DISD report: Elementary principal made racist remarks

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by SHON GABLES, JASON WHITELY and VALERIE ROBERTS

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on December 9, 2010 at 10:59 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 11 at 8:27 PM

DALLAS — An elementary school principal is on administrative leave after being accused of making derogatory remarks about minorities and pregnant women on his campus.

The Dallas ISD just completed a two-and-a-half month investigation of Rudy Mendoza, the principal at Silberstein Elementary School near Pleasant Grove.

The 43-page report — which is yet to be released — outlines the accusations against Mendoza and concludes that he violated seven district policies and might have also broken Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines as well.

According to investigators, Mendoza:

  • made discriminatory remarks to African-American teachers and even his own African-American elementary school students
     
  • created a hostile environment on campus
     
  • made inappropriate comments about pregnancy, allegedly saying, "If you want to get pregnant, this is not the campus for you"

In one sworn affidavit, a teacher claims Mendoza said, "He did not want any pregnant teachers this year because they missed too much school."

"I have no thought whatsoever to make a person feel or even think that — number one, that this is appropriate, or they could get away with it," said Alliance AFT President Rena Honea.

District investigators interviewed 29 teachers and 20 of them remembered the "pregnancy" discussion.

Another sworn affidavit said Mendoza told a bilingual teacher "she was too fat and ugly to be a teacher."

"Unfortunately, many had to suffer under his leadership, and through that fear and intimidation, which is inexcusable," Honea said.

Mendoza said he doesn't remember making comments about pregnancy; never yelled at his staff; and he denies making derogatory remarks about race.

But race is a major part of the DISD report because there are no African-American or Asian teachers or staff members at Silberstein Elementary.

In 2006, when he became Silberstein's principal, the report shows 18 African Americans and Asians worked on his staff. Two years late, eight were gone. By 2010, only three were left, none of which are teachers.

"He really needs to be fired and put in jail and he needs to pay the district back their money," said Dr. Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas NAACP.

The report says some of them moved on because of intimidation and harassment.

The report went on to disclose that the principal had an inappropriate relationship with a female subordinate.

The document does not suggest what should happen to Mendoza, who remains on leave. That will be up to the district's legal team.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com, jwhitely@wfaa.com and vroberts@wfaa.com

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