SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - On Thursday night, parents rallied in support of former Smythe Elementary School principal who was recently removed from his position.
The San Ysidro School District reassigned Joel Tapia from his role at the South Bay school last month and late Thursday night the board voted not to approve his contract for the following school year.
The board did not say why they are not renewing Tapia's contract but he said it has nothing to do with his performance as a principal at Smythe for the past year-and-half. Francisco Mata, the SYSD spokesperson says Tapia's job title remains the principal at Smythe but has been reassigned to the district office.
Tapia said he believes it stems from a California Commission on Teacher Credentialing investigation that cleared him of allegations that he made an employee feel uncomfortable and gave unwanted attention while serving.
According to Tapia, he was cleared and it was never an issue at San Ysidro until the interim superintendent came in.
Tapia said when a reporter called about the investigation, he self-reported the article to his bosses and that is when he was relocated.
"I am devastated. I really--my intention wasn't to speak, but at this point, I've done everything I've been asked to do. This is something from two years ago in another district, nothing to do with San Ysidro," said Tapia.
He left Smythe on January 16th, and had been at the administration building. Tapia said the situation has been difficult.
San Ysidro Board President, Rosaleah Pallasigue said the decision to fire Tapia was a tough decision, "My heart is breaking for this individual. This has nothing to do with my personal feelings towards him, this is about what I saw on paper and that is what I had to go for and that is what I had to stick with and that is the facts."
Tapia said he does not know what he will do next.
The board president said it will be big shoes to fill and they have not considered who will replace Tapia.
Sunset Elementary School Assistant Principal Erika Meza is the interim principal at Smythe.