Complaint of BB Guns, Pills and Lack of Oversight at Botello Mostly "Unfounded" (Updated)
Elliot Monteverde-Torres, the third-grade math teacher at Felix G. Botello Elementary School in Oak Cliff, hasn't seen the district's report regarding his complaint against the school's principal, but he knows it isn't favorable for him. Like us, he heard that the district had finished the report, which it was required to submit to the Texas Education Agency, when WFAA reported that the district determined "nearly all of the allegations to be unfounded."
Among a laundry list of other things, Monteverde-Torres alleged that Principal Angel McKoy did not do enough to discipline a child who took a BB gun to school and another child who passed out prescription drugs. Since submitting his report in March, Monteverde-Torres has been outspoken about his opinion that McKoy has fostered a culture of fear and retaliation, an unpleasant environment that affects the children. Fifty parents signed a letter supporting the math teacher and criticizing the principal's leadership.
Following the complaint, the district placed Monteverde-Torres on paid leave. Unfair Park is waiting on a request to the district for a copy of the full report. Though he has not read the report that reportedly dismissed most of his complaints, Monteverde-Torres is unwavering in his position. "I stand exactly by everything I said." He requested a copy of the report from the TEA, it had not yet been provided.
He says he feels responsible to the school's students, many of whom are children of undocumented immigrants who fear deportation if they speak out. "Those children, I have to treat them like they're my own children," Monteverde-Torres says. "You have to take responsibilities for those children."
Last month, Monteverde-Torres graduated from the University of Texas with his masters in educational administration as part of a competitive two-year program for which he was selected by the district. That was before his relationship with the leadership at Botello Elementary became so rocky. Now, the district is not renewing his contract to teach, and his paid leave expires this week.
Nonetheless, the math teacher says, this isn't the last the district will hear from him. "I will continue to fight this," he says.
Update: DISD spokesman, Jon Dahlander, cannot comment on personnel issues, as dictated by district policy, but he did suggest that we include a bit of context that Joe noted in March, when Monteverde-Torres filed his complaint.
Before submitting his complaint letter, Monteverde-Torres had been told that his contract would not be renewed for the following school year. He was essentially fired, but he said that he would have written the letter anyway. The teacher told Joe that he had been a "probationary" employee, which meant the district could pull his contract for the following year without explanation. After he continued butting heads with his principal, Monteverde-Torres told Joe, the district did just that.
We'll have more on this when we get the district's report, which will likely show another side to the story.
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