With a 4-2 vote by the board of trustees, former Veterans Memorial High School Coach Diana Lerma’s resignation from Mission CISD was rescinded at a special board meeting May 31. Minnie Rogers and Petra Ramirez were the dissenting votes.
The rescission is contingent upon Lerma’s execution of the amendment to her settlement agreement that was created in October 2015, however the amendments are not open to the public until after the paperwork is signed. District attorney David Hansen said he doesn’t know how long it will take for the documents to be signed and information to become public.
Lerma, who was the former head volleyball coach at Veterans Memorial High School, was reassigned to a teaching position at Alton Memorial Jr. High in October 2015. Shortly after, she was put on administrative leave.
According to the settlement agreement, which put her on administrative leave, the former coach’s contract with Mission CISD was to expire June 2, 2016. Two days before the expiration, the board, with the newly elected members, approved Lerma’s petition for rescission, even though the settlement agreement states that the letter of resignation was “irrevocable.”
Superintendent Ricardo Lopez said Lerma will return to her duties as a teacher at Alton Memorial Jr. High.
Lerma was suspended twice as a coach at VMHS the two months before she was reassigned. Before the board voted, trustee Petra Ramirez stated why she was voting against the motion.
“I took an oath in the best interest of our school district to abide federal and local laws and according to the facts that were presented to us, my decision is not based on personal interest, rather the best interest of our students and our district,” she said to those present at the board meeting. “Allowing the rescission of the resignation that was surrounded by allegations and intimidations of students, breaking UIL rules, transportation laws is not in my decision, and I don’t feel this is the right decision. To me, it sets precedence that this behavior would be tolerated and (that is) a dangerous practice.”
Lerma is also the sister of board member Dr. Sonia Treviño, who was part of the executive session discussion on the rescission. The district attorney said he would not answer questions about the meeting until after speaking with the Mission CISD spokesperson Craig Verley.
A group of parents attended the meeting in opposition of the rescission. Maribel DeLuna’s daughter, who is a junior, played on the Mission Veterans volleyball team under Lerma. Last September, parents of the VMHS volleyball team complained of a lack of professionalism toward the students, among other concerns.
“We’re here today because we didn’t want her working with the kids,” DeLuna said. “We were already going on grievance 3 when we found out she was transferred. I let it go thinking she is no longer going to be with my child, then come to find out that they gave her administrative leave, now this.”
DeLuna attempted to speak up during the board meeting before the board moved the discussion to executive session, but as per meeting protocol, she was unable to speak on behalf of the parents.
“There’s just so much with Mission. It’s a pity that my daughter comes here,” DeLuna said. “I have two other kids that will not attend Mission. If this coach ends up at Veterans, my daughter will not be going to school there, or she will not be in volleyball because she doesn’t want to be close to (Lerma.)”