Brown-out

The problems at Silberstein Elementary--too few bilingual teachers, a PTA divided, tensions between black administrators and Hispanic parents--are a microcosm of the issues DISD faces districtwide

Nearly half a year later, Rojas hasn't named a successor to his post and has yet to agree on a protocol to bring the panels back into DISD's inner circle. "Before, we had channels for getting information back and forth," says Virgie Grant Brooks, head of the African-American Advisory Committee, which still meets regularly even though it doesn't actually advise anyone. "The perception is, we're going back to that old way."

In a written response to questions submitted by the Observer, DISD spokesman Tomas Roman said discussions were ongoing on how advisory panels could best function. He denied that panel members have been punished for speaking their mind (Rojas himself declined to comment on the matter). Asked whether lack of communication was adding to racial friction, Roman's reply was no. "Advisory panels and committees are functioning fine," he said.

Back at Skyline Library, Johnny Rodriguez, the Pleasant Grove grandparent, said he doesn't think everything is fine at DISD, but blames himself for not doing anything about it until now.

Veronica Mugartegui is still incensed that her 10-year-old daughter, MariaCruz Mugartegui, broke both her arms after the swing set she was playing on collapsed--especially since Silberstein school officials had been warned about the problem.
Veronica Mugartegui is still incensed that her 10-year-old daughter, MariaCruz Mugartegui, broke both her arms after the swing set she was playing on collapsed--especially since Silberstein school officials had been warned about the problem.
Maria Castro, left, is a parent of two children at the school and a former teacher's aide who says she's had run-ins with the Silberstein principal. Anita Contrares, center, whose son, Angel, has cerebral palsy, is upset that some areas of the school lack ramps.
Maria Castro, left, is a parent of two children at the school and a former teacher's aide who says she's had run-ins with the Silberstein principal. Anita Contrares, center, whose son, Angel, has cerebral palsy, is upset that some areas of the school lack ramps.

From here on, things won't ever be the same again at Silberstein and Urban Park elementaries, Rodriguez vows, speaking for their legions of newly energized parents. He offers a short warning to any administrator or teacher who doesn't care as much about Pleasant Grove children as their parents do: "We're going to watch this school."

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