Parents put trust into the teachers and faculty at their children’s school. They expect it to be a place where they can send their kids to and know that the student will be safe, happy, and have a fun learning experience.
Since January of 2018, Gabbie Soto has been the principal at Andrews Elementary School. Ever since she took the position there have been a lot of accusations from parents and teachers about her use of racial slurs, bullying, and much more. It has even reached the point of physical aggression and making threats.
Gena Banda, a parent to a student at the school, said “my daughter was scared to come back to school because of her. She had physically put her hands on my daughter’s teacher in front of the whole class.” Banda’s daughter had been attending Andrews Elementary since she was in Pre-K, but she finally had enough and took her daughter out of the school in the 4th grade stating, “this is a place for them to come and feel safe. They don’t want to be bullied by their peers, why would they want to be bullied by their principal?”
Banda’s experience with Soto is just one of the many accusations at hand. Soto has been accused of referring undocumented parents as illegals, preventing undocumented parents from going on school field trips, preventing students from speaking Spanish, and removing undocumented PTA board members. Attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project, Jim Harrington, said she “fired the PTA because it was made up of immigrants, then turned around as you can see from a photograph of the school newsletter, installed her own PTA.”
With the amount of accusations towards Soto, distressed parents and members of the education advocacy group, East Austin Schools Manifesto Coalition, gathered for a press conference in order to take a stand, and the Austin Independent School District are in the process of investigating. Parents, teachers, and students are no longer being ignored and are hoping that Soto is removed as principal soon. Once results of the investigation have been completed, they will be released, until then Soto will be on approved leave.
Michelle Cavazoa, chief officer for school leadership at AISD, said “statements like that related to MAGA are not supported by our district.” This district is reassuring and making it very clear that all students are welcome. They do not take these claims lightly and want everyone to know that it is completely against the values at the district.