Former Bowie Teachers Speak Out Against Garcia
POSTED: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 10:19pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 16, 2012 - 10:57am
LOWER VALLEY — Former teachers from Bowie High School are speaking out, claiming former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia stole an education from hundreds of students in The Borderland.
During the open meeting Wednesday night hosted by former State Senator Elliot Shapleigh, teachers came out saying what they’ve been dying to say.
Teachers say that Garcia bullied them, and as a result they weren’t able to help dozens and dozens of student who were driven out of Bowie High School.
Former Bowie English teacher Patricia Padilla held back tears, saying when students asked for her help, she was powerless.
"It hurts when you see little girls and young men tell you, they can't come back to school. It hurts to tell them your hands are tied and you know the superintendent, the board is not listening to you,” said Padilla.
Padilla says when district administrators told her to change student's grades, she asked for the request in writing. She says that what she got back was a demand she find another job.
"When you remember those kids that came before you, and tell you, 'I've been told to drop out. I've been told to go to Lafayette. I'm told to go back to Juarez or Mexico where I come from,’" said Padilla.
Garcia pleaded guilty last month to ordering school officials to keep low performing students at home during testing periods, so that he, Garcia, could secure a pay bonus.
Debra Stedman is another former teacher from Bowie. She retired in 2008 after 28 years in the district.
She says it was either Garcia's way or no way at all.
"There are many highly qualified teachers and administrators who were pressured to find other positions or even to lead the district because they didn't conform to Garcia's methods and or refused to compromise their ethics,” said Stedman.
District employees say they are worried that un-named and un-indicted administrators are still employed, and are setting the district up to fail.
"We know of at least six who sold their selves to the devil or at least slept with him, to enter into Garcia's inter-circle of high salaries,” claims Stedman.
Former Senator Elliot Shapleigh says he confronted Garcia about the Bowie test scores in 2010. He says Garcia looked him straight in the eye and said the district did not tamper with any grades.
Shapleigh plans to have another open meeting to discuss problems in EPISD in a couple weeks at UTEP.