Last week, four teachers and a principal were placed on leave after a photo of the educators posing with what appears to be a noose circulated on email and social media. The origin of the noose and circumstances around the photo are currently under investigation amid outcry from parents and others in the community.
The photo of the four teachers smiling and holding a noose was shared online without a caption or context. Some parents who learned about the image said it was taken and distributed by the Summerwind Elementary School principal, longtime educator Linda Brandts.
One of the teachers in the photo is Jennifer Garcia. Garcia was the first-grade teacher of Gabriel Fernandez, the 8-year-old boy who was tortured and murdered by his mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and the mother’s boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, in 2013. She repeatedly reported signs of abuse before the boy’s death and testified in June.
“They are evil,” she said about the mother and boyfriend at the hearing, where Fernandez was sentenced to life in prison and Aguirre was sentenced to death.
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