Changes Announced for Murphy School With Indecency Arrest

Changes include more camera, training for teachers

The Plano school district is putting safety measures in place after two incidents of suspected sexual abuse between a teacher and a student at a Murphy elementary school within two years.

Last week, Todd Reich, a gym teacher at Martha Hunt Elementary, was arrested on suspicion of indecency with a child.

His arrest came less than a year after a teacher at the school, Joseph Garbarini, was sentenced to more than 60 years for a similar incident.

On Tuesday, parents of students at Martha Hunt Elementary ripped into administrators for not putting safety measures into place.

Steve Cuny, a father of four students, said simple measures, such as more cameras and doors that allow people to look into rooms, were not in place in certain parts of the school.

Plano Independent School District Superintendent Richard Matkin told parents in a letter that he had heard their concerns and that changes were on the way.

"It was with the best of intentions that the district hosted the parent meeting on October 23 to connect the Hunt Elementary School parents and families with additional resources and information," he wrote. "I realize that many walked away from the meeting feeling unheard, and I want to convey my apologies for this sentiment."

The letter listed the following changes that schools officials plan to implement:

  • Additional cameras will be added to gymnasiums and common areas. The current plan being implemented is to increase from 40 cameras to 88 cameras.
  • All solid doors on offices and classrooms are currently being modified to contain glass/windows.
  • Additional counseling staff will be assigned to the campus.
  • A full‐time assistant principal will be assigned to the campus.
  • All paper and window coverings will be removed from doors and interior windows. However, security systems for lock‐ins, lock‐downs and storm procedures will be followed when necessary.
  • Members of the campus leadership team will be in every classroom on a daily basis.
  • Training will be provided for Hunt Elementary School personnel related to the particular issues faced this month.
  • The district will engage a third‐party review of its human resources practices and procedures to validate current processes.

Benjamin Conner, one of the concerned parents at the Tuesday meeting, said the changes would ease parents worries.

"The steps they outlined in the email were kind of exactly what we wanted to hear on Tuesday night," he said. "From my perspective, it's a step in the right direction. It's positive. People are excited to hear that there are safety measures being put in place."

Conner said he plans to make sure the district follows up on its word. He also mentioned that another meeting between parents and administrators is being planned.

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