SAN ANTONIO – Dina Serrano’s decision to not resign from the Edgewood Independent School District board of trustees after sharing a controversial picture on Facebook late last month has cost her district a partnership with a prestigious student-mentorship program, public records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders confirm.
The post, shared by Serrano on Father’s Day weekend, showed a man later identified as her husband with his head in a noose and the couple’s two children pulling on the other end of the rope.
Serrano late last month was publicly censured by her fellow board members and stripped of her vice president position but refused to resign her seat, telling the Defenders she was elected by the community and would stay on the board.
Emails handed over to the Defenders following a records request show that donors have pulled their support for the West Side district following Serrano’s post.
A volunteer for the district’s higher education counseling efforts, who has worked for admissions offices at some of the country’s top universities, called Serrano’s Facebook post “disgusting and disgraceful” in an email sent to EISD Board President Martha Castilla.
“I have written to every college network I am a member of and regional admissions officer I know to make them aware of Dina Serrano’s actions, both her Facebook post and her comments after her post was made public. Admissions officers have the prerogative to visit and work with whatever schools and districts they see fit and I know they will not make the effort to work with a district that condones such behavior,” wrote Marisa Zepeda.
Serrano, who did not respond to repeated requests for comment for this story, apologized for the post days before a special called meeting was held to discuss it.
“My naivety in thinking this was an innocent fun picture was interpreted as malicious, insensitive and racist. I get it, being a Latina woman from the barrio, I understand how hurtful my actions were. I am sorry,” wrote Serrano.
William Long, a local public relations executive, told the district via email earlier this month that he would no longer support Edgewood ISD while Serrano remains on the board.
“I’ve gotten to know the community members as well as the administration, and I know that she doesn’t represent any of them through these racist actions,” Long told the Defenders Friday.
Long said in recent years he has donated time and helped get school supplies for the district.
“While I look forward to supporting Edgewood in the future, my company as well as others refuse to do business with Edgewood ISD until Dina Serrano resigns and/or is removed from office,” Long said.
Castilla said during a June 29 special-called meeting that she and the board did not have the power to remove Serrano from her position, but had asked her to step down because the post was racially inappropriate and insensitive to the mental health community, had hurt staff morale and could ultimately impact the district’s finances.
EISD officials declined to make Castilla available for an interview for this story and referred the Defenders back to her June 29 comments.
Guide Right Program
Serrano’s post and her subsequent refusal to resign caused leadership of a historically Black fraternity to back out of a budding partnership with the district to mentor students.
“Her action of not resigning regardless of her feeling that she ‘was elected by my community’ does not sit well with our morals and values of what we are trying to instill in the young men with our Guide Right Program within the San Antonio community,” wrote Dr. Sean V. Seay, director of the Guide Right Program for the San Antonio Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
The email was sent to Castilla hours after the June 29 meeting ended.
Eighty-five percent of students who take part in the nearly 100-year-old program, which includes college preparatory work and tutoring, go on to attend four-year institutions, Guide Right’s website states.
Seay told the Defenders via telephone last week his group had been working to form a partnership with EISD’s middle schools for a couple of years.
“When we saw that we knew we couldn’t be associated with them,” said Seay. “Her true character came out.”