SAN ANTONIO – The vice president of Edgewood Independent School District’s board of trustees said Monday she will not resign, despite a growing backlash over a Father’s Day weekend Facebook post in which she shared a picture of a man with his head in a noose.
Dina Serrano, who was sworn in last month, sat quietly as a district spokeswoman read dozens of emails from people around the country who submitted comments.
One citizen called the post “racist, malicious,” while another said it was “blatant racism.”
Thirty-five of the 39 emails called for Serrano to resign, be removed from the board or temporarily step down until she goes through sensitivity training.
The board meeting, held at the district convention center on Herbert Lane, had chairs spread out so people could attend in person while also practicing social distancing amid the latest surge of the COVID-19 cases in the area.
Five attendees who addressed Serrano in person all admonished her for the post, which came during a time of continued civil unrest throughout much of the United States.
“The noose is a sign of racism and hate. So you just hate to see a person who is supposedly professional and a leader in the school district put something on social media like that. It’s just unacceptable,” said 88-year-old Dorothy Collins, a barrier-breaking educator who worked for Edgewood ISD for 38 years.
The post included a picture of a man, later identified as Serrano’s husband, with his head in a noose and the couple’s two children pulling on the other end of the rope.
The picture included the caption: “Happy Father’s Day Babe! Look what you helped create.”
Serrano said in an apology posted on social media last week that the photo was taken during a family trip to Arizona in 2015 and that she understood her actions were hurtful.
After going into executive session for about an hour, trustees reconvened and read a resolution condemning Serrano’s actions.
As part of the resolution, Serrano received a public censure, a form of formal disapproval, and was removed from her vice president position.
Trustee Stella Camacho will now as serve in that role.
Board President Martha Castilla said the rest of the board had requested Serrano’s resignation, and that the post was not only racially inappropriate and insensitive to the mental health community but had also hurt staff morale and could ultimately impact the district’s finances.
Castilla added that donors and community partners had contacted the district in recent days and said they would pull their support if Serrano remained associated with the board.
Castilla and the district’s attorney said Monday the board did not have the power to remove Serrano from the board outright.
Serrano, at first, said she would not say anything as she gathered her belongings but stopped and finally responded to questions from a KSAT reporter.
“I was elected by my community, so I am going to stay on the board,” said Serrano as she left the meeting Monday afternoon.