Charter School's Change In Direction Met With Opposition

Former Promise Charter School Principal Sues Over Firing

Allegations of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students have a former principal suing a San Diego charter school.

Former Promise Charter School Principal Alma Van Nice is suing over wrongful termination after she claimed she was fired for not telling the school board about a covert police investigation.

A source told 10News a female student claimed male teachers were "hugging female students too long," and "having certain female students play with [their] hair."

No charges were ever filed against any teachers, but Van Nice was fired.

Jose Orozco, who is now the principal at Promise Charter School, said a culture of inappropriate, but legal, behavior has been stopped by new policies.

Orozco told teachers, "Don't make any jokes or comments that have a sexual connotation with your students."

He said those interactions were happening with students as young as 12 years old.

"We're concerned that the nature of the school has been completely changed," former Promise Charter School board member Pam Clark said. "Parents that used to say 'This is our school' are saying, 'They can't do that, this is our school.'"

Clark was removed from the board when new leadership, including Orozco, took over.

Clark said more than 160 people have signed a petition to stop the new direction of the school and Orozco's rules for teacher-student relationships.

"They should start their own school and not take over a school that was doing really, really well," Clark said.

Cindy Rios, 14, transferred schools after the changes and said her teachers were friendly, not inappropriate.

"They have only hugged us," she said.

"I haven't seen the teachers sleep with a student, but that's the way they're going if this continues so that's why we're putting a stop to it now," lead teacher Linda Torres said. "I don't see why people would defend that, and if they do I think they have something to hide."

A source said settlement talks are happening right now over the former principal's lawsuit.

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