Botello Elementary's Suspended Whistleblower Claims DISD is Dragging its Feet

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If these walls could talk ... would Monteverde-Torres still be teaching?
Elliot Monteverde-Torres' teaching career is still on pause, nearly two months after he filed a complaint about goings-on inside Botello Elementary School -- and he's heard almost nothing from DISD about his "potential misconduct," he says.

Monteverde-Torres was placed on paid leave following his allegations of BB guns being brought to school and prescriptions pills changing hands among elementary students, all without much discipline or explanation by Principal Angel McKoy. Following his complaint, the Texas Education Agency ordered that DISD investigate his allegations, and DISD placed him on paid leave for potential misconduct.

The third-grade math teacher, whose contract was not renewed for 2012-13 earlier this year, is still barred from returning to work as his students take the STARR exam this week. And he's not enjoying the paid time off.

The school district's report on Botello was originally due last Friday, but the TEA extended the deadline by a month, Monteverde-Torres says. He says the deadline passed without district officials interviewing many of the teachers who had first-hand knowledge of the issues he raised in his complaint. He says several of his coworkers expressed their frustration to him. The school district will not comment on the situation because the investigation is ongoing.

"These are urgent issues. There are children involved. It really takes me aback -- it's really upsetting that it has taken this long ... It's almost as if no one cares," Monteverde-Torres says. He claims the school now runs on fear and retaliation, and that that culture has trickled from the top administration all the way down to the students and parents.

"There is tremendous fear of retaliation ... How do you prosper in an environment where the people who are teaching them are probably under such unrealistic pressure?" Monteverde-Torres asks.

He's not alone in his frustration. Earlier this month, parents wrote a letter defending Monteverde-Torres and detailing their complaints about the disrespect and lack of communication and discipline stemming from Principal McKoy.

This week, Adelfa Callejo, the first Latino SMU law school graduate and the sister of Felix G. Botello, the school's namesake, conducted her own survey of parents and others at Botello. Afterward, she wrote a letter to Superintendent Alan King saying that she did not hear one complaint about Monteverde-Torres, and that the problems partially stemmed from McKoy's inability to speak Spanish in a mostly Latino school. The letter focused the blame on the principal for making parents feel ignored and humiliated, and it detailed a list of recommendations to identify and resolve the issues including anonymous surveys of parents, teachers and staff. (District officials have declined to comment on the incident.)

"The irony of it is at one point I was considered to be an excellent candidate" to become a principal, Monteverde-Torres says. He will graduate from UT next month with his masters in educational administration, he says, and was picked by the district to take part in the two-year program.


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31 comments
Is He fuckking nuts
Is He fuckking nuts

This Elliot Monteverde-Torres guy is nuts and all talk. He is not certified yet as a teacher. He is an alternative certification teacher since 2007, he's not able to pass his certification tests, and he is non-renewed for not meeting the requirements of his teaching certificate. What is he talking about being admitted to a principal program. Is he fuckking nuts or what?? What an idiot Elliot!!! How reliable is he when he can't even take care of his teaching requirements. Dumbass.

Paul
Paul

"... and that the problems partially stemmed from McKoy's inability to speak Spanish in a mostly Latino school."

Shouldn't that be:

"... and that the problems partially stemmed from the student's inability to speak English in the mostly Latino school."

watchingsouthdetroit
watchingsouthdetroit

Apparently, the principal is one of the "favored" ones and is bein protected for political reasons.  Cronyism or nepotism is a possibility here.  The teacher is getting a screw job - talk about shooting the messenger.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Heres hoping Mike Miles starts tossing freeloaders like Angie McKoy out on their asses..That would be the ultimate first good will measure for him to accomplish..

NWilson
NWilson

It's a shame the DISD has elected to not address the issues at this school and others.  I, too, made an "anonymous" complaint to the DISD phone number listed on the website as a place to make an "anonymous" complaint.  Much to my dismay, the complaint was sent directly to DISD and then directly to the principal who the complaint was regarding.  Not to mention, my name, as a private citizen, was listed on the complaint form.  No such thing as an anonymous complaint.  This principal made numerous racial comments then released 11 teachers because they were the wrong color and couldn't relate to the students.  Needless to say, nothing was done.  So, to Mr. Torres, I feel his pain and I am not even an employee of th district.  He did what he thought was right for the sake of the children.  What a pathetic principal.  Poor leadership in the schools leads to the demise of the entire education system of that school.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

 http://www.docstoc.com/docs/88...

Just so everybody knows .....

The Pellet Gun would be a Level III offense.

The Drugs would be a Level IV offense.

Perhaps the Observer crew can check to see if either of these ended up as a Reported disciplinary offense .

DallasDrilling
DallasDrilling

Perhaps 'citizen' Mike Rawlings/Rawlins should step in to support the parents and teacher in asking for complete transparency in this situation.

Jusayin....

Guesto
Guesto

DISD draggin its feet for decades.  That's why no sane white people (as in anglo) attend those schools anymore, especially in South Dallas.  Most of the parents don't care, so why should the district care?

Observer
Observer

FWISD regularly ignores TEA deadlines and nothing happens.  DISD plodding along doing the same thing isn't surprising.  

AP DISD Teacher
AP DISD Teacher

This why teachers need unions (or organizations if you prefer).

The standard operating procedure is to delay as long as possible so that OPR (the Office of Professional Responsibility - DISD's Gestapo) can find or create as much damning evidence as possible against Mr. Monteverde-Torres. OPR investigators are former FBI, IRS and military interrogators and they are very good at what they do. DISD employees should never speak to them without their attorney or representative present.

This is not going to end well for Mr. Monteverde-Torres. Regardless of the merits of his claims, he will be fired, his reputation will be ruined and he will have a difficult time ever working in education again. Unfortunately, I've seen it happen this way time and time again.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

"The irony of it is at one point I was considered to be an excellent candidate to become a principal," Monteverde-Torres says. He will graduate from UT next month with his masters in educational administration, he says, and was picked by the district to take part in the two-year program.

That was Until you went out side the lines and ratted out the boss.As right as you might have been , Nobody likes a Tattletale.

But I guess they don't teach that at "UT" You are damaged goods now .Good luck outside the teaching industry.

SpeedbumpJoey
SpeedbumpJoey

Wow, talking about a screw job here. Lot of fishy-ness for someone that was doing the right thing. Sucks that one goes to do the right thing and then they're the one's punnished, for no reason.

Nothing like a good ol' DISD pissing match in the news.

Guest
Guest

The students speak English but many parents do not. DISD requires that principals be able to speak Spanish but Shirley Ison-Newsome has a history of ignoring policies that limit her ability to hire friends and relatives from whom she can expect a gratuity.

Guest
Guest

King has set a double standard. If anyone complains about one of his favored staff he provides legal counsel and if necessary mounts an investigation to discredit the complaintant. If he wants to fire someone then he assures coplaintants confidentiality and while employees are on administrative leave anyone who might know of anything that might be used against the target employee is interrogated and told they can be fired if they say anything to anyone about the conversation.

primi timpano
primi timpano

 According to Bent Mangum in his post on independent armed militias, one of the purposes of such a militia is to prepare "for a worst case scenario" and that "participation in politics is the most important thing any 'patriot' can do."  Seems Mr. Monteverdore-Torres should consider enlisting one of Mr. Mangum's well-armed patriotic militias to help him redress his differences with the government folks at OPR.  If the militia turns Mr M-T down (and in no way am I suggesting these patriots have a problem with plighted persons with Hispanic surnames) he can always revert to plan B and get an unarmed lawyer to assert his rights in a court before an unarmed jury of his peers.

SpeedbumpJoey
SpeedbumpJoey

Reason why he went outside the lines was because he knew that his principal wouldn't do a thing to begin.

I wouldn't be surprised if this guy has tried to send information right up the chain as it should be done. Just to find out that his report has found the bottom of: 1.) Her trash bin. 2.) Or the bottom of someone else's desk at 3700 Ross.

On top of that, even if his report did go to her, I have no doubt that she would have sent him shuffling off to HR no matter even if he did play by the 'rules'.

Edward
Edward

Yeah, that's right: outside the teaching industry there's no way he could survive by being honest or doing the morally right thing. 

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Yeah, what an idiot that guy is. I mean, at least wait until someone brings a real gun to school and shoots a kid right?  Total overreaction on his part.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

DISD does not require that principals be able to speak Spanish.

Guest
Guest

There is absolutely no policy that says that principals have to speak Spanish, so that is a flat out LIE. It is amazing how racism is still strong and alive...just because the principal is African American... she has to have some connection to Newsome? Her supervisor is Hispanic and always has been. I wonder why a Hispanic man that people "have nothing but praise" about recommended her to Hinojosa- not Newsome...that wasn't even her school! Probably because the Spanish speaking applicants sucked!! I am so ashamed that racism is still acceptable in such a "multicultural" society.

I also wonder where are AFT and NEA if this teacher has such valid claims of wrong doing about this principal. I received a flier from AFT bragging about how they help get that teacher Drake his job back. Interesting that this teacher is still at home.

Paul
Paul

 OK then:

"... and that the problems partially stemmed from the student's parents inability to speak English."

I am of the opinion that the onus of language should be placed on the parents and students, not the teacher, unless of course the teacher is supposed to be teaching non English speaking students how to speak and understand English.

Funny, I never heard any complaints about DISD teachers, principals and administrators inability to speak: Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai and Korean.

I am so glad that my grandfather learned English and made it a priority that his children learned English.

(BTW, it just wasn't a new language that they had to learn, it was also a new alphabet.)

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Yep. Administrative leave stands for: we(employer) don't want you around so people won't feel bad talking about you and know that they'll never see you again when you get fired.

Guest
Guest

King planned ahead. He put an additional $2 million into the Legal Dept. budget for 2011-12 to overmatch anyone who decided to go to court. Because teacher organizations in Texas do not have the clout of unions in other states they cannot afford to support court cases.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

My point is it seems the agreed upon management culture is to have no problems that require reporting much less any action .

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

We all do understand where his show concern has gotten him don't we ?Out the door and at their mercy .

So how is that working out for him ?

guest
guest

The intent of the policy was that principals would speak Spanish. The exceptions were included so that sitting principals would not have to be moved if they were being successful. Those loopholes have been exploited when hiring new principals at campuses with a majority of LEP students. The policy needs to be reworked so that Shirley Ison-Newsome cannot continue to create situations like the one at Ebby Halliday and I am sure was instrumental in creating at Botello even though she was not the Learning Center ED that hired McCoy. She has a clear history of hiring predominantly African American principals regardless of the student population they are to serve and has pressured all ED's into hiring those she "recommends." And it will only get worse now that she supervises all of the ED's.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

'the principal, associate principal, or assistant principal must be proficient in the primary language of the majority LEP or LEP-exited students. A campus that does not have an associate principal or assistant principal due to enrollment size may use the counselor to fulfill the language proficiency requirement"

Guest
Guest

Expectations for schools are that Spanish-speaking kids pass the test. Can't do that without parent support. If you want to set different expectations then run for office. Criticizing schools for doing what they are told to do is wrong-headed.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

So, what is an acceptable circumstance to blow the whistle? If kids are bringing bb/pellet guns to school and it isn't addressed properly, how much longer until they bring a gun?

I appreciate that he decided that someone else needed to know. He even copied the district superintendent on it, and attached his name to it, instead of doing it anonymously.  

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