Shirley Fanuiel should resign from the La Marque school board.
A grand jury indicted her Thursday on a charge of felony theft. Fanuiel, who has been on the school board for 18 years, was not accused of doing anything wrong in her capacity as a trustee. The district attorney’s office said Fanuiel was accused of defrauding an 88-year-old La Marque man out of his house and an annuity.
An indictment is an accusation — not a conviction — and people who are charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Fanuiel has every right to fight those charges and to fight them vigorously. But she should fight them as a private citizen, not as a school district trustee.
The school district is fighting for its life and doesn’t need this distraction. A day before the grand jury returned the indictment, the Texas Education Agency appointed a conservator for the district.
The best scenario would be for Fanuiel to do the honorable thing and resign. If she does not, the school board should ask for her resignation.
Texas law does not have provisions for the recall of school trustees. It’s possible to argue that the indictment itself constitutes some kind of violation of school district policy. But the school board, if it were forced to remove her, would have to make that argument to a district court, which would decide whether Fanuiel would stay on the board.
It shouldn’t come to that. Fanuiel should resign. The school district should not be a part of this.
• Heber Taylor