TISD Principal Resigns, District Says It Discovered He Viewed "Inappropriate" Websites

Just weeks after he was named the new principal for a Tyler middle school, Robert Rich has resigned.

Tyler Independent School District said the former Owens Elementary and Hogg Middle School principal turned in his resignation after district officials discovered he had accessed what they called "inappropriate" websites on their computers.

The district is not saying exactly what type of material Rich viewed. Officials said as far as its internet filtering system, "inappropriate material" could be anything from adult material, weapons, activist groups or violent content.

Using district computers to purposely access that type material is a violation of school board policy. A district monitoring system detected Rich's activity.

TISD said its investigation into the incident is over. The district does not plan to notify police based on the type of material rich viewed.

Rich had been with TISD since 1999. In June he was named the new principal for Hogg Middle school.

TISD said the computer monitoring system knows who logs on to what sites, and how often.

"The monitoring system reports to us in general categories the type of access, how much time is being spent on that and we can drill down in to those categories to see what's going on," said John Orbaugh, TISD's Director of Technology Services.
Director of Secondary Education Dr. Karen Raney said the district responded quickly to the change.

"We have processes and procedures in place, and if something like this happens we step right in to keep the school moving on," Raney said. "We try to not let anything get in the way of getting school ready for the kids and keeping the focus on children. "

KLTV was not able to contact Robert Rich.

The district sent letters to Hogg student parents on Monday informing them Rich had resigned for what they called "personal reasons."

Shauna Hittle will take over as the interim principal at Hogg until a permanent principal is hired. She is slated to eventually become the principal of the "Owens/Rice relief campus" that is now under construction.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com