Edinburg school district reassignment sparks public backlash - The Monitor: News

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Edinburg school district reassignment sparks public backlash

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Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 5:43 am

EDINBURG — Not much is known about recent Edinburg school district employee reassignments, except one thing: Principal Daniel Roma is in demand with students and parents.

School district officials have yet to answer inquires about personnel moves this spring. On Thursday night, a group of more than 40 people attended the Edinburg school board meeting to show their support for Roma.

When reached Friday, Roma said he would only remain Edinburg High School principal until the start of the new school year. He declined to comment further.

The large Edinburg school district board room was nearly empty as the group, many of whom wore matching T-shirts in support of Roma, filed out following the public comments of Jairus Esparza in support of the administrator.

“I’ve never had a principal like him before. I mean, there’s really nothing bad about him,” Esparza, a 2011 EHS graduate, said to The Monitor. “From what it seems to me, they want puppets and Mr. Roma was not a puppet. He did things the way he thought they’d be better.”

Esparza asked the school board to reconsider Roma’s reassignment or to deny his request if Roma has submitted his resignation. Esparza runs a popular EHS Facebook page and authored a Change.org petition in support of Roma.

Sonia Garcia, who has two ninth-graders at EHS, said she hoped the show of support Thursday would make a difference.

“I was so hurt,” she said of learning about Roma. “These kids are going to be really affected. I honestly feel that they’re going to be hurting; academically, emotionally.”

Superintendent Rene Gutierrez did not return messages left on his cellphone requesting comment Wednesday and Friday.

The Monitor filed an open records request asking the number and names of school district employees reassigned this spring.

Speaking at times with tears in her eyes, Garcia said many members of the group wanted to offer public comment Thursday.

However, she said a district employee told them only one person could speak because they were all going to talk about the same topic. She said the employee did not show any written policy limiting public comment.

Garcia said not knowing the reasons why Roma will no longer be EHS principal after this summer worsens the situation.

“It’s upsetting because it’s not about them. It’s not about the superintendent and all them and all their things that they got going on. It’s about the kids,” Garcia said. “Be honest with us. That’s all we want, is answers. … There’s a lot of stuff that they’re saying. We don’t know what’s true anymore.”

Garcia and Esparza described Roma as an approachable administrator who made strong efforts to engage students. Esparza said Roma added sixth-period instruction to help students, carried out campus beautification and helped add a student media program.

“Really, I think when it comes down to it, he’s always there to listen,” Esparza said. “Whatever way he can support EHS, anyway at all, he’ll be there.”

Garcia said Roma had a “zero tolerance” policy about bullying and personally stepped in when she raised concerns her daughter was being targeted.

They both said they hope the school board listens to the public.

“Edinburg school district is not showing stability,” Garcia said of the circumstances. “They don’t show no structure, no stability and that’s what kids need,” she said.

jarmendariz@themonitor.com 

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