It all started with a telephone call to the RISD superintendent. The call was from a board member inquiring if an alleged "strip search" had occurred as reported to him. He would not share information beyond that as to who had called or what had occurred at the school.
The minimal information received from the board member was hardly enough to pursue an investigation, I did anyway. I did ask him for details but he refused to share more information. Nevertheless, a day later I discovered that the report prepared by the eyewitness to the alleged "strip search" was circulating in the community. I directed my assistant to pursue the investigation by bringing employees for questioning because I was attending the Texas Association of School Boards convention in Dallas with the RISD board members. I stayed in close telephone contact with my assistant superintendent.
What unraveled were two employees admitting to the wrongful possession and distribution of confidential student and employee information. Regardless of the allegations, persons are innocent until they are given due process. The employees were given due process and admitted the wrongdoing. One indefinite suspension and two terminations followed the investigation. The distribution of confidential student and employee information is against legal school district policy FL-legal.
These were not inexperienced employees distributing the information, they were an assistant principal and a truant officer not involved whatsoever in the matter. Neither of these employees works at the campus in which the alleged incident occurred. So, you have to ask yourself, what is their interest in this matter? Both deal with student information daily and know better.
The correct thing that should have occurred was to bring the report to the central office and allow for the proper process to occur. When one on the employees that distributed the information was asked: "Why didn't you bring the eyewitness report to the central office for proper processing?," the response was "I didn't want it to be 'covered up.'" I responded: "Do you think that innocent professional employees would jeopardize their certificates for something they had no involvement in?" I can not help but wonder what these employees and others had in mind in the first place.
The information we attained permitted us to make decisions in this unfortunate matter. It would have been easier if we received the information from the beginning, but that did not happen.
I want to thank the citizens of Robstown that had the best interest of the children, the district and employees that recognized that the circulation of the eyewitness report in the community was improper. It is because of persons like these that we are able to protect the students of our district. It takes courage to stand for what is right, and we again have many people from Robstown that will take a position between right and wrong. We will recover and move forward. We will continue to work towards a better school district, of this I assure you. Today a student of vision…tomorrow a leader with vision.
Roberto Garcia is the superintendent for the Robstown Independent School District. Readers may contact him via telephone at 767-6600, ext. 2223.