Delhi Unified School District Superintendent Adolfo Melara held a unity rally at Delhi High School Friday in response to reports of disarray on campus after the recent torture and slaying of a FFA pig and claims made by teachers regarding disciplinary issues that they said have been on the rise since last year.
“This is the real Delhi right now. This has always been Delhi High School,” Melara told students. “No one here is claiming that any community, any district is perfect. We are human; therefore, we are imperfect.
“This is not a school in disarray. This is a school on the rise,” continued Melara.
During his speech, Melara acknowledged that the high school has received a significant amount of media attention as of late after a 16-year-old Delhi boy was arrested for the brutal torture and death of a pig from the high school’s FFA farm, as well as allegations from two DHS teachers — who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal — regarding the lack of discipline on campus.
The Turlock Journal received several comments on its Facebook page in response to the report of the arrest earlier this week and a story that detailed allegations made by the two DHS teachers.
“This is not such a surprise to me,” wrote Kristy Hughes on Facebook. “Because this school has always had these bad reviews because of incidents like these and being a big gang town. I know the past two years they have really been doing a good job trying to keep this kind of stuff from happening but it will always come back around.”
“This is the main reason that I took my kids out of these schools,” wrote Wendy Silva-Combs. “The principal says that he will do what it takes to fix it...that was five years ago.”
However, multiple students and parents who felt that the high school was misrepresented also voiced their opinions.
“My high school senior came home right now and said we had a rally with signs up that said, ‘Our diplomas do matter.’ That’s sad,” said parent Blanca Vazquez. “As of parent with a child in that school, I don’t feel that my child is unsafe. I trust the leaders of the school to handle matters in the proper way. There are challenges in every single school...it’s a part of life, of the world, not just Delhi.”
In the article titled, “Disciplinary concerns grow at Delhi campus,” two DHS teachers claimed that a number of student incidents on the high school campus were not handled correctly. In response to these allegations, Melara said that “the students were appropriately disciplined.” However, he did not provide specifics regarding the extent of their punishment.
In regards to the claim made by one teacher that a DHS student hit of his peers in the back of the head with a shovel during class, Melara said that “no information regarding an incident described has been reported to the site administrators, therefore, the allegation cannot be verified.”
For the DHS students who attended the rally on Friday, Melara said that he hoped his speech demonstrated his belief in them.
“I hope that people understand that Delhi is a united community. We are a community that cares about itself and about its students,” said Melara. “I respect everyone’s right to free speech and to say what they feel, but I simply, sincerely, forcefully, and in a dignified manner disagree with them 100 percent.