School worker claims district banned her

Employee on paid leave after Facebook posts

— An assistant school librarian contends the district has not only placed her on leave, but physically banned her from all school property.

Peggy Brown made that claim on Facebook in response to questions from supporters on why she did not attend a Feb. 28 School Board meeting.

Brown and elementary school teacher Cheriese Rhode were placed on paid administrative leave last month after they posted comments against illegal immigration on their respective Facebook accounts.

Rhode’s post provided the phone number for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Brown’s posts included derogatory comments about the Day Without Immigrants protest.

Superintendent Ray Tolcacher said he placed them on leave not for violating district Facebook policy, but due to safety concerns.

Parents and community members voiced their protest of the two employees’ posts during the Feb. 28 meeting.

Brown said the district wouldn’t let her attend.

“For those of you wondering why we were not there, it was because I received a registered letter from the district the day before the meeting stating I was not allowed on any school property,” Brown said.

Tolcacher and School Board Chairwoman Peggy Douglas did not return messages seeking comment.

The district’s only comment is on its website, where it said they are on “... administrative leave pending investigation of this incident by the District.”

Brown claimed, “So, in effect, I was not allowed to defend myself against the race baiters.”

She received responses supporting and opposing her recent posts about her claims the district is banning her from school property.

“Sounds like this organization wants to make Prosser School District a sanctuary district, placing the superintendent and other employees between illegal immigrants and law enforcement,” Sheryll Robinson responded.

Madeline Snapp countered in her comment to Brown, “The facts are children are complaining about you now.”

The Latino Coalition of Tri-Cities was represented at the Feb. 28 meeting.

It is calling on the district to make a formal statement to the community “... repudiating such language and highlighting that such rhetoric will not be tolerated by any individual employed by the Prosser School District,”

It is also asking officials to “... put in place policies that will protect and provide the necessary safety for students who may be undocumented and ensure that such sensitive information be kept private.”



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