The board of trustees for the Edgewood Independent School District voted to formally censure fellow trustee Dina Serrano Monday for posting a photo online of her husband wearing a noose.
The resolution approved by the board said the photo was racially insensitive and could be seen to condone suicide. It asked Serrano to resign effective immediately and removed her from her board officer position.
“We have spoken to her in closed session and we are still extremely disappointed,” Board President Martha Castilla said. “We are the voice of the community and the students we serve, and our voice must support the end of systemic racism. Our voice must end domestic violence. Our voice must end suicide and the stigma of mental health.”
Serrano did not speak during the board meeting and left without resigning.
Dozens of people submitted comments or spoke during the public comment segment of the meeting, with most asking for Serrano to resign or be removed from the board.
“You cannot model behavior steeped in racism, broadcast it to the world, and then say it was a joke,” said retired educator Dorothy Collins, one of Edgewood’s first Black principals. “There are some positions that are just too important to allow behaviors to be displayed without consequence.”
Another commenter said that if Serrano had learned from the condemnation of her post she would have resigned.
“I was educated in the Edgewood community. This is a very painful thing,” the commenter said. “With the current climate, and even the historical climate, to not understand how demeaning this is and how demoralizing it is — you did not learn.”
The photo, published by KSAT News with the faces blurred out, is of Serrano's husband wearing a rope around his neck, with two children holding the end of the rope. The caption read, "Happy Father's Day, Babe. Look what you helped create," with a laughing emoji. Serrano issued an apology after the photo became public.
“My naivety in thinking this was an innocent fun picture was interpreted as malicious, insensitive and racist,” Serrano said, according to KSAT. “I get it, being a Latina woman from the barrio, I understand how hurtful my actions were. I am sorry.”
According to the Texas Local Government Code, school boards do not have the authority to remove one of their fellow trustees from office. Individual trustees can be removed by petitioning the district court, if the district judge rules the elected officer has demonstrated incompetence or official misconduct.
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