Ex-Enloe Teacher Wants Reprimand Expunged
Posted October 15, 2007 6:39 a.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2007 10:07 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.