This week several angry parents of students at Vincent L Triggs Elementary reached out to me to complain and make a few accusations about incidents that they felt weren’t only unethical, questionable, but in some cases very much illegal. It started with one parent texting me that there were serious problems with the school, including according to her, a currently unfounded claim of embezzlement of funds by Parent Teacher Organization President.
She gave me several phone numbers, and also shared my phone number with other parents and teachers who wanted to speak to me. They all had stories that they felt were “emergencies” that consisted from one member of the Parent’s Teacher Organization (PTSO) saying that she had evidence the current President was using funds and the Tax ID # illegally, and another claiming that the Principal of the School
(name removed) was punishing her kid because she complained about a teacher.
They all were really upset and all wanted to talk to me immediately because they said it was only getting worse. I honestly not sure I ever want to even consider writing another blog post about CCSD after hearing all the complaints, some not even relevant to the story.
Another parent told me of an incident where she learned of a gun and knife was taken to school on multiple incidents, and then the police weren’t involved at all – and it was covered up by both the teacher and principal because the parent was “connected” somehow with the school.
I soon got text messages forwarded to me from other parents about the incident, and how they claim their concerns were ignored by the administration.
It goes on: Yet another parent claimed that another teacher was being targeted because the PTSO President wanted “everyone in the school to be Hispanic and speak Spanish, with no white people.” Worse, she main claims the PTO President, was breaking the law and is a “wanted felon with a warrant” and hasn’t passed background checks. She also claimed the PTSO President, was illegally going to school and doesn’t even live in the district.
It was very, very clear there were a lot of angry parents who wanted to tell me their stories.
I called the school – wanting to speak to the administration, and even emailed them. There was no response from anyone about the questions, despite promises to return my calls. Emails to CCSD were not replied to, and not a single voice mail was returned.
Joanna Mendez, the PTSO President did speak to me briefly, did confirm that she does not live in the school zone, but she has special permission to go there. This was confirmed by another source, a teacher, who said “Joanna is a very talented artist and works super hard at that school — is she out of zone I would definitely think they would try to keep her also because her kid’s special needs.” She told me the school would contact me and answer my questions (which they didn’t, again).
However, five minutes after my phone call, a told me they confronted a parent in the school, and accused HER of being the person speaking to me, and according to the witnesses, “escorted her off the property.” She wasn’t actually the person that spoke to me, but confirmed that the school was in some sort of “emergency lockdown” to control what was coming out.
Again, neither the Clark County School District, or the principal of the School have returned my calls to talk about this – and even went as far as one employee hanging up at me at the school after saying “we’ve been ordered to not talk about this with you.” It’s very difficult to get the “other side” of the story when Administrators are purposely refusing to answer questions to the press or parents. In this case, they seem to be attempting not only hide what is going on, but to take action to prevent parents from speaking to me.
One teacher who knows the principal did go “off the record” to tell me that Cooper is an “amazing principal” and does everything in her power to make parents happy. She said the principal goes “above and beyond” most administrators. Strangely, she did mention that are “lots of cronyism” but nothing sinister. She did agree there was a “culture of non-transparency” that upsets a lot of parents.
Yes, it gets even more strange: another random parent did contact me, after I sent out a tweet asking people to contact me about an incident with, claiming that I was “harassing her” and her son, because she believed the tweet was referring to her. Despite numerous responses telling it had nothing to do with her, not was anyone named in the tweet – she went as far to create new social media accounts to attack both myself and others in media.
This ended in me having to get my attorney involved to contact law enforcement if necessary. I even went as far to try speak to her, to try to explain this had nothing to do with her whatsoever, that I had no idea who she was – and she really needed to calm down and understand that continuing to contact me was illegal.
She claimed that her son had a “toy gun” and went to defend her son and herself— saying that the school had actually CONTACTED her about me calling asking questions and “warned her.” This seems like another incident perhaps of the administration taking punitive actions based on perceived hostility. None of this this isn’t normal, nor how a school district should be handling press and complaints from parents, and makes me wonder what is really going on over there.
Is there something sinister going on here, are the accusations made by parents valid? I have no idea — I wasn’t even sure I was going to write a story about this, until it turned into this crazy 24 hours of angry phone calls and conversations with parents. I’m pretty sure this might be my last CCSD story, just because it was such a monumental pain in the ass.
I can’t tell if the allegations are actually true and not making any claim whatsoever — and it would require a lot more investigative work. From an outsider with decades of experience in investigation, journalism and media, when people start acting this way – even if they aren’t hiding something, it makes them seem like something nefarious is going on. The lack of transparency to both journalists, and the parents, coupled with the complete failure of CCSD to address questions should concern everyone.
UPDATE 20:15: The parents are obviously angry: I have more messages and more complaints from parents who feel their concerns aren’t being met, but if they actually file complaints against the administration, their kids will be hurt. There’s really no way for me to know if this is true or not, and I’m not attempting to make any claims. I’m more concerned that there is something WRONG if parents feel their voices are ignored. I’m a full-time single parent, and I’m autistic: I get how you can be passionate about your child. It wasn’t easy raising a kid by myself.