Are employees at the El Paso Independent School District being bullied for speaking up about concerns? Some claim that's the case, but district leaders told ABC-7 safeguards are in place to protect potential whistleblowers.
"Retaliation is not tolerated," said Robert Almanzan, the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources at EPISD.
Tuesday afternoon, several current or recently retired EPISD employees addressed trustees at a school board meeting.
"Fix the evil, it lurks in the hallways," said one speaker.
Though an EPISD principal affirmed his faith in the troubled district during the public comment portion of the meeting, a science teacher said he is disappointed in the way the district handles employee concerns.
"Some administrators in this district have made an art form of retaliating against employees and making it look like it's not retaliation," said Tom Davis at the meeting.
It's already a fragile time for the district. Earlier this month, EPISD's former superintendent Lorenzo Garcia admitted in federal court to defrauding the district and engaging in a 5 and a half year scheme to artificially boost student test scores.
Almanzan said the district is working to rebuild trust broken by administrators like Garcia and encourages employees to come forward with concerns.
"We're here asking for a chance to prove ourselves again. Come in and talk to someone different. Give us another chance do our best," said Almanzan.
EPISD has an employee relations department with a director and three investigators. Almanzan explained any time an investigation begins, all those involved are promised cnfidentiality and the subject of the complaint is monitored closely to prevent any kind of retaliation.
For those who would prefer to report concerns anonymously, the district relies on a third party company to take complaints and then refer them to the appropriate EPISD administrator for investigation.