Cabrera accuses Byrd of discrimination, harassment

El Paso News
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El Paso Independent School District was ordered by the Texas Attorney General to release a grievance filed by its superintendent against a school board member.

Superintendent Juan Cabrera accused Trustee Susie Byrd of creating an “intimidating, harassing and abusive work environment.” He later amended the grievance to include “retaliation” after Byrd called for his resignation at a school board meeting.

Cabrera said Byrd made the move because he’d filed the grievance against her two days prior.

“I think he filed the grievance in an attempt to dissuade me from providing appropriate oversight and accountability as a member of the Board of Trustees,” Byrd said in an email to KTSM Monday afternoon.

Byrd called for Cabrera’s resignation at a special school board meeting that was held to address what some trustees felt was Byrd’s “conflict of interest” in working as a campaign manager for congressional candidate, Veronica Escobar. Byrd then called for Cabrera’s resignation, the second time in weeks she had so. Byrd argued that any conflict of interest lay with Cabrera who, according to a district audit, was linked to vendor favoritism and bid tailoring related to Gafcon, a San Diego-based company.

“I believe her actions are motivated in part as a result of my race and national origin,” Cabrera’s grievance said. “I believe she is attempting to unreasonably interfere with my work performance by using her position of authority over me by intimidating me and making threatening remarks such as requesting my resignation for justified reason.”

Byrd said her motive for calling for Cabrera to resign is clear.

“I ran for school board because I was discouraged by the previous Board’s failure to provide appropriate oversight and accountability,” Byrd wrote. “At this point, I am hoping that the Superintendent is willing to set the grievances aside so that we can focus on working together to improve student outcomes at EPISD.”

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