DONNA, Texas – A Donna Independent School District (ISD) police sergeant was reinstated to his position after an improper suspension. The sergeant was suspended improperly by the district’s assistant superintendent without approval from the superintendent as part of what appears to be political retaliation and a power-play to get rid of the superintendent.
Sgt. Daniel Walden told Breitbart Texas he received a letter on Monday morning advising him he had been fully reinstated to his position effective immediately. Walden had been suspended without pay the week before, but during a school board meeting last Monday, his status was changed to being suspended with pay.
The move by the school district to correct the improper suspension came after intense scrutiny of the district by parents, local media and Breitbart Texas. This scrutiny became self-evident at Friday night’s board meeting where it was standing room-only and television cameras were present in full force.
The additional emergency school board meeting was held Friday night to consider the employment status of Superintendent Jesus Reyna. The movement to oust the superintendent was led by board president Albert Sandoval. President Sandoval was the only board member to vote for the motion to place Reyna on administrative leave.
Breitbart Texas asked Reyna who suspended Sgt. Walden. He responded that Walden was suspended by the assistant superintendent at the request of recently reinstated police chief Roy Padillo. Reyna said the suspension was improper as only the superintendent can suspend one of the district’s police officers.
A well-placed source within the district told Breitbart Texas that Chief Padilla was using an allegation of sexual contact between a teacher and a now former student to oust the superintendent. The source stated that Walden was advising the chief to follow proper evidentiary proceedures and protocols and that is why Padilla tried to get him suspended.
Walden told Breitbart Texas he was confident his name would be cleared and is glad to be going back to work. “I was confident I would be reinstated,” Walden said. “I knew I had done nothing wrong. False information was leaked to the local media that was damaging to my reputation but I knew the truth would prevail.”
During the Friday night board meeting board member Ernesto Lugo called the actions against Walden and Reyna a political witch hunt and that opponents were acting like a lynch mob. “This lynch mob or witch hunt tactic is ruining the livelihoods and reputations of some of our students and some of our staff and educators,” Lugo said during his remarks. “We are here today because it is the intent of some of our board members to blame our newly appointed superintendent for the actions of his son-in-law.” Lugo also warned fellow board members and district officials about crimes related to official oppression and abuse of power.
Sandoval denied these allegations but refused to answer media questions as to why they were attempting to fire Reyna and Walden.
While Walden’s reinstatement has cleared his name, several investigations into the scandal ridden school district continue.
This story was updated to correct a mistyped statement.
Bob Price is a senior political writer for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.