News

HISD Trustee Calls for Board President to Step Down

Her calls add to others from advocates and parents, including one of the women who was arrested, for Skillern-Jones to step down.

Trustee Elizabeth Santos represents District 1 and was elected in 2017.
Trustee Elizabeth Santos represents District 1 and was elected in 2017. She is a teacher in HISD.

One of the Houston school board members has joined calls for the president to step down from her position as chair of the board, after a tense meeting last week ended up sending two women to jail.

“A change in leadership and an acknowledgement of wrongdoing is the minimum we can do to begin restoring the public trust,” Trustee Elizabeth Santos said in a letter on social media.

Last week, HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones ordered the auditorium cleared after one speaker went over her time. After an outburst, police detained three women, arresting two of them and dragging the third woman on the floor. Santos said that Skillern-Jones’ decision was “unjustified.”

“Right now, the shame of our actions and inactions at the April 24 board meeting looms over our board. It clouds our decisions and intentions from proper public scrutiny and erodes the trust our community places in us,” Santos said, adding that she herself does have respect and confidence in the board.

Her calls add to others from advocates and parents, including one of the women who was arrested, for Skillern-Jones to step down.

Still, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee urged greater unity for HISD students and schools at a press conference Friday at one of the schools on the watch list, Blackshear Elementary in Third Ward.

She spoke with more than two dozen people from the Texas Legislature, local churches, colleges and advocacy groups.

“Today I am preaching unity, the linking of the arms at all levels of government, from the children and their parents, to those of you who are intellectual scholars on reformation and change that is for the betterment of these children,” Jackson Lee said.

She also pressed the state education commissioner to grant HISD a waiver on accountability due to Hurricane Harvey and complimented the Los Angeles model that Mayor Sylvester Turner has pitched to turnaround schools.

At the press conference with U.S. Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, several members of local higher education institutions, including Houston Community College, said that they are ready to support HISD.
At the press conference with U.S. Rep Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, several members of local higher education institutions, including Houston Community College, said that they are ready to support HISD.

Share

Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

More Information