Texas School Superintendent Resigns amid Sexual Harassment Claims

Emilio Castro

A Texas superintendent of schools resigned following a month-long probe into a sexual harassment complaint lodged by a female employee. Outside investigators determined the claims were credible, prompting his resignation.

Emilio Castro, superintendent for the Edgewood Independent School District, formally resigned in a letter to the school district’s board of managers last week, although the resignation goes into effect on March 31.

On February 23, the Edgewood ISD board placed Castro on a paid leave of absence after a 46-year-old woman, who works in the district’s main office, lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him with San Antonio police, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The woman also notified the school district’s human resources department about the alleged inappropriate touching.

Reportedly, a February 16 police report revealed a number of incidents occurred between Castro and this woman that made her feel uncomfortable. This included accusations he ran his hand across her lower back and leg, touched her shin, placed his hands on her shoulders and would not let go of her even when she attempted to shrug him off, and did not release her hand at the end of a handshake.

The Houston-based law firm of Rogers, Morris & Grover, which represents public school districts, community and junior colleges, private and charter schools, and other public sector entities, according to their online profile, investigated the allegations. They determined the staffer’s claims were valid.

Last month, a former member on this board, Amanda Gonzalez, said she was “repulsed” but “not surprised” to learn of the complaint. She called herself a recipient of Castro’s overtures, as well, but she did not report his alleged misconduct. Gonzalez told the Express-News: “Dr. Castro’s inappropriate behavior carried on until I finally moved his hand away from me at a town hall meeting, avoided meeting him at one-on-one meetings off district campus, and tried any and every attempt not to sit next to him.”

When the board placed Castro on leave, they tapped Phillip Chavez, the school district’s chief academic officer, to fill in as acting administrator in charge of Edgewood ISD. Now, with Castro’s departure, Chavez will continue to helm the district until the board selects a permanent superintendent.

Castro became Edgewood’s superintendent during a troubled time for the school district. In May of 2016, they surrendered control to the state over accreditation issues. That resulted in Education Commissioner Mike Morath replacing their elected board of trustees with an appointed board of managers in an attempt to get the school district back on track with effective governance.

Appointed boards are temporary, as Breitbart Texas has reported. However, they can remain in place for up to two years before the Texas Education Agency reinstates local control and school board elections resume. In November of 2016, this appointed board voted to hire Castro and replace interim superintendent Sylvester Perez. Previously, Castro served as deputy superintendent of San Antonio ISD. Earlier in his career, he was an elementary, middle, and high school principal in Dallas.

Castro joined Edgewood ISD on December 5, 2016, with a three-year contract that extended through December 4, 2019, at an annual salary of $205,000. His compensation package included a tax-sheltered annuity plan that the district contributed $6,000 each year.

Breitbart Texas obtained a press release issued by the school district. It stated that Castro’s salary and benefits will continue through the last day of March and include monies for seven local and 8.5 state leave days that he earned and accrued during his tenure at Edgewood ISD. However, it specified that the district “shall not pay any other compensation” to Castro.

In going forward, the board of managers intends to “continuously monitor” the district’s harassment, discrimination, and retaliation policies to ensure they are enforced, noted the press release. The board thanked the complainant for coming forward and witnesses who participated in the investigation. They encouraged employees to report instances of any type of workplace harassment to their immediate supervisors.

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