BREAKING: ‘Safety and security’ reasons cited in chief’s demotion; Naranjo named interim

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SBCISD Interim Police Chief Antonio Naranjo

SBCISD Interim Police Chief Antonio Naranjo

San Benito CISD Interim Superintendent Dr. Ismael Cantu cited “safety and security” reasons on Monday for reassigning school district Police Chief Santiago R. Garcia to a police officer on Friday, Jan. 17.

Celia Longoria, SBCISD Community Relations Director, released Cantu’s official statement via email Monday morning. In the statement, Cantu named longtime school district police officer Antonio Naranjo as Garcia’s temporary replacement.

“On Jan. 17, 2013 (sic), Police Chief S.R. Garcia was reassigned to the rank of police officer and officer Antonio Naranjo was named as Interim Police Chief for SBCISD,” Cantu said in the statement.

The interim superintendent went on to cite the staff and student body’s “safety and security” regarding the decision to demote Garcia in rank but did not offer further details.

“The safety and security of the children and staff of San Benito CISD is paramount and will not be compromised,” Cantu said. “Administrative action relative to compliance with safety and security directives given warranted immediate action. The Board of Trustees was informed of the reassignment via hand delivered mail on the same day the action was taken.”

Garcia, who said the district will continue to pay his $60,000 annual salary despite the reassignment, alleged that the move was an act of political retaliation for attending the recent campaign announcement party of board member Oscar Medrano. The now-former chief further alleged that the letter which Cantu gave him informing Garcia of the reassignment was initially penned by the interim superintendent’s predecessor, Alfonso Obregón, in November. Garcia said Obregón refused to sign the reassignment letter because the latter “disagreed.”

Attempts to reach Obregón for comment have been unsuccessful.

When asked for comment on Friday, Cantu referred to the issue as a personnel matter and would not confirm that the reassignment had taken place.

Medrano said he had only recently been made aware of Garcia’s demotion when the San Benito News contacted him late Friday and added that he planned to call Cantu to inquire about the matter.

As reported via on Jan. 17 and in the Jan. 19 print edition of the News, Garcia has long been embroiled in controversy that has included allegations of sexual harassment, favoritism and blocking the investigation into a number of district employees.

“I’ve been cleared of all allegations,” Garcia said on Friday, referring to internal inquiries in which the findings of multiple levels of grievances have dismissed the accusations levied against him. “There are no grounds to terminate me. I suspect this is in retaliation for attending Medrano’s announcement, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens after the elections.”

Pick up a copy of the Jan. 22 edition of the San Benito News, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here, for an update on this story.

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    • ruben Gonzalez on January 23, 2014 at 6:36 am
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    I know Tony he was an a great fighter and is a good police officer. He will make a wonderful chief. I wish he luck!

    • KK Watcher on January 22, 2014 at 9:50 am
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    Safety and security should be the top concern at every campus. Who’s enjoying their Krispy Kremes a little too much? and why are these people being walked all over by Mr. Aguilera? I hope that Mr. Navarro can put a stop to instances such as these mentioned prior to this post. Central office or any campus is not your typical watering hole to shoot the breeze or handle your political affairs, it is a place of business and higher learning, it should be conducted as such. Other wise, the safety and well being of all children in the district is simply a joke just like the board.

    • CC Watcher on January 22, 2014 at 7:45 am
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    Oh, just for the sake of comment. Allowing Chuy Aguilera onto any campus without checking in or being challenged is a “safety and security” risk!

    • CC Watcher on January 22, 2014 at 7:44 am
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    In conversation with various employees with SBCISD, I found out that Chuy Aguilera walks onto campus’s without having to check in with the office or is even challenged by SBCISD Police or security? Why is that? Who is he to just do what he wants? Just because his daughter is a board member? Obviously this “lack of common sense or respect” doesn’t have that respect or dignity for his daughter? That explains the reasoning behind his daughter’s lack of common sense and respect for others. All about power for the Aguilera’s!

    • Degrading on January 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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    No need for degrading comments here on SBN webpage. Whether they are true or not, no need for that here.

    Degrading > Truth

    1. Dignity > Sarcasm

      You can share opinions, you can even be a little aggressive, and you can definitely have a sense humor when commenting, but the moment we recognize your remarks as being abusive, you jeopardize such privileges. Sockpuppeting, “Degrading,” is also frowned upon. Show me you’re capable of commenting without attacking someone’s personal life, or I’ll show your comments the way to our deleted messages folder.

    • homework on January 21, 2014 at 11:33 am
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    You did your homework. Nice comments and questions.

    • truth and justice for all on January 21, 2014 at 11:27 am
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    We’re all here with the interest of the children at heart. We seem to be forgetting or failing to mention the riches that can be gotten by virtue of the position.

    • CC Watcher on January 21, 2014 at 10:12 am
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    Oh, did this Naranjo guy have rank within the school district police department? What are his credentials? Who is he related too or does he bow too of the two being Gonzalez or Aguilera?

    • CC Watcher on January 21, 2014 at 10:11 am
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    Dr. Cantu, we know that you took a cut in pay compared to other puppet who just left but aren’t you supposed to be independent? It appears to me that the four uneducated and lack of common sense board members wanted a puppet and got one? Its no wonder that they didn’t take the advice of the outgoing puppet to select Celeste as interim? These four stated that they demoted Mr. Garcia because of quote, “safety and security” of the school district? So, why wasn’t he suspended with pay until these so-called complaints were properly investigated and have some kind of outcome? If Mr. Garcia is such a “safety and security” risk? Then why is he still working at a school? I don’t understand the logic on that one? It does have an appearance of political revenge since Mr. Garcia was Mr. Limon’s choice as police chief.
    I can see that Gonzalez is a power hungry micro manager and Aguilera is just like her dad, “stupid.” But Hector, what is your excuse? As for the other lady, no comment, she just dumb!

    • Enough on January 21, 2014 at 9:20 am
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    Is this interim police chief going to make the same as the former police chief? We are becoming a district of “Interims”!!! We are paying for 2 superintendents, now 2 police chiefs and soon, 2 head coaches/ athletic directors I bet.
    Who is next? Do we really have the money to continue to pay for 2 of every top job just so Yliana can get what she wants?
    Wake up people!!!!

    • Daisy on January 20, 2014 at 7:25 pm
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    Please, please some qualified person run for school board! 4 board members continue to waste our children’s money. Very disappointed in Dr. Cantu, he is known as a man of good character but his following mrs board president orders are disappointing… All for $500 a day.. Very sad.

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