Investigation complete in Palmdale school noose photo incident

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The investigation into the Palmdale teachers photographed smiling and pointing at a noose is complete.

A noose was found in the school yard of Summerwind Elementary. The community revolted as four white teachers posed with it for a snapshot taken by the principal Linda Brandts in May.

The findings of an independent investigation are in an official report.

The findings stated that the image displayed a hostile work environment, that it traumatized the community, that racial animus was not a motivating factor, and that the principal's emailing it to staff suggests ignorance and lack of leadership

Principal Brandts has resigned but community members are raising new questions.

"I believe maybe that they didn't have racial hatred in their heart...but that there's a racial intent," said Miguel Coronado of Ages of Changes.

Among the teachers on paid administrative leave is Jennifer Garcia, a whistle blower in defense of first grader Gabriel Fernandez. She testified in the torture murder case against the boy's killer Isauro Aguirre.

The fate of the teachers has yet to be determined.

"We will abide by the law and the law will tell us what to do next with the individuals," said Raul Maldonado Superintendent of the Palmdale School District.

Maldonado said he had no recommendation, that he will follow the advice of legal counsel and that he wants whatever will heal this community.
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