Ethics 101

Dear Dallas Independent School District trustees,

Thank you for taking the time to solicit our opinion on whether your organization should strengthen its conflict-of-interest policy for board members. While we appreciate your posting of an online survey ( allowing us to give our views, unfortunately we will not be able to complete the survey at this time. Recent regretful experiences with online government polls (see: Chávez, César re: naming of Industrial Boulevard) have made us reluctant to participate in such endeavors, as they appear to be a ridiculous waste of time. Also, we are uncertain what ethical baseline your organization currently uses and hence are uncertain where to begin filling out your questionnaire. Therefore, to help us help you, please respond to the following:

1) Your cousin, a teacher in DISD, is fired as part of a district-wide effort to improve the quality of instruction (he's illiterate). Should you: A) lobby to remove the principal involved in his firing; B) threaten to "burn the motherfucking school down"; or C) arrange to get your cousin an administrative position at school headquarters?

2) You learn that a member of the administrative staff is taking expensive fishing trips on the private boat of a district vendor. Should you A) fire the staff member; B) end the vendor's contract; C) threaten a "motherfucking riot" unless the vendor agrees to enlist your brother-in-law as a subcontractor; or D) buy a bucket of bait?

3) You are in Las Vegas attending a national conference on education and embarrassingly find yourself short of cash to pay a lounge tab during a night on the town. Should you A) use your district credit card, but reimburse the district fully and immediately; B) use your district credit card, but reimburse the district only for the cost of your lap dance, as the restaurant and bar tab are legitimate educational expenses; or C) use your district credit card and throw the receipt away because nobody keeps track of that stuff anyway?

4) You learn that your employer has bid on a contract to do business with the school district. Should you A) remove yourself from any discussion and/or voting on the contract; B) ask staff for copies of competing bids because, um, you understand contracting and just, you know, want to lend a hand; or C) demand a raise from your boss?

If you have any additional comments or information on conflicts of interest, theft, cronyism, featherbedding or general waste, please provide it along with your name and a copy of your completed questionnaire. We promise to keep it just between us.