Parents Protest Demotion of Anaheim Elementary School Principal Roberto Baeza in Vain

Categories: School Daze

baeza_round2.jpg
Gabriel San Roman / OC Weekly
Parents protest outside the ACSD office
Latino parents voiced opposition to a principal removal at an elementary school Monday night at the Anaheim City School District's (ACSD) board meeting. Their testimonies were all for naught. If the scenario sounds familiar, it's because it is! This time last year, mostly Latino parents from Benito Juarez elementary called on board members to retain Principal Roberto Baeza instead of transferring him out to Palm Lane, only to be turned down. Just a few months into his new assignment, administrators placed Baeza on leave this year before Superintendent Linda Wagner demoted him back to being a teacher. The move didn't sit well with those who demanded answers.

Before Monday night's meeting, parents kicked off a series of planned actions starting with a protest outside the ACSD's office last Friday. The savvy supe came out with bottled waters to offer parents but didn't divulge any details on her demotion of their former principal. One mother present recounted how the issue came up a few days before the protest. Fifty or so Palm Lane parents met for a "Disciplina Positiva" (positive discipline) class when a visitor arrived.

"Superintendent Linda Wagner came and interrupted our meeting," Ceci Ochoa tells the Weekly in Spanish. "She told us that Dr. Baeza wasn't coming back and asked us what characteristics we'd like in a new principal." The parents responded that they wanted Baeza back. They also pressed for answers as to why he was taken from the school in the first place. They didn't get any then, just a caution that there was nothing they could do to bring Baeza back.

Sylvia Gudiño has a 5th and 3rd grader attending the school. She spoke well of the changes Baeza brought to the school facing tough socio-economic challenges. "His priorities were the children," she said in Spanish. "Now the situation is much worse since he's been gone."

Undeterred by the supe's intransigence, Palm Lane parents showed up to Monday's board meeting, especially since the demotion decision had been agendized for discussion. Protesters lined the back walls with signs noting ACSD board president (And Weekly 2012 Scariest Person inductee) Jose F. Moreno as "El Malinche Moreno" and depictions of Wagner's face crossed out.

Ceci Ochoa took to public comments once more. "We want to resolve the problem at our school," she said to applause. "We want to know why out principal was removed. I think our children should have the same quality education that your children have."

"Thank you for offering us some water," Rosa Vargas said directly to Wagner. She has grandkids at Juarez and nephews at Palm Lane. "You promised us that you were moving Baeza from Juarez to Palm Lane because he had the capabilities needed there."

Not one speaker from Palm Lane or anywhere else spoke in favor of the demotion.

After public comments concluded, Moreno introduced discussion on the issue. He offered the disclaimer that since it was a personnel decision, few details, if any, could be given with privacy protections under the California Constitution and Brown Act (although in 2013, Moreno did tell me after a meeting that he thought Baeza was a bad principal).

"The Superintendent is hired by the board," he said. "[She] assesses and makes recommendations on personnel decisions." Moreno gave his utmost word that the board discussed the matter thoroughly before its 4-1 closed session vote, while board member Jeff Cole assured parents that their sign-making protest efforts weren't wasted.

Parents took their protest outside Anaheim City Hall before the start of the council meeting yesterday as planned. But board member Sandy Blumberg had other words while trying to downplay the importance of the roles principals play at schools. "You know very little about what's gone on. All you know is that you love Dr. Baeza," she said. "It's time to move on and embrace someone new."

For Palm Lane, that means readying itself for its third principal in as many years.

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2

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17 comments
BringBackBaeza
BringBackBaeza

Dr. Baeza is a great principal!  We will take him back anytime. 

@Jennyd Sorry you couldn't get your child into school.  The principal doesn't set the class sizes or policy on enrollment.  The district does that.  To be fair he has to follow those policies set by the district for everyone.


 @Walsh It is the job of the PRINCIPAL to recruit and hire top quality people. It's what a great leader does!  Dr. Baeza sets high expectations and standards. If he hired them, it was because they met those high expectations and standards.  Too bad you didn't see that or couldn't rise to those standards and expectations.  Just from your comment I can tell that you probably didn't meet his standards and expectations.

Jennyd
Jennyd

Part 1

I was registering my child a week before school started because I severely broke my foot and it delayed me in registering her. At the time I had another child already enrolled in the school. I also had already enrolled her in the after school program as well. When I went to enroll my daughter I was told that there was no room for her and I took too long to register her. I was upset as I had no idea this could happen. I enquired how this can happen as I live literally down the street and this is the school my daughter is supposed to go to. I was told that they already accepted inter district transfers students and that my daughter would have to take a bus to another school. I was beyond upset and almost in tears. I needed the after school day care as I work full time and am a single mother

Walsh
Walsh

There is always other sides of the story.  What I have learned (just ask around, this story wants to be told) and from what I've been able to deduce from my limited interactions with the man, was that he was an full on Primadonna with a massivily conceited personality.  This on top of total unprofessionalism in his dealings with his co-workers and his management style is best described as cronyism. 

This guy is all that is wrong with the public school system, as a tax payer into this district and having a family member at Palm Lane, I'm glad he is no longer the Principle. 

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

wow - trying to determine what brought out so much of the #donaldsterling racist trash of Orange County CA for this story. What touched your nerve? As compared for instance to frequent #criminalcop stories.

mexicanssuckbigdick
mexicanssuckbigdick

Mexicans cant get score high on the SAT, or even graduate high school, but dang can they protest... hey gorditas, next time you want to protest, try writing it in English.. you know, the language that you were supposed to learn when you snuck over the border but was too lazy and stupid to get to?

AnaheimLoco
AnaheimLoco

¡Qué arrogante distrito! ¿Quiénes se creen que representan?

LHerndandez
LHerndandez

Gabriel, I was shocked by Bob Gardner’s comments to the public speakers!I was told by many that I should vote for Mr. Gardner for school board.I regret that decision now. I was told he lived in the Juarez neighborhood and his kids went there.Well I doubt he would be okay with them at Juarez now. I feel our children have suffered this year because it is now disorganized, lacks care and supervision, problems are ignored or mishandled, and little thought is given before decisions are made. I not only worry about how this impacts our children’s education, but even more so about my children’s SAFETY.I received a letter from the school a little while back.  Dr. Wagner wrote that I should teach my child about safety. It said there had been INSTANCES of INAPPROPRIATE CONTACT in the bathrooms back at the beginning of the year.I’m horrified that my children were in harms way for so long without me knowing about them.  Horrified that these things even occurred! The district and school are failing our children.So, my family and I are looking into moving to another school as well as other parents.I won’t be patient when it comes to the education and well being of my children. It isn’t just the families who are leaving, but teachers and other staff too.Many have left or are leaving this year and we hear talk of others not happy and looking to leave. It certainly isn’t thriving, as I heard Mr. Gardner comment.I would bet that the reason Dr. Baeza was removed from Palm Lane and demoted was because he didn’t allow things to be covered up or ignored at Palm Lane. At Juarez, he made sure the school supported our kids educationally, emotionally and physically. 


PissedOffParent
PissedOffParent

Mr. Cole said their sign-making protest efforts weren’t wasted.So typical, they treat us as if we are bothersome, unimportant and try to fool us. We don’t care what you have to say anymore.We demand action.Vote to overturn the decision to demote Dr. Baeza.

PS…The school board should stop taking the word of Dr. Wagner as the truth. She fooled the school board into believing she got parent and community input. Not a single parent I know got a notice of a parent meeting to give input on a new principal. From what I’ve read about Dr. Wagner’s previous districts, this is how she works.The school board obviously doesn’t do homework!

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

Too bad these people didn't protest so vehemently in their home countries, something might get done.  

Paloma88
Paloma88

It's time to move on after only 6 months for Palm Lane parents? I've heard many complain about Blumberg's lack of interest in the school district. After all she seemed to be saying the demotion was like her fellow Board Member Bob Gardner's "routine" principal move 18 years earlier. Are demotion and routine principal move synonymous in ACSD? I'm confused now. Perhaps her stupidity should continue to be veiled under just being disinterested rather than validate what many have thought for years ... that she's as insightful as a doorknob. But it seems Juarez parents were told to move on after 5 years. Yet the parents of other schools in the district don't have to move on until after 6 or 7 years. Where's the equity? So is this anothet routine principal move too for Baeza?

Is anyone outraged by the fact that Palm Lane parents were only asked what they thought as an after-thought while interrupting their training yet Juarez parents were offered 4 meetings to give input last year (as phony as those meetings were)? Or was it 6 meetings? I wonder if that decision to finally ask Palm Lane parents what they thought was made the same day as another Linda Wagner knee-jerk decision was made: to change the dual-language immersion program from a 50-50 model to a 90-10 model. I wonder when they will tell the parents about this last-minute change for the 2014-2015 school year. Do you think the teachers know yet? Let's not be the ones to tell them!

B.M.
B.M.

@Walsh Really???  Cronyism?  do you know what the word means?  How  about the cronyism of tha teachers with the previous principal and the tech assitant aka pta treasurer aka friend of the teachers since transferred.  You ugly fat troll you ARE WHAT'S wrong with schools.  


are you the smae woman that stood up at the meeting that was high-jacked by Dr. Wagner and tried to speak against Dr. Baeza?  

B.M.
B.M.

@mexicanssuckbigdick Really dumb ass?  Would that be the same language you failed since your grammar is really atrocious.  Before you correct anyone, make sure your pea brain has figured out what correct grammar is.  So what is your excuse?  Today, you are the poster child for just plain STUPID!

B.M.
B.M.

@AnaheimLoco trabjo en la escuela y hay mucha maestra mala.  Lo bueno es que ya sacaron dicen las malas lenguas a 2 o 3.  Nos hace falta el director.  Tambien el senor no se dejaba de mamas que se juntan con las maestras y la otra directora.  Todas estan infladas de tanto que comen y el veneno que cargan.  Tenemos miedo decir nada.

Benita_Juarez
Benita_Juarez

@gregbpc We are fighting in our country of origin, baboso!   You are a piece of excrement and unworthy of judging me or anyone else.  Being Latino does not make us all illegal, moron!  My ancestors didn't cross a whole ocean to get here so your thinking is off, idiota.  Instead of showing everyone how stupid you are go back and study the history of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  Seems you may have gone to school where Sandy Blumberg learned wrongly that "demotion" and "transfer" are the same thing.  Par de burros!


This is about children and we are fighting for all students of Anaheim.  Our parent group was made up of White, Black, Latino, and Asian parents.  And don't worry we will fight for your kids education too so they don't grow up sounding like idiots like you!

Paloma88
Paloma88

As vehemently as yours did, when your ancestors crossed an entire ocean? It's 2014, moron! And if that's how you feel, try Idaho. Sounds more your speed!

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@Benita_Juarez LOL-I AM fighting for my kid's education, hoping we can get back to having great schools again in California.  Our schools have gone from being some of the the best in the nation 30 years ago, to being some of the worst.  They no longer have money for science equipment, music, the arts, etc., but they have boat loads of money for ESL  for illegal immigrants.


I guess it is good that at least a few of you parents are interested in your kids' education, unlike a lot of people.

gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

@Paloma88 LOL...Idaho isn't bad.  Would rather go back to Utah, although Utah is turning into mexico of the mountain west.

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