Scandal squad

Dallas has hit a rough patch. After their 13-3 season, the Cowboys' pitiable exit from the NFL playoffs has left the city despondent. And then there are Dallas's schools, which are so plagued by corruption that the district has created a 15-person investigative office just to crack down on such malfeasance. Among the abuses so far revealed: an assistant principal who had students build him a king-size bed in shop class, a lunch lady who absconded with hundreds of dollars in cafeteria pastries, and a manager who accepted free Cowboys tickets from a consultant (poor sap). The Office of Professional Responsibility has so far closed about 75 cases and handed over the amassed evidence to Dallas Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, who metes out punishment. "It's definitely working," Hinojosa said. "There are no sacred cows." And most school employees seem to appreciate the new department's objectivity, too. Gadfly is always on guard against school districts that solve problems by bedecking themselves in red tape, but Dallas's corruption cops don't appear to fit that bill. Rather, they work quickly, professionally, and efficiently. Shouldn't FOX make a reality show out of this?

"Dallas school district's corruption investigators keeping busy," by Tawnell D. Hobbs, Dallas Morning News, January 12, 2007