Tehachapi School Board Upholds Decision On "Mr. T"
11:40 PM, Apr 2, 2009
Hundreds of supporters of the principal at Jacobsen Middle School went home disappointed Thursday after the Tehachapi School District board upheld its earlier vote to reassign him.
Eric Trigueiro, known to many as "Mr. T," will be re-assigned to a 5th-grade teaching position within the school district effective July 1 as a result of the 4-3 vote held in closed session Thursday night.
The board received an hour of comment during the public portion of the meeting. Most of the comments supported Trigueiro.
Then the school board deliberated behind closed doors for two-and-a-half hours on what to do with Trigueiro, while more than a hundred people remained in the Tehachapi High School gymnasium waiting for the board's vote.
"Every alternative was considered," district superintendent Dr. Richard Swanson said. "The board took the decision very seriously, but that's how the decision fell."
That was no consolation for Trigueiro's supporters, who echoed threats of a recall against the four board members who voted to reassign him. Once the vote was read, people in the crowd held signs urging those board members to be recalled by the public.
Citing personnel policy, school board members would not say why Trigueiro is being reassigned.
But several parents said a group of teachers at the middle school complained to administrators, saying Trigueiro disrupted classtime by using the school's intercom system frequently, called too many assemblies and did not hold students accountable for cleaning up after themselves at lunchtime.
Taking action against school administrators is nothing new for the school district board, which last year voted to remove Tehachapi High School assistant principal Ed Cheek, despite student and public outcry to keep him in place. Cheek has since become the principal at Barstow High School in San Bernardino County.
Trigueiro quietly left the gym once the vote was handed down, saying he was disappointed with the decision.