News Roundup: Panhandle Boys Ranch Survivors Tell Stories Of Abuse

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelSeptember 4, 2018 2:53 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Survivors of alleged abuse at a Texas Panhandle youth housing facility are trying to draw attention to what they call decades of mistreatment and cover-ups. Allegations against Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch first made headlines late last year. At the end of last week, former students of the institution gathered in Amarillo to tell their stories. High Plains Public Radio’s Jonathan Baker reports.

Set among rolling mesas 45 miles northwest of Amarillo, Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch has been a part of the region’s identity for 80 years. But in recent months, a shadow has been cast over the school’s dormitories and horse pastures.

“I guess after 500 or more licks with the belt, and a few other items, I probably did on my last year, finally, settle down.” said Mike Hogan, who lived at Boys Ranch in the late 60s.

He was one of many former residents who called for acknowledgement and restitution from the school. Allegations range from psychological abuse to rape and torture.

Boys Ranch officials made no attempts to deny the allegations, but have apologized for any abuse that occurred there between the 1950s and 1990s. They say they have been in contact with the purported abuse victims. In Amarillo, I’m Jonathan Baker.

Texas agencies are turning in budget requests to state lawmakers ahead of the 2019 legislative session. That includes the Texas Education Agency, which is asking the legislature for more than $50 million for a program aimed at improving school security. KERA’s Rachel Osier-Lindley has more.

The money would fund the “Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative.” The proposed $54 million program would provide assistance and guidance to districts and charters as they’re working to improve mental health services and school culture. The initiative includes things like increasing access to counseling services and efforts to encourage a greater law enforcement presence on campuses.

This appropriations request is a direct response to state leaders’ call for school safety strategies after ten people were killed in a May shooting at Santa Fe High School, outside Houston. State lawmakers will use the TEA’s request to shape the state’s 2020-2021 budget during the next legislative session. That starts in January.

One advocacy group, Texans Care for Children, calls this request a good start. Josette Saxton, their director of mental health policy, writes “We are optimistic that legislators will provide additional funding beyond this proposed down payment in order to meet significant student mental health needs that state and local leaders have identified in recent months.”

September 4 is the birthday of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles- Carter. The Houston-born superstar is celebrating 37 years on this earth. It’s been 12 years since the debut of her second solo studio album, appropriately named “B’day”, which was released to coincide with her 25th birthday. It included mega-hits like “Irreplaceable.”

Birthday wishes have been pouring in for Beyoncé on social media, including a heartfelt message from her mother. Tina Lawson shared an adorable photo of four-month-old Beyoncé on Instagram.

It’s already your birthday where you are ❤️So Happy Birthday to the nicest , owner of the most beautiful, generous , loving hearts ever !!!! Brilliant too! Always thinking , planning, analyzing, strategizing , how you can make everything you touch better! On this day you were 4 months old and i couldn’t even control the excitement and pride and the all encompassing love i felt for you , my first born ❤️ I made a vow to love and cherish you everyday . For the rest of my life ! Sometimes i can’t believe out of all the incredible people in the world i was chosen by God to be your mom❤️! The day that you and your sister entered this world were the two best days of my life , hands down !! It is a privilege to have carried you two in this body ❤️ Enjoy your B-Day !!! No one deserves it more !! I love you Mom❤️❤️❤️❤️🎂🎂🎂💐💐💐🐝🐝🐝

A post shared by Tina Knowles (@mstinalawson) on

She said her daughter has one of the most loving hearts ever adding, “Brilliant too! Always thinking, planning, analyzing, strategizing, how you can make everything you touch better!”