A Texas special education hearing officer resigned after being caught on camera, sleeping during testimony critical to a disabled teenager's future.
Word of the resignation came just hours after Larry Craddock e-mailed FOX 26 News to decline comment on video, still pictures and witness affidavits.
"It was not short little naps. He was actually sleeping for extended periods of time," said Myrna Silver, an education attorney representing the North Texas student involved in the case.
In Texas, when the parents of special needs children disagree with the way their public school is educating their kid and efforts at compromise fail, there is often only one recourse to settle the dispute. It's called "Due Process," an educational court proceeding in which a state-appointed hearing officer listens to the issues and serves as judge and jury.
Craddock was presiding at such a hearing when he was captured on cell phone camera snoozing through testimony. Attorney Silver estimates Craddock slept through a quarter of the proceedings.
"We dropped water bottles. We tried coughing, we tried jumbling our books to help stir him awake, but it wasn't working," said parent Donna Harvey.
Parents who engage in a "due process hearing" often expend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting school districts with much deeper pockets.
Most of the time parents lose.
That didn't stop Donna Harvey and Sheryl Kaminsky from fighting for their son Ryan, a teenager, who experts claim, became suicidal because Keller ISD refused to address or acknowledge his autism.
"This is a young man who grew up with out a single friend and his life was a holy horror," said Silver.
Confronted with the video evidence and a demand by the parents that he pull out of the case, Craddock apologized for falling asleep, blaming his drowsiness on medication.