Booth-Fickett Math-Science K-8 Magnet School has been the center of a
maelstrom of complaints
about bullying and unruly students over the past several months.
Principal Charles Bermudez announced Tuesday, "I'm resigning after this year because I don't want to deal with that type of leadership." District leadership, he said, that doesn't allow him to speak freely to parents about serious issues in his school, like bullying and vandalism.
Bermudez said a few dozen students are making school miserable for the students and staff they target.
He says they're taking advantage of the district's more lenient -- restorative -- discipline policy. "Where the restorative conversations don't work. And those kids are sent back into the classroom and issues escalate." Because, he said, the students face little or no consequences. The district is making the transition this school year to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions.
Some staff blame Bermudez for not supporting them when they ask for help, but Bermudez says he's following district orders. "What we do here is what they're asking us to do." KGUN9's Valerie Cavazos asked Bermudez, "Do you feel your hands are tied?" He said, "I feel we can be more effective with kids if the discipline policy is tighter. And most parents believe that."
Kathleen Sheppe is the K-8 director addressing the discipline issues. "We haven't talked with all the teachers yet. But the plan is to come and talk to staff so they can share their concerns."
Meantime, Bermudez insists students are safe at Booth-Fickett. "This is an absolutely safe campus. If it wasn't I would tell you. I work for the community. I work for the board, I'll tell it like it is."
Less than an hour after our interview, Bermudez announced his resignation to the staff. His last day is June 30th.
ADDITIONAL KGUN COVERAGE:
"I won't return to Booth-Fickett" Veteran teacher speaks out
Rampant bullying at another TUSD school