Bullying complaints lodged at Harlandale ISD principal

Teachers, parents bring Vestal Elementary concerns to HISD board

Author: Myra Arthur, Reporter, Anchor, marthur@ksat.com
Published On: Jan 23 2013 02:45:47 AM CST

Members of the Harlandale Education Association, teachers and parents attended the Harlandale ISD School Board meeting Tuesday night to discuss their concerns about the interim superintendent and Vestal Elementary with the board.

In a press release, the HEA says "a climate of bullying and retaliation" exists as Vestal.
"Whether that's justified or not, the feeling is out there and it's pretty pervasive," said HEA president, Cathy Stein.

The HEA wants to see the principal of Vestal removed and two teachers reinstated who were moved different campuses, unexpectedly the group says, in the middle of the school year.

"My concern is for my child's learning ability, for them to have substitute teachers weeks at a time," said Alexia Lopez, whose child is a 2nd grader at Vestal.

"Substitutes are coming in with less experience replacing teachers with more experience," said Sid Martin, another concerned parent.

The board allowed little public comment on the issues surrounding Vestal, but one woman who got up to speak told members "when you have a whole campus come to this meeting, there's a problem."

HISD says many of the groups' concerns are personnel matters which the district cannot address publicly.

"I can't elaborate on their concerns, but they will be meeting with HR to discuss their concerns," said Leslie Ann Garza, HISD Spokesperson."

Another woman attending the meeting plead with the board to "be the justice you have said you'll be for us and look into what is going on at Vestal Elementary."

The board decided to make interim superintendent, Rey Madrigal, the permanent superintendent for HISD, which was a decision met by lots of applause and support from those attending the meeting.

Around 9:30 p.m., the board moved into closed session to discuss the concerns at Vestal Elementary, but Garza said it was unlikely any decision would be made Tuesday.

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