recorded telling Dr. Lewis that she was aware of the incident, and the teacher who allegedly struck the student was on administrative leave pending and investigation.
According to students in the class room where the incident took place, teacher Mullins was in fact never placed on administrative leave, but was absent from class while attending a baseball tournament.
After speaking with the teacher involved, Principal Mariani handed down a very hard punishment to teacher Johnathan Mullins in the form of a verbal reprimand for striking student Adjane’ Latimer.
According to Dr. Monica Lewis and her husband James Lewis, Principal Tammi Mariani’s actions with regards to her handling of the assault of their daughter was equal to a slap in their faces.
After speaking with Cedar Hill School Police who stated that they had no knowledge of the incident, and it was standard protocol, and school policy for the police to be called whenever there is a reported incident between a teacher, and a student.
Prior to the incident involving student Adjane’ Latimer and coach/teacher Jonathan Mullins, Principal Tammi Mariani dealt with a similar incident involving a white coach/teacher and a minority student.
Last week on DFWiradio, the watchful-eye talk show we discussed for the first time openly about an assault on a school bus involving recent graduate Damarcus Benson, and Defensive Coordinator Steven Lemely.
During our interview with the student we produced documents detailing an incident that took place on Saturday October 29, 2011. We interviewed several students who were on the bus, parents, and we relied on documents provided by the school district to tell the story of Damarcus Benson.
Evidence indicated that the coach became frustrated, and upset with a group of students on a senior trip, and attempted to throw student Damarcus Benson off the bus in the middle of nowhere between Terrell, Texas, and Cedar Hill, Texas.
The coach ordered the bus be stopped on the side of the freeway despite being ordered by the administrator in charge of the field trip not to stop the bus.
A fight broke out between the Defensive Coordinator, and student Damarcus Benson which by all accounts was started by the coach. The coach was fighting because he wanted to throw the student off the bus, and the student was fighting because he was not willing to be put of the bus in the middle of nowhere, and in the middle of the dark.
After finding out about the incident, principal Mariani with her counseling background failed to inquire if the student was injured despite her saying that she had gathered all the information pertaining to the assault.
The principal’s actions towards the incident involving the football coach was the first step in the cover up the incident, and damage control. The first step in the cover up Principal Mariani took was to make sure that the student was punished despite being assaulted by the coach.
Damarcus Benson received a 3 day suspension for his involvement in the incident, and according to Mariani the parents were OK with the discipline administered dispite gaining knowledge of a distrubing statement made by the Defensive Coordinator in a scheduled parent conference.
The parents are upset with the actions Principal Mariani took after gaining knowledge that the coach assaulted student Damarcus Benson on the bus, and later was involved in a profanity fulled rant towards the student after the bus returned to the campus.
According to several reports written by school security officers, and a class room teacher detailing how the defensive coordinator threaten the student and his family while being separated, and pulled away by family and staff.
In her own words Principal Tammie Mariani in an email to school officials including Horace Williams the superintendent, Shana Nix Executive Director Nix, and Athletic Director Gina Farmer, “I ask my teachers never to touch a student- it can only lead to trouble” Mariani’s email went on to say that during a meeting with the Defensive Coordinator, and Damarcus Benson’s parent the coach told the parent, ” I have the right to put my hands on your child! the state of Texas gives me that right.”
In Mariani’s email to the superintendent she mentioned that the coach’s statement gave her heartburn, and she finished the email by saying,” I do have a problem with a teacher laying hands on a student.” In that email Principal Tammi Mariani laid out the case that has outraged the parents of James and Dr. Monica Lewis, because despite having knowledge of the coach internal feelings towards students, she chose to only give him a verbal reprimand for his actions.
According to the Lewis family Principal Mariani had knowledge of the type of behaviors by members of her staff prior to the assault of their daughter, and she engaged in a method protecting members of athletics at the expense of the students.
The family is calling for a full investigation into the lack of proper actions taken by Principal Tammi Mariani, and other school officials who had knowledge of the incidents involving students Adjane’ Latimer, and Damarcus Benson including the superintendent Horace William, and HR Director Shana Nix who also failed to take actions into the matter.
So far instead of taken actions into the involvement or lack of involvement by the principal Tammi Mariani with regards to the two cases, Cedar Hill ISD has chosen to engage in putting up obstacles such as refusing to turn over records despite having video consent given by both parties to the Watchful-eye.
A signed petition drive is on the way to bring attention to the atmosphere of the High School, along with possible legal actions by the two students and others who are starting to come forward with similiar stories of abuse by members of the Cedar Hill Athletic staff.