Santa Maria Students Protest Suspension of Superintendent
POSTED: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 10:31am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 3:52pm
Many students risk receiving zeros on daily work Tuesday, will miss competing in athletic events Tuesday night and face the possibility of suspension when they return to class tomorrow. But the risk they are taking, by missing class to protest, they say, is well worth it.
"We're going to stand up for what's right, because like this sign says, "stand up for something, or fall for anything." said 18 year old SMHS Class President, Nerieda Villarreal, as she pointed to a protest sign.
Nearly two dozen students are exercising their right to be heard after they were allegedly ignored at last night's school board meeting.
They had hoped to address the school board on the anticipated dismissal of the district's top leader, superintendent Dr. Wilma Jo Smetter.
"They didn't let us speak, the best they could have done was that, we deserve it, and it's obvious that us students want her here, and that's something they didn't take into consideration." said Villarreal.
In just over five minutes, the board members retreated to executive session, came back to open session, voted Smetter out, 5 to 2, and dismissed the meeting, skipping the public comments section on the agenda.
One of the two board members that voted against the suspension of Dr. Smetter shed some light as to why she was let go.
"I would say just personal things, to me, it seemed last night was not for what's happening with our district, but it happened for other reasons." said veteran school board member, Oscar Saldivar Jr.
Shortly after Saldivar spoke with News Center 23, school board president Consuelo De La Rosa exited the administration building. Once again, she avoided our camera and the students and parents who are seeking answers regarding Smetter's suspension.
"That's not being here for our kids, how come she doesn't turn around, get in front of the camera, come to the kids, "okay let me hear you out", she doesn't explain nothing." said frustrated parent Veronica Rivera.
Smetter supporters say they aren't giving up, even after they put down their signs, the fight will continue.
"We're going to continue calling TEA (Texas Education Agency), we're going to continue doing everything we can to get Dr. Smetter back hopefully." said concerned parent Belinda Lugo.
The only person allowed to disclose details on Smetter's release, the attorney for the school district, Gustavo Acevedo, did not return our calls by deadline on Tuesday. As of now, the official reason behind Smetter’s release is still not clear.