Miles: DISD to fire 15 employees over illegal recruiting

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by BRETT SHIPP and JASON TRAHAN

WFAA

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Updated Saturday, Jun 7 at 2:29 PM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

DALLAS — The Dallas Independent School District is firing 15 employees, including coaches, assistant coaches, teacher assistants and three top staff members from the district’s athletic program.

These actions come in the wake of a two-year News 8 investigation into alleged illegal recruiting at local high schools.

Among the schools at the center of the probe were Wilmer-Hutchins and James Madison high school.

Friday, DISD superintendent Mike Miles took swift and dramatic action by terminating all of the top management in the athletic department as well as head and assistant coaches at both schools involved.

Miles says he has also asked the University Interscholastic League for assistance in removing the state’s 2014, 3A high school basketball championship from James Madison High School, where staff is accused of improperly recruiting at least one of its top basketball stars. 

According to a statement by Miles, 10 of the employees were terminated for falsifying documents. The eleventh employee was fired for "improperly obtaining and sharing student records."

Among those being terminated are the top three officials in the DISD athletics department, including athletic director Jeff Johnson and assistant athletic directors Goree Johnson and Marian Willard. Also being fired are the head boys varsity basketball coaches Roderick Johnson, of Madison High School, and John Burley, of Wilmer-Hutchins High School. 

A News 8 investigation first reported the allegations two weeks ago. The probe traced the fates of two players who were roommates and, ironically, also rivals. Troy Causey, 18, played basketball for Wilmer-Hutchins. Johnathan Turner, 19, was a star player for the state champions, James Madison High. Yet, both players lived in the same house in southern Dallas apart from their parents. 

On the night of March 23, Causey and Turner got in a physical altercation over a video game. Causey died in the fight and Turner was charged with his murder. Since that time, News 8 uncovered an alleged scheme by which coaches from both schools falsified residency and transfer documents to make it appear they lived in homes in the proper attendance zones. 

Family members of both students reported that the two were actively recruited to play basketball in conflict with state athletic rules that forbid the recruitment and transfer of students to other schools for athletic purposes. 

News 8 has spent the past two years documenting multiple allegations of improper transfers inside of and into the DISD by students who later star on the basketball court. In 2012, WFAA reported allegations that the entire 2011 state championship team from Justin F. Kimball High School moved into Kimball’s attendance zone for the sole purpose of playing basketball. 

"We have to hold ourselves accountable," Miles said. "We have a responsibility to these kids and we have a responsibility to the entire district to keep the kids safe and make sure the athletic programs are run with integrity.” 

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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