Edgewood Independent School District’s board will meet Monday to discuss the qualifications, duties, conduct, and discipline of a district trustee and the possible re-organization of officer positions after Board Vice President Dina Serrano posted a photo on her personal Facebook account of a man in a noose.
The post, published last weekend, has since been taken down, but a screenshot was published online by KSAT with faces and names blurred. It depicts a man in a noose with two children holding the end of the rope.
The caption reads: “Happy Father’s Day Babe! Look what you helped create.”
Serrano’s post comes as protests over racial injustice and police violence against Black people continue in San Antonio and nationwide.
Nooses are seen as a symbol of racism and brutality against Black people because of their connection to lynchings. From 1882 to 1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States, according to the NAACP. The majority of those lynched, 3,446, were Black.
This week, Board President Martha Castilla released a statement expressing disappointment at Serrano’s poor judgment.
“As board members in EISD, we make every effort to be sensitive to the entire community we serve,” Castilla said. “The EISD School Board will not overlook any type of behavior that is considered offensive. This does not reflect the Edgewood ISD Board of Trustees nor the Edgewood Independent School District. Our goal is to provide a safe learning environment where we empower our students through education.”
Serrano apologized for the post on Thursday, posting on Twitter that she had published a photo from a 2015 family vacation in Arizona. Her account has since been deleted.
“My naivety in thinking this was an innocent, fun picture was interpreted as malicious, insensitive, and racist,” Serrano wrote. “I get it, being a Latina woman from the barrio, I understand how hurtful my actions were. I am sorry.”
Serrano did not respond to further requests for comment.
Serrano’s addition to the board concluded the transition process Edgewood ISD underwent from being governed by a state-appointed board of managers to being governed by a board of entirely elected trustees.
She was elected in November 2018, winning 56 percent of the vote over Richard Santoyo, who was a manager on the state-appointed board at the time. However, because of TEA’s transition process, Serrano’s position effectively existed only on paper for almost two years.
On Monday, trustees will discuss the qualifications, duties, conduct, and discipline of a district trustee in closed session and could take action after.
Texas law gives school boards little power to police themselves. The strongest reprimand a board can issue to a trustee found in violation of internal policies is a public censure. Edgewood’s code of ethics for trustees does not touch on social media use.
Six North East ISD trustees did just that last year when they found now-former trustee Joseph Treviño violated board policy. The board publicly admonished him twice, the first time for attempting to get special treatment for elected office and the second time for missing school board meetings, sharing confidential information discussed in closed session, and sharing a social media post that included a racial slur.
The board’s censures resulted in banning Treviño from attending campuses and district events through the end of his term in May 2022. Ultimately, Treviño resigned and Omar Leos replaced him.
In discussing how to move forward, Edgewood’s board faces its first major test now that TEA no longer has a significant presence in the district.
The former president of the board of managers, Roy Soto, is now the district’s conservator. His role is to guide the board on governance and other matters. He also has the power to override board votes.