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TUSD looks into allegations against elementary principal

The Turlock Unified School District is in the process of examining claims against Crowell Elementary principal Linda Alaniz made by several instructors who filed grievances against the principal after being involuntarily reassigned to teach different grade levels.

Alaniz has reassigned twelve teachers to different grade levels in order to accommodate the educational needs of the District, but seven of those teachers have filed grievances and feel that their contract has been violated.

“It’s just ridiculous. There is not an educational need. It goes against the students to have well prepared and experienced teachers who know the curriculum moved to another grade level especially after they have been preparing all year to teach new Common Core standards,” said Julie Shipman, president of the Turlock Teachers Association.

While the grievances that were filed stated various violations, such as failing to consider seniority and educational background, all of the complaints held Alaniz responsible. The teachers’ dissatisfaction came to a head at the TUSD Board of Trustees meeting on May 20 where several teachers voiced their concerns and made allegations of emotional abuse, misconduct and more.

According to the Board President Bob Weaver, the District is following protocol and looking into each grievance that was filed.

“‘Investigation’ is a strong word. I would say we are doing more of a follow up which the administration does whenever there is an accusation of some sort,” said Weaver.

While it is not uncommon for teachers to file grievances, it is rare for several complaints to be made regarding the same issue. According to superintendent Sonny Da Marto, the District is responding to each grievance in accordance with the collective bargaining agreements. This entails a step by step process of information sharing and responding in an attempt to resolve the grievance. Due to the California Education Code personnel matters are handled in a confidential matter but thus far Alaniz has remained at her as post as principal of Crowell Elementary and her reassignments remain valid.

 “The District takes its responsibility to serve the students of Turlock very seriously. Whenever concerns are brought forward, we follow up accordingly in an attempt to determine the truth behind allegations and take any appropriate action,” said Da Marto in an emailed statement.