By Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly
Last night, Anaheim City School District (ACSD) board members sided with new Superintendent Linda Wagner’s decision to transfer Principal Roberto Baeza out of Benito Juarez Elementary, parent protests be damned! At the meeting, they also approved and announced a new hire for Juarez: current Mann Elementary Vice Principal Cecilia Román, with the supe touting her as a fluent Spanish speaker who has twenty years of experience working in the district–nevermind Baeza can also speakee Spanish, too!
That didn’t sit well with Juarez parents.
“I am pleading, begging, imploring you and do not want to cry, but please do not take [Baeza] from our children,” said Victoria Burns, one of the few parents who were able to speak during public comments prior to the announcement. “[He] is not done with Benito Juarez. We still need him.”
Her words failed to sway the board. “They gave lip service to the public,” Burns told theWeekly after the meeting. “They gave an opportunity to speak but it wasn’t really taken to heart or considered. The decision was already made.”
Last evening’s board meeting marked a last-ditch effort by parents who have organized and advocated for Principal Baeza to stay since learning he would be headed to Palm Lane Elementary, but their attempt to show a strong stand of support met challenges. The room was over capacity with end-of-the-year recognitions. The kids were kept waiting until after the meeting and everyone remained shoulder-to-shoulder.
Twenty minutes of public comments regarding Juarez were allotted through speaker cards and took place near the onset. Protest signs lay stacked on a table outside, though, as space was a premium for parents. In terms of persuading the ACSD board to retain Baeza at Juarez, it was all for naught.
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