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Hughes Elementary Employees, Parents Speak Out Against Principal

Parents, teachers and employees in the Kathryn Hughes Elementary School community plan to turn out at Thursday’s Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Board of Trustees meeting to demand the district take steps to remove the school’s principal. They say that they’ve already had several meetings with district staff about Principal Louis Barocio and they want to know why the district has not taken action.

“He’s taken the safety away. There’s now nothing but people being dropped off in the middle of the street. There’s chaos,” said one parent who asked to remain nameless for fear of repercussions. “He’s been leaving the gates unlocked so that anybody can walk on campus. It’s not supposed to be this way.”

The parent says they personally witnessed one gate propped open with a cone during school hours and had to remove it to secure the campus.

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A current employee at the school says no immediate action was taken when a school yard duty was accused of hurting children.

“We had a yard duty employee that was putting hands on the kids, and we had told him [Barocio] for months and months and months, and he did absolutely nothing about it until we got one of the other parents involved,” said the employee who also wished to remain nameless for fear of repercussions. “He finally had to step up, and the other parents had to make several complaints to the board before anything happened. [It] probably took about six months to get her removed.”

That employee says even with the yard duty gone recess is unsafe because there’s not enough staff to maintain the student to staff ratio required. She says staffing levels are so low that it’s often double or triple the regular student to staff ratio at recess.

A former employee says they left the school midyear. They told The Weekly they were always careful to make sure conversations with Barocio were around other people and conversations with other employees did not last long for fear that Barocio would think the worst.

Everyone involved says the district has heard their story. They say the district has interviewed parents, teachers, and staff, but nothing has happened. One employee told The Weekly they raised a list of complaints with the Board of Trustees in early January, and the situation is still the same.

For its part, the District says it has opened an investigation, but these things take time.

“The district is aware of the concerns raised by the community members and is investigating them,” the District told The Weekly in an email. “We do not comment on personnel matters. We take concerns raised by our community seriously while also assuring employees a fair and thorough process when complaints arise. As such, a thorough and impartial outside investigation is underway, which was initiated when the concerns were first brought to the district’s attention. The complainants will receive follow-up communication upon the conclusion of the investigation.”

When The Weekly asked Hughes Elementary employees and parents if the matter involving Barocio could wait until the end of the school year to be resolved, it was a resounding no.

“He’s cleaning house,” said the employee, who pointed to the firing of a transitional kindergarten teacher (TK) and a first-year special education teacher.

It should be noted that SCUSD’s Board of Trustees has repeatedly discussed declining enrollment and required staffing cuts and Hughes Elementary is included in the list of schools that require cuts.

However, the employee was absolute when asked if they believed student safety was at risk.

“I do,” said the employee. “Given the nature of the yard duty attendant and nothing being done there; given what a fourth grader just said, this week, about how he lets them fight. Given his just incredible lack of care, or attention or feeling toward the children. It’s all smoke and mirrors. It’s all empty smiles and false handshakes. That stuff’s who he is.”

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3 Comments
  1. 🐝 2 months ago
    Reply

    I can also add that he does not do anything if your child is being bullied by another students mother. I talked to him about a problem my child had with two students who did not belong in the district and were bullying my child per their mothers request yet nothing was done, his response was “well we are receiving money by allowing these students here”

  2. Shannon 1 month ago
    Reply

    If there is bullying going on, the parents have informed the school and the school has done nothing about it, allowing the bullying to continue, the parents could take further steps by writing a Gebser Letter. Doing a Google search for such will come up with many articles about it and examples from advocates, attorneys, and organizations. A Gebser Letter originated from the 1998 Supreme Court decision Gebser v. Lago Vista School District, 524 U.S. 274 (1998). That case involved bullying and what must be proven for a parent to receive damages under a Title IX discrimination lawsuit.

  3. 🙊 1 month ago
    Reply

    The district may be distracted right now since they and another principal at the new high school are already being sued for retaliation, harrasment, discrimination, and wrongful termination of an employee, but have hid it from all staff until recently. Seems to be a running theme for the district.
    https://trellis.law/doc/130567877/complaint-unlimited-fee-applies-complaint-case-initiation

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