Lincoln High students walk out of class to demand VP become principal

SDUSD: VP Jose Soto isn't being considered for job
Posted at 9:52 AM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 14:42:19-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--Students at Lincoln High School walked out of class Thursday morning to demand San Diego Unified School District appoint the school's vice principal Jose Soto as its principal.

Frustrations are mounting as the school grapples with not having a permanent principal for almost a year. 

The students gathered with community leaders and the school's parent teacher organization to urge SDUSD to consider community input for the selection of the new principal.

Just after 8 a.m., students gathered in the school's quad area, then walked to the administration building, chanting "We want Soto! We want Soto!"

A San Diego Unified official told 10News that Soto is not being considered for the job but wouldn't elaborate further. 

Parents said they were told Soto wasn't qualified for the job but they and their students disagree. 

"He actually listens to the students," said senior Topanga Gentry. "He tries to resolve the problems before he dishes out discipline and he connects with the kids. We all love him." 

According to a press release from the walkout organizers, SDUSD "refuses to hire" Soto after input from two community panels. 

It calls the vice principal an "experienced candidate overwhelming supported by parents, students, teachers, staff and community members." 

District representative Andrew Sharp said the current interim principal will retire at the end of the year. The district is interviewing more candidates next week, he said. 

"If [Soto] doesn't become principal we're most likely going to get stuck with another temporary principal and we're not going to get any of our problems done," said Gentry. "We need a long-term principal to actually stick with the problem and come with a full resolution."

Enrollment at Lincoln High consists of primarily minority students, and mostly Hispanic population. Organizers said Soto is "a principal they trust, who served the community for years and puts students first."

Watch 10News Midday at 11 a.m. for a full report by Mimi Elkalla. 

Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy