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Is Lathrop fire official intimidating school staff?
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A principal from a Lathrop charter school is alleging that an administrator from the Lathrop Manteca Fire District has been intimidating both her and her staff.
And he may have done a lot more than just that.
At the meeting of the Lathrop Manteca Fire District Board of Directors on Thursday night, Leslie Pombo, the Principal at NextGeneration STEM Academy in Lathrop, informed the board that an unnamed administrator has “intimidated, bullied and unjustly targeted” both her and members of her staff in recent months.
It got so bad, Pombo said, that when dealing with a variety of issues that have popped up at the school recently she has opted to work with representatives from Lathrop Police Services and the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department because she’s wary of the intentions of the unnamed staffer and doesn’t necessarily feel safe when he’s around.
The school was given a code violation back in December,. According to Pombo, attempts at getting the matter rectified and preventing the $1,500 fine – which she didn’t specify a reason for – were rebuffed despite the fact that the response to the district was filed in a timely fashion.
Just recently the school has had to evacuate students because of natural gas leaks – something that was being addressed as recently as Thursday afternoon when officials met with PG&E to discuss the matter.
But on top of a presence on campus, she said, that left some people feeling uncomfortable, Pombo also said that the person was viewed using the district’s fire key to access the facility’s master key after hours and used it to access a classroom on-site.
A representative from the Division of the State Architect that saw the person do just that gave a statement to the school that was compiled into a packet that was distributed to the board members. Pombo said that she didn’t have any other documents with her to provide to The Bulletin.
When asked about the issue, Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely said that he had no comment because it was a personnel issue. The board itself said that it would take the documents under advisement. Board President Gloryanna Rhodes pointing out that they really couldn’t say much more on the subject because the matter was not on the agenda and doing so would be against the rules.
According to Pombo, she would like to know whether the staffer goes all of the elementary schools in the fire district, why there was a difference in the code violations, what the justification was for the fine that was levied and whether it’s typical practice for a fire district administrator to access a school’s master key and go into a classroom after hours.
After the meeting she said that she feels the school was unfairly targeted when it came to the fine that was levied against then, and when asked whether the issue with the gas leaks that was being addressed as recently as Thursday had anything to do with the matter, she declined to comment.
The school, which is in the River Islands residential development, is part of the Banta Elementary School District.