Local News

Ex-Enloe Teacher Wants Reprimand Expunged

Posted October 15, 2007

— A Wake County teacher who was reassigned to an alternative high school after he invited a controversial Christian speaker to his class testified for more than four hours Monday before a grievance committee in his effort to get a 12-page reprimand removed from his employment file.

A number of students also testified on behalf of former Enloe High School social studies teacher Robert Escamilla, and dozens more rallied Monday afternoon outside of the Wake County Public School System's main office in support of the popular teacher.

"I think what's been done to me is wrong," Escamilla said Monday. "I got singled out."

Escamilla was suspended with pay in March after Kamil Solomon, head of Kamil International Ministries Organization, handed out pamphlets critical of Islam and titled, “Why Women Should Not Marry Muslims.”

Wake County school officials said Escamilla crossed a line and that the speaker was unacceptable.

Escamilla and his attorney, Billy Strickland, said the school system and Superintendent Del Burns unfairly attacked his 18-year employment record.

"After we got the first paperwork back from Dr. Burns, it was like, 'Oh no, it's not about the speaker. It's mostly about your performance as a teacher,'" Strickland said.

Escamilla's personnel file is confidential unless he decides to release it. He declined to do so, saying he did not want to affect the school board's deliberations.

That has left the system with little to say about the matter.

"We stand behind the fact that this is about a lot more to this story than a single speaker or a single incident," Wake County schools spokesman Michael Evans said.

Jaime Zea, who testified on behalf of Escamilla, said he is part of the file because his parents once complained that the teacher joked about the Hispanic student being deported.

"It was nothing more than a joke," Zea said. "Mr. Escamilla was very apologetic."

"They were trying to take the incident from two years ago and use it against him in this new case, which, I think, is completely unfair," Zea said.

The school board will discuss the case in a closed session on Tuesday. It has 10 days to make a decision.


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  • djofraleigh Oct 16, 2007

    The teacher rightly sees that there is a challenge to Christian influence in the schools, the community and in the nation's future, but he is wrong that he is in the majority of thought, the majority of will, and that he can stop that in this way. Most people are NOT religious in fact, but only want to take the easy way to every thing.

  • ptahandatum Oct 16, 2007

    haggis basher: serves them right! More power to your young lady's friends for doing that exact thing. I wish more people would stand up to these arrogant, bible thumping people and let them know they are violating our rights too.

  • TB in Raleigh Oct 16, 2007

    pleshy - perhaps I am confusing things a bit; it was late, and there's not much space to write. However, I am responding to those who think there's so much anti-CHristian bias in policies and laws, when IMHO there has been too much Christian bias. I haven't challenged your posts on what's legal, but surely you can see that in a town where most people have the same religious beliefs, they can and often do legally make laws that support those beliefs-thus making state/fed laws to correct this bias necessary? Currently, biblical bias shows in a primary arguement against gambling; Blue Laws; "don't ask don't tell" military rules that are upheld; anti-gay marriage laws; laws deciding who has legal sex and how; abstinence-only teachings in public schools; many state and federal holidays; allowing health-care workers to enforce their religion on the public by denying contraception - look at the effort it took to allow a religious woman to swear on her holy book (not a bible) here??

  • haggis basher Oct 16, 2007

    Yeah those nice folks were at NC State brickyard a while ago calling the women names etc. One of my Daughters friends responded by burning a bible in front of them! Treat fire with fire!

  • Justin T. Oct 16, 2007

    Religion can't be FAIRLY taught in a PUBLIC school. Kids need ethics, including religion, but it is not fair to force Christianity on children who have different backgrounds.

    Anyone who wants to raise their child in an atmosphere of religious zeal should enroll them in a Christian, Muslim, or other specific school with that emphasis.

    I would hope that most of you would simply like for your kids to get a good enough education to survive in this competitive world and have the parenting skills to teach them religion at home.

  • just laura Oct 16, 2007

    QUOTE: "Sorry lasuto, pulled the name out of the wrong post. I obviously meant TB."

    Okey-dokey. Sorry for being snippy. Too early in the morning! (I used to be lasuto, I changed my user name.)

    QUOTE: "...wonder why parents don't see the value of a conflict of opinion and the benefit of debate."

    It's not about protecting kids from conflict of opinion or not seeing the value of debate. It was simply inappropriate to have someone come in with such an agenda. I'm very glad (honestly!) that kids can see through this propaganda, but that doesn't mean they should be exposed to it in the classroom setting. Would you welcome members of the KKK into your daughter's school in the interest of hearing conflicting opinions?

  • Deb1003 Oct 16, 2007

    I have discussed this w/ my 17yo daughter and asked her how she would feel about having this speaker in her class. Her response, I always welcome other opinions, but I know I don't have to believe as they do and debate is always good. I was proud of her response, and wonder why parents don't see the value of a conflict of opinion and the benefit of debate.

  • pleshy Oct 16, 2007

    Sorry lasuto, pulled the name out of the wrong post. I obviously meant TB.

  • pleshy Oct 16, 2007

    TB - and none of those things has anything to do whatsoever with the guarantees of the first amendment, except perhaps that they are protected actions. With alcohol and toboacco, a higher level of control by the government is tolerated not because of church groups, but because of the nature of the item controlled. And please do not lecture me on Blue laws. As a true southerner, I have lived with Blue laws my whole life. Our motto is: if you know you are going to need to drink on Sunday morning, you need to plan ahead. Moreover, the government cannot tell religions to stay out of politics any more than they could tell atheists to stay out of politics. The government is the entity restricted from controlling speech. Anyone else can, under the proper circumstances, censor an individual completely. Ever heard of a non-disclosure agreement? Trade secrets? You are confusing two issues, again. A church can tell anyone willing to listen anything it wants and you are allowed to not listen.

  • Nope Oct 16, 2007

    Having a fundamentalist christian who runs an anti-islamic website in to discuss islam is like having a neo-nazi in to discuss judaism. Where is the educational worth?