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MALDEF: It's the Principal of the Thing

You have to register for it, but there's a story in Education Week this morning in which Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund leaders are questioning precisely why the Dallas Independent School District hasn't removed Teresa Parker as principal of Preston Hollow Elementary School. As you certainly know by now, Parker's the principal U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay ruled on November 16 had "unlawfully segregated [students] at Preston Hollow based on race and national origin" after MALDEF sued the district on behalf of a parent of three children at the school.

"I was pretty shocked that the district didn't come out immediately and state they were going to terminate [the principal] or relieve her of her duties," David G. Hinojosa, MALDEF's lead lawyer in the case, told Education Week during an interview last week. "For a district that serves a substantial number of minority children, what message are they sending to those children and families by keeping this principal?"

It's a good question, but one DISD refuses to answer: Clyde A. Henderson, a spokesman for DISD, tells Education Week "that the situation was being investigated" without commenting on the ruling itself, "except to say that the district was looking at schools to make sure illegal segregation isn't occurring, and was making sure schools 'know what they are supposed to do.'" Parker didn't return EdWeek's calls and hasn't been heard from since the ruling came down.

Then, you have to cut the DISD some slack. It's not every school district in the country that has its newly appointed integrity chief more or less ousted because he has no integrity. Give the district this: It gets an A in irony.

Incidentally, if you want to read the entire 108-page ruling--which makes for great winter-break reading--MALDEF has kindly posted it. --Robert Wilonsky

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