No news is good news. Or so the saying goes. However, that’s not the case in the issue of the noose photo circulated at Summerwind Elementary earlier this year by former principal Linda Brandts.
No one, including Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado, seems to know why Brandts felt compelled to circulate the photo of four teachers posed with a noose, while pointing and laughing, but one thing is certain: It caused quite a stir.
In the Wednesday edition of the Antelope Valley Press, Reporter Julie Drake wrote a story about the progress (or lack thereof) in this case. Maldonado didn’t have much to say, other than the investigation is nearing completion, there have been some new developments and action will “take place pretty soon.”
Well, what’s taken so long? It’s been nearly two-and-a-half months, the teachers are still on administrative leave and Brandts probably would be too, if she hadn’t resigned and taken a job elsewhere.
The big question is, what does that mean? Is she off the hook? If she is found to be guilty of wrongdoing, what are the consequences for her, since she’s no longer employed by the district? Does she just get to go free and possibly engage in the same type of behavior at her new school?
In the Wednesday report, Maldonado said the four teachers will not return to work when the rest of the District’s teachers start a new school year next month. However, they are on paid administrative leave, so they’re not suffering from lack of funds.
It’s not clear whether they will be allowed back in the classroom at the conclusion of the investigation. Actually, nothing regarding this issue is clear, other than the fact that Brandts is gone, the teachers are on paid leave and the Palmdale School Districts Governing Board will hear the results of the investigation in a closed session. Once that has transpired, they’ll decide what to do next.
Parents must be frustrated. AVP readers must be frustrated. Even the reporters and editors here are frustrated at how little we know about what’s going on. There are so many questions and no answers. And if there are, everyone at the District is remaining tight-lipped.
At this point, parents can’t be feeling good about what’s going on. Their children are getting ready to start school again and the only reassurance they have for the moment, is that those four teachers will not be in the classroom when school begins, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be back after the investigation.
There’s no excuse for engaging in that type of behavior, regardless of what the circumstances were. Those teachers are supposed to educate our children and make them feel like they are safe. Engaging in that sort of activity does anything but create a welcoming environment for them.
When the incident happened, some children said they didn’t feel safe and didn’t want to go to school. One can’t help but wonder whether those children will return to Summerwind Elementary. It’s also not clear if any have disenrolled and transferred to another school because of it. God forbid they went to another elementary, only to find that Brandts is their new principal.
Why is she allowed to resign and take a job elsewhere, when an investigation is still active? And more importantly, who hired this embattled principal?
The District needs to make sure they are doing what’s in the best interest of their students. We don’t think that allowing the four to return to their classrooms at Summerwind is the best choice.
If they were worried about having secure employment, they should have taken that into consideration before they engaged in such outrageous behavior. Who’s going to trust them, now?
Come on, Palmdale School District officials, the people want answers.