Tuesday night the board voted 6-3 to fire Jospeh Palazzolo, who brought forward concerns about wrongdoings at Heights in June. He filed a whistle-blower lawsuit against the district Monday. However, administrators contend that he was not a whistle blower as they were already made aware of issues by a teacher. Read the story here.
Rev. Kyev Tatum, who has a filed federal civil rights complaint regarding Heights, was escorted out of the meeting after he continued to clap for trustee Carlos Vasquez during the meeting. As a police officer approached Tatum, he stopped and then was taken outside the building.
Vasquez spoke out against firing Palazzolo saying trustees should be looking at Superintendent Melody Johnson, who he said bullies teachers who report concerns or wrongdoings. He pointed to other recent whistle-blower lawsuits against the district.
Johnson, however, said there was no retaliation. Administrators said the investigation turned up numerous concerns about Palazzolo that had to be looked at as well. Johnson said there was strong evidence to support his firing.
Administrators said other employees have been disciplined as a result of the Heights investigation, that found various issues at the school including that student attendance records were altered, discriminatory discipline referrals for minorities, shoddy record keeping and other mismanagement. Chief of Administration Sylvia Reyna declined to say who received what actions but that the generally ranged from verbal reprimands to issuing growth plans. School secretary Debbie Bell, who had been placed on leave after accessing records that were used in teacher complaints, has returned to work, officials said.