Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

December 21, 2006

Things are getting interesting…

Filed under: race, Teacher issues — texased @ 1:26 pm

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | News: Local News:

A former Preston Hollow Elementary School teacher says she was fired for fighting racial segregation at the school.Graciela McKay filed a federal lawsuit Friday alleging that school officials retaliated against her for speaking out about discriminatory practices at the school.

The suit comes nearly a month after U.S. District Court Judge Sam A. Lindsay ruled that the school’s principal, Teresa Parker, used English as a Second Language classes to segregate many black and Hispanic students from white students.

So was McKay just following orders to keep her job?

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | News: Local News:

Ms. McKay, who is Hispanic, did not testify during the federal trial, said Carlos Becerra, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund who represented the Hispanic parents in their segregation lawsuit.But Mr. Becerra said Ms. McKay sympathized with the Hispanic parents and allegedly gave them a copy of an e-mail saying that the Preston Hollow PTA planned to make a promotional brochure that excluded Hispanic and African-American students.

What’s interesting is that McKay’s lawsuit includes the PTA and certain members. Maybe there was too much parental influence? Regardless of how this turns, whenever I hear the following statement, I’m automatically suspicious:

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | News: Local News:

Mr. Ronquillo said Ms. McKay was not fired, but rather her contract was not renewed.

This is supposed to make it sound like the district hasn’t taken any negative action against the individual? For some apparently unrelated reason, we just decided not to renew her contract? Why do you think contracts have to be renewed annually if not to avoid having to fire people?




    Docket #: 3:06-cv-2325-L
    Assigned to the Honorable Sam A. Lindsay

    Graciela Serna McKay, Plaintiff
    Michael Hinojosa, DISD Superintendent, Official Capacity and Individually;
    Teresa Parker, Official Capacity as Principal of Preston Hollow Elementary and Individually;
    Meg Bittner, Official Capacity as President of Preston Hollow PTA, and Individually;
    Kaky Wakefield, Official Capacity as Secretary and Vice-President of Preston Hollow Elementary and Individually;
    Ana Cranshaw;
    Preston Hollow PTA;
    The Texas PTA Association; the PTA Association, Defendants

    First Point: Judge Sam A. Lindsay will be required to rescues himself from hearing this case because of personal remarks he placed in print in his prior ruling in the case of Santamaria et al v. DISD etal in which he found Principal Parker guilty of 14th Amendment violations. Judge Lindsay also took liberty with his assessment of PTA President Meg Bittner. Judge Lindsay clearly demonstrated an existing bias against these two defendants and it would be impossible for him to be impartial as required by his oath of office.
    In addition, the case of Santamaria et al v. DISD et al is not concluded due to a brief filed with the Court challenging Judge Lindsay’s conclusions of law, to wit:

    “….the Court committed a clear abuse of discretion in including conclusions of law not supported by the evidence or even its own judgment.”

    “The statements in the Court’s Conclusions of Law under the heading of Defendants’ ‘Separate But Equal’ Argument” are plainly erroneous conclusions of law.”

    Judge Sam A. Lindsay will remove himself; otherwise the grounds for appeal will be vast regardless of which side prevails. Federal Judges don’t like having their rulings overturned on appeal.
    Ok, now The Honorable A. Joe Fish, Chief Judge of the Northern District of Texas appoints a new judge to hear this case.

    Plaintiff McKay: Hired by Defendant Parker to improve Preston Hollow’s overall relationship with the Latino community. I am not sure she ever actually taught a class. She was working under a term contract which was not renewed. She was instrumental in organizing OFE (Preston Hollow Plaintiff) with Santamaria and Gonzalez.

    McKay originally filed a grievance with the OCR (Office of Civil Rights) in the Department of Education which refers to the DOJ. In the current case McKay is claiming a whole host of violations; 1st and 14th Amendment, Title VII Sections 1981, 1983, 1985, 2000 (d), 2000 (e), etc, etc, etc. What jumps out of the filing is McKay’s claim of Freedom of Speech, Association, race and retaliation.

    You should note that McKay was turned down by the EEOC/OCR, In McKay’s Filing, Page 4, Paragraph 14, “McKay has exhausted required administrative procedures by filing an EEOC Charge alleging that McKay had been discriminated against by DISD, her employer, by ultimately terminating McKay’s employment because of her race and in retaliation….” So she has elected to give it a go in the court house. I wonder why the EEOC/OCR turned her down. I would think that this information will eventually come out.

    McKay has requested a Jury Trial, looking for some equally oppressed citizens I assume.

    Rumor has it that McKay applied for a position in a North Texas ISD. She was not offered a position after she (McKay) told them she was the one who brought Preston Hollow down. Now, why would anyone openly admit to such an act. You are instantly recognized as a problem or a problem waiting to happen.

    It is my opinion that McKay took the Preston Hollow case to MALDEF after LULAC turned Santamaria and Gonzalez away. There was no big monetary judgment in the Preston Hollow case and McKay on the outside looking in, she was deposed but never testified. Her husband nevertheless was in the courtroom everyday, listening to the trial.

    I also find it interesting that MALDEF has chosen NOT to represent McKay. Why not?, Is she not a Latino, victim of discrimination by the very group (DISD et al) MALDEF charged in the case of Santamaria et al v. DISD et al? In the Civil Cover Sheet Part VIII, Related Case(s) Pending or Closed: Santamaria et al v. DISD et al is referenced by its Docket # 3:06-cv-692-L. McKay’s attorney is one Brian P. Sanford.

    I am sure Mr. Sanford is a very capable attorney, but I am not sure he will have access to the support resources MALDEF had at their disposal.

    Who will represent the Defendants this time around? This is not known at this time, but I am sure that the various Defendants will NOT rely on DISD’s hired guns to properly defend their (Parker, Bittner, Wakefield, Cranshaw, PTAs, etc) individual interest. I would not personally. Why not you ask? Because McKay is asking that any judgment in her favor should be imposed on the Defendants Joint and Severable.
    I guess there will be a multitude of depositions in this case. These will run the legal bills up to ridiculous numbers. Of course, the Plaintiff McKay could try to have depositions admitted from the “Related” case. Trying to benefit from MALDEF’s hard work. Not likely.

    Let’s see where this one goes. I think it will be a very different environment than the previous case.

    Comment by CoverPoint — December 22, 2006 @ 10:35 am

  2. You’ve got to be kidding me. Ms. McKay, an employee (with a temporary contract) is claiming
    to have been bullied by PTA volunteers?? With a 65% hispanic attendence, she couldn’t handle a couple of volunteers or convince that vast majority to volunteer themselves? Wonder who wants to volunteer next year? With great perks like being tied up in court and being sued by the teacher of the children you are volunteering to help, who wouldn’t want that headache. Where do I sign up?

    Interesting she used the term “brought down” Preston Hollow. Wonder who’s suffering the consequences? Clearly she should not have had her contract renewed, since she botched the job of improving Latino relations completely.

    Comment by Kel — January 4, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

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