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Parents accuse HISD elementary school principal of being bully

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Some parents with children at a northwest Houston elementary school say the principal lacks leadership and is a bully, and they want the HISD school board to take action. But the principal tells Eyewitness News that's not true.

The parents are very passionate and they voiced their opinions to HISD trustees. But the principal says she's been there seven years and isn't going anywhere.

Gabriella Guiterrez has devoted the past four months of her life to one thing: gathering the evidence that she believes shows her children's principal at Patterson Elementary is unfit for the job.

"I'd say she's a major bully and I say shame on you to the district for allowing this to happen. Because if she's the leader of that school, andthe teachers are being bullied, the kids aren't being taught effectively," Guiterrez said.

Guiterrez gathered several concerned parents, former teachers, and even the civil rights group LULAC at Thursday's HISD board meeting, demanding principal Jeanie Canstano be removed.

"Why is HISD allowing a principal to bully the teachers?" said Mary Ramos with LULAC said.

It's a label the principal says she's has heard before.

"And it saddens me to hear that," Canstano said.

"Are you a bully?" we asked.

"I don't feel I am a bully. I really come to work everyday to make sure the kids are learning, the kids are safe," she said.

Canstano has been a principal at Patterson for seven years. She rejects the bully label, but admits she can rub people the wrong way.

"I am not warm and fuzzy, and I am very focused on making sure the children are learning," she said.

HISD did conduct an internal investigation and is standing by principal Canstano. Parents and some former teachers vow to continue the fight, saying they won't be happy until she is removed.

"It is very unfortunate what people have to go through a daily basis, not only teachers but staff and parents," former teacher Diana Andree said.

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