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Public expresses support for Carrasco

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Amelia Romero, a Roswell High School cheerleader, speaks in support of Pilar Carrasco at the Roswell Independent School District’s board of education meeting on Tuesday night. Three other people associated with RHS spoke prior to Romero. (Alison Penn Photo)

Four people connected to Roswell High School spoke in support of Pilar Carrasco, a popular RHS vice principal, at the Roswell Independent School District’s board meeting Tuesday.

In mid-November, a rally organized by Roswell High School students — to express how much they missed Carrasco — drew the attention of a KRQE news crew, and resulted in a televised story in which students said he’d been placed on administrative leave.

During Tuesday’s meeting, RISD Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy said she appreciated the speakers’ comments. She could not confirm, in a follow-up interview, Carrasco’s status.

RISD school board members also had no comment at the meeting. Only board member Mona Kirk spoke, thanking the speakers for sharing and saying their “voices were heard and well-received.”

There’s been no official word on why, according to those who spoke at the meeting, Carrasco’s no longer at RHS.

In a statement to the Daily Record, Carrasco wrote, “Words can’t express my appreciation to the Roswell High community — and especially the students for the support that I received over this current situation. My family and I have felt all the love and prayers from the entire Coyote Nation.

“At this time, I feel the situation is in the hands of the appropriate leadership and I have all the confidence in the world that when they review the situation, they will make the appropriate decision. Right now, I want to focus on all the positive things happening at Roswell High and the quest of all of our students trying to accomplish something special this year. They forever have my heart and my support.”

Carrasco was thanked by one of the coaches during Tuesday’s school board meeting when the RHS football team, which recently won the state championship, was recognized.

“We have felt a huge loss since he has no longer been at our school,” Angel Meeks, assistant cheer coach, said of Carrasco. “He has been such a big advocate for the spirit program at our school. He takes time out of his day to come talk to us, to come encourage us.”

Renee Fits, a parent of a special education student at RHS, shared the “detrimental effects” that her child is experiencing in the absence of Carrasco, who she called an advocate for the special education program. She said her son has received support from Carrasco over the last two years. Fits also shared a story about how Carrasco helped a new autistic and previously homeschooled student by taking time outside of work to ensure the student’s transition to RHS was smooth.

Meeks described Carrasco as “somebody you can always go to” and said he has been available for the cheerleaders to share problems, whether originating at school or at home. She said Carrasco’s absence was a loss for the school spirit program and the school as a whole. Another story about his impact on school spirit: Fits said Carrasco waited in his truck with a Coyote flag at Second Street and Main Street to welcome the RHS Charlie’s Angels home from their national championship, and escort them to the school.

“And so I wanted you all, members of the board, to consider this,” Fits said. “I understand that mistakes were made and I don’t want to claim to know the whole story and the facts of everything in this matter. But I really want y’all to consider what this has done to the special education piece of Roswell High School. I know that there have been a lot of upheaval and vacancies in the special education department anyway — and that’s one person you can count on, was Mr. Carrasco as a family man, as a spirit man, as a special education man and just a knowledgeable man. He was always working in the best interest of our children and I really want to thank him for that and really let him know that that support is there.”

Kim Castro, Charlie’s Angels dance coach, said that though a few weeks have gone by, she wanted Carrasco to know he is supported, not forgotten and that students miss him. To the school board, Castro said those who came to speak in support of Carrasco “know him on a personal level where we just feel like he’s in touch with the students and with the different sports.”

Castro said she has been coaching at RHS, her alma mater, for 19 years and thought about the principals and different administrators over the years. She said she felt her dance team — which transitioned from an school activity to a sport in the last five years — did not get the same support as other sports. Castro said Carrasco attends the dance team’s practices occasionally and is interested in what they are doing.

“It’s just been a breath of fresh air to have an administrator that cares about every kid in every sport,” Castro said of Carrasco. “Whether anybody thinks dance and cheer is a sport is irrelevant to me. It’s an art — what I do is an art. Dance is an art. So that may be up for argument. It doesn’t really matter, but the fact is I feel like we were treated equal. I feel like I can go to the school and talk to him anytime I want to. He’s got an open door policy.”

Amelia Romero, an RHS cheerleader, said Carrasco made a “huge impact” at RHS by supporting the students in support of their education, attending and cheering at games and helping her personally.

“Me as a student — I’ve really seen the impact of him leaving,” Romero said. “Everyone has been sad or down and everyone just wants him back. And I really hope that you take it into consideration that the students and teachers really care for him, and he really took every single one of his students seriously and really loved us. And we truly miss him.

“So I hope you take this into consideration to give him his job back.”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.