CUHSD: Students ask for teacher's reinstatement

March 28, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

About 20 Central Union High School students gathered at the school district board meeting in El Centro on Tuesday night in an attempt to have history teacher Simon Marquez returned to the classroom.

Marquez was one of three teachers notified by the school board March 15 that their contracts would not be renewed.

While the other two teachers remain at Central, Marquez was dismissed and escorted off campus the next day.

Neither the board nor administration would comment on details of Marquez's dismissal.

"We're lost right now," student Jennifer Mendivel, 17, told the board during the public comment session.

Mendivel said the substitute teacher serving for Marquez has not adequately replaced him.

She told the board the class' productivity has declined since Marquez's dismissal.

Students said Marquez was more than a teacher, and was a mentor who devoted much time to after-school activities and guidance.


"Mr. Marquez is a wonderful leader and we need him back at school," said Mendivel. "He's our father, our counselor and our friend."

"That class is empty without him and we need him," student Sofia Solorzano told the board as she began to cry.

"I can't talk to my parents the way I talk to him," Solorzano said. "He's my role model."

Board President Jeanne Vogel told the students the board could not comment on the situation, although she thanked the students for coming to the meeting to show their support of Marquez.

The students said they are attempting to be placed on the board's next agenda.

Mendivel said she will persist until that happens, but realizes that she will be met with opposition.

"I think they (the school board) don't want to hear it," said Mendivel. "I'm hoping everybody doesn't give up. We're just going to keep trying until we get what we want."

On March 16 students staged a protest in front of Central High, then marched to the district's administrative building to protest Marquez's dismissal.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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