Lincoln elementary parents accuse principal of racism, mistreating students

LA QUINTA, Calif. - The principal at Lincoln Elementary in Palm Desert faces some serious accusations from parents spurred by a recent incident with an injured student.  A group of parents came to voice their concerns at the Desert Sands Unified School District board meeting on Tuesday.

In the open comment period, school secretary Yolanda Robledo got up to give her account of what happened on November 5.  Six-year-old Alfredo Miranda hit his head on the playground, which led to an inch-and-a-half gash on his forehead that was bleeding quite a bit.  

Once he went to the nurse's office, Robledo says she and other members of the office staff wanted to call 911.  She says principal Maryalice Owings refused.  Robledo called Alfredo's mother who asked her to call 911.  "I said, Maryalice, the mother wants to call 911," Robledo told the school board.  "Her response is, 'no, just tell her to get down here'." 

Robledo continued to tell the board that Vanessa Miranda arrived at the school and asked that someone call 911.  Robledo said, once again, Owings refused, even threatening to call the police instead.  "I really, really was, very, very scared because they didn't do anything and I know he needed surgery," said Mrs. Miranda.

Robledo says the principal told Mrs. Miranda to call the paramedics herself.  Robledo eventually called 911. Alfredo needed eight stitches to clean up his wound. There was also concern because he is asthmatic.  

Mrs. Miranda and other parents came to demand action from the board, because they believe, there's a bigger problem.  "It's racism, and discrimination on the part of the principal," said Robledo.  

Other parents got up to complain about the actions of Owings.  Things like refusing to let students use the restroom and grabbing students by the arm with too much force. They also submitted a list of concerns to the board.  Another concern says the school is a Title 1 school and should have a bilingual principal. 

While Principal Owings told one of our reporters she cannot comment on the accusations, teachers at the school came to her defense.  "My response is, I trust Maryalice wholeheartedly," said Claudia Lerner, a first grade teacher at Lincoln.  "She's come into a school that hasn't been led this well in 20 years." 

The board says it's investigating what happened, for Mrs. Miranda and the other parents, they say they refuse to let this continue.  "I hope they do something, because they need a big change, maybe another principal," said Miranda. 

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