Casarez was moved from high school to an assistant at the junior high

Christopher Maher

Jim Wells County Correspondent

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Independent School District Board of Trustees rejected a grievance filed with the district by the former principal of San Diego High School Wednesday.

Nora Casarez filed the grievance with the district following her reassignment from the principal position at San Diego High School to a second assistant principal position at Bernarda Jaime Junior High on Feb. 12.

Following the board's decision, Casarez's attorney, John F. McCormick, said they would evaluate their options before choosing their next course of action.

"She has been moved from principal at the high school to another position within the district that's not a principal, and we simply believe that is improper," McCormick said. "The motives vary. There's several reasons. Who knows exactly why they did what they did? There are some things that lead us to believe it was certainly improper for them to do that."

Superintendent Luis Pizzini declined to talk about the reasons for the reassignment Wednesday, but said he stood behind his original decision.

"All I can tell you is the board heard the evidence and decided to uphold my reassignment," Pizzini said. "That's all I can say."

The board rejected the level three grievance in a 5-0 decision Wednesday.

In other business, the board also had a number of items on the agenda for discussion, but not action.

Pizzini introduced a proposal to change a local policy that currently allows students who have completed all necessary credits but who have not passed the TAKS test to participate in commencement activities, including walking the stage.

Pizzini said that in the most recent commencement, seven students who had not passed the TAKS test were permitted to walk the stage.

Under state law, students must pass the TAKS test in order to graduate and receive a diploma.

All students who walk across the stage at commencement are handed an empty roll in lieu of a diploma, and then those who passed the TAKS test are then allowed to pick up their diploma after the ceremony.

Pizzini said an analysis of the students who completed the necessary credits but did not pass the TAKS test indicated those students had a high number of absences during the school year.

Changing the policy to only allow students who have completed the necessary credits and who have passed the TAKS to participate in commencement would provide an incentive to parents and students to ensure the students attended regularly.

"I think if we tell them now that if they don't pass the test they won't get to walk," Pizzini said, "that will be incentive for the parents to push the kids to pass."

San Diego ISD currently allows seniors who did not pass TAKS to participate in graduation ceremonies.

An additional item discussed by the board Wednesday was the use of cell phones by district staff and by students during school hours.

Pizzini told the board that in addition to students and teachers talking on their cell phones during school hours, students were also constantly sending text messages and some students had used cell phone cameras to photograph other students in the restrooms.

The board recommended Pizzini to adjust the school policy to restrict cell phone use during school hours to administrators only.