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Former El Paso Principal Resigns in Wake of Cheating Scandal

Guest blog post by Jaclyn Zubrzycki @jzubrzycki

Jesus Chavez, who was principal of Bowie High School during the cheating schemes in El Paso that led to the imprisonment of Lorenzo Garcia, has resigned.

Students at Bowie High School and other El Paso schools were encouraged to drop out of school so they would not take the state's high-stakes test. Though Bowie was the site of most of these pushouts, Chavez was still employed by the district. He was moved to an administrative role last spring, and announced his resignation yesterday, the El Paso Times reports. He did not give the El Paso Times a reason for his resignation.

The resignation comes after the Texas Education Agency said the district needed to discipline others who were involved in the fraud. The Associated Press reported that as of earlier this month, the district had not disciplined anyone involved in the scandal, claiming the FBI had asked it to hold off until the investigation was over. From the AP earlier this month:

FBI spokesman in El Paso Michael Martinez said the federal agency never instructed the district not to investigate or punish those involved in the scheme.

"I will not debate if it happened or not," said [Texas Education Commissioner Michael] Williams regarding the possibility that the FBI might have requested inaction by the district. "They said they were cuffed; now they have been uncuffed. I want to see action."

More resignations or turnover in El Paso are likely. The district currently has a state-assigned monitor, but may be subject to more dramatic actions from the state education agency. Garcia was the first superintendent nationwide to be imprisoned for this kind of data fraud.

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