AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Gabbie Soto has been the principal at Andrews Elementary School since January of last year. Since she's been there, parents and teachers have accused her of using racial slurs, bullying, making threats and more.
“My daughter was scared to come back to school because of her. She had physically put her hands on my daughter's teacher in front of the whole class,” said Gina Banda, parent.
Banda’s daughter was at Andrews since Pre-K. She decided enough was enough and removed her daughter in 4th grade. “This is a place for them to come and feel safe. They don't want to be bullied by their peers why would they want to be bullied by their principal?” said Banda.
In a press conference Monday, concerned parents, activists and community members said it was about time to take a stand. Also mentioned was a school newsletter that was issued, with what they believe was a disturbing message and photo. “The principal, apart from being a bully to faculty and students as you heard, also fired the PTA because it was made up of immigrants, then turned around as you can see from a photograph of the school newsletter, installed her own PTA,” said Jim Harrington, attorney for the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Austin ISD officials say they are investigating the allegations. “Statements like that related to MAGA are not supported by our district,” said Michelle Cavazoa, chief officer for school leadership at AISD.
The district reassured that all students are welcome.
They plan to reveal the results of the investigation as soon as possible. In the meantime, principal Soto is on approved leave. “We take these allegations very seriously and want to clarify it is absolutely against what we value at the district,” said Cavazos.
Parents, teachers, and students say there are tired of being ignored, and they hope Soto is removed as principal immediately. “This isn't just about Andrews Elementary or Austin. This is about all of us,” said Ana Maria Rea, with RAICES.
The district said they will release the results of the investigation as soon as it is completed.