Royce “Sully” Sullivan, one of four candidates running for a seat on San Antonio Independent School District’s board of trustees, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors in connection with an incident in which he allegedly struck children. Sullivan said the 2010 case stemmed from charges brought by an ex-wife amid a custody battle.

Sullivan, a former Beaumont resident, was indicted in Jefferson County in December 2010 on two felony charges, one for hitting a child with a firearm and one for hitting a child with a paddle, according to court documents. He pleaded no contest in 2012 to two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and completed two years of deferred adjudication probation.

Sullivan told the Rivard Report that the charges stemmed from allegations made by an ex-wife who was looking to start a “custody battle.” He denied ever hitting a child with a gun, but conceded he had struck a child with a paddle when he was working for a school district that allowed paddling as a form of discipline. However, Sullivan said, he has never hit a child with a paddle excessively.

Sullivan, who moved from Beaumont to San Antonio in 2010, said he pleaded no contest to reduced charges to avoid a trial so he could remain in San Antonio for the upcoming birth of a child, rather than returning to Beaumont to deal with the case, Sullivan said.

Seeking election to SAISD’s board representing District 2, Sullivan is a former educator who lists his current occupations as a pastor and home health care worker.

He said that after examining scripture in his role as pastor and looking further into the use of corporal punishment to discipline students, Sullivan said he believes “whuppings don’t work” and that he wouldn’t recommend the practice to a school district.

He said the felony charge relating to a firearm stemmed from an incident that occurred after a night on which he failed to secure a gun because of a power outage. The next day, one of his children accessed the gun.

“In a community that I grew up in … in the communities I’ve lived in, secure for us is on the top shelf behind something,” Sullivan said. “Secure for me was at least in a lockbox. I know now secure is in a lockbox with a trigger lock as well.”

Responding to anyone who may have concerns about his school board candidacy, Sullivan said he is “very transparent and organic.”

“Organic food doesn’t have any MSG, and just like that, there are no hidden messages with me,” Sullivan said. “My life is my life, and I have been through many twists and turns and because of that it makes me a very valuable candidate.”

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.