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Fate of Austin High School principal determined during school board meeting
By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas The El Paso Independent School District's board of managers will give notice of proposed termination to a popular high school principal as well as an assistant principal Tuesday night.
During the summer the district placed former Austin High School Principal John Tanner on leave, prompting protests from students.
Assistant Austin High School Principal Diane Thomas was also stripped of her title.
Tuesday night, Austin High School Panthers were proud and they were loud as they asked the Board of Managers to keep their administrators in place.
"I will always keep fighting for him and regardless of what the outcome is he will always be my principal," said Austin junior Ashley Nava.
Nava said they haven't been told why Tanner has been absent from the hallways only that it's a "personal issue." But Nava said the school year hasn't been the same without him
"We're not really together it's just a very awkward state," said Nava.
If supporters expected to hear an explanation for Tanner's removal, they left disappointed Tuesday night.
The district has not given a reason for beginning the termination process for the two administrators. After the board's decision Tuesday night, Board President Dee Margo explained the employees can still file an appeal and cannot comment.
After a nearly two-hour executive session the board announced their decision to give notice of proposed termination to Tanner and Thomas. Supporters fell silent, stoic; many hugged each other and cried as the filed out of the board room.
"It's really sad there are times at school I cry just thinking of him not being there. And maybe not coming back," said Nava.
It was a much different scene than the one that played out a little more than eight months ago when the Austin faithful rallied for Tanner the first time.
In April, Tanner was one of eight administrators who faced termination after the release of the controversial Weaver audit, which sought to identify errors made under former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia.
The report recommended termination for eight administrators, including Tanner.
After a rally led by students and teachers, as well as a prolonged board meeting in front of the then Board of Trustees, almost all of the administrators were reinstated and put on a growth plan.
Four months later, Tanner was placed on administrative leave again, prompting protests from students wanting the district to reinstate their principal.
Before Tuesday's meeting, Tanner's lawyer said they have yet to be informed as to what Tanner is accused of doing.
Neither Tanner nor Thomas was in attendance for Tuesday's meeting.