Former RGC teacher alleges beating by school police

A former Rio Grande City teacher is suing the school district alleging a violation of his civil rights, claiming he was beaten by the school district police department during an incident in April 2017.

Micah Gary Joel Rolph, a former history teacher with the district, accused the school district of discriminating against him. In addition to claims that school district police officers had beaten him, Rolph alleged that he did not receive adequate medical attention and was suspended without due process.

The lawsuit was initially filed in March 2018 but was re-filed in April.

“Mr. Rolph faced daily discrimination and shunning by Rio Grande City High School staff and administration and Rio Grande City CISD,” the complaint stated, adding that unaddressed safety and academic issues with students included death threats, “shoot the gringo day,” and theft of multiple personal items.

He also said there were verbal confrontations with staff and students that were not instigated by him, questionable special education practices, unprofessional conduct by the school district police staff and tampering with his vehicle.

Rolph further claims that on the orders of then-Superintendent Arcadio J. Salinas III and the high school principal, Ricardo Saenz, the police officers “trashed and destroyed” his classroom and handcuffed him.

In addition, Rolph alleges they “severely and maliciously” beat him when he refused to leave the classroom. He was subsequently arrested and spent Easter weekend in jail.

“Mr. Rolph was publicly shamed and given inadequate medical and mental health treatment after being beaten,” the complaint further read.

He alleges that the school district conspired to have his probationary teaching contract suspended without due process.

Baltazar Salazar, the attorney for the school district, said he had not read the petition and therefore had no comment at this time.

An initial pre-trial conference was scheduled for September.