An physical education teacher accused by some parents of sexual misconduct has not been on campus since Monday, May 14, and has been replaced by a substitute teacher.
The PE teacher, Roman Cisneros, has been moved to the so-called "rubber room," a reassignment center at LAUSD headquarters downtown, according to an ERHS staff member who spoke to Patch on condition of anonymity. Cisneros is scheduled to retire in July, according to ERHS Principal Salvador Velasco, and has not been charged with any crime.
The ERHS staff member’s account of the PE teacher’s absence from campus confirmed a tip e-mailed to Patch Thursday evening by someone who claimed to be an LAUSD substitute teacher.
Patch called LAUSD District 4 Director Annick Draghi for official confirmation but was told that she had “no comments at this time” and that she would get back to Patch shortly.
At about 2 p.m. on Friday, Patch received a phone call from an official at the LAUSD Office of Communications, Gayle Collard Terry, who said that Draghi had referred the query to her.
“All I can tell you is that personnel matters are confidential,” Terry said. Calls to ERHS Principal Salvador Velasco went unanswered.
On May 9, Draghi was part of an LAUSD-moderated forum at which several parents complained that Cisneros, a former dean of students, allegedly indulged in inappropriate behavior with ERHS students, including asking them to call him “papi chulo,” a Spanish term with sexual connotations that roughly translates as "hot daddy." Cisneros has played small roles in several Hollywood films, most famously in the 1983 gangster movie Scarface, starring Al Pacino.
Velasco told parents at the May 9 meeting that he had not received a single complaint about Cisneros from any parent or student—officially or informally, and that if he receives any complaints, it will be his top priority to investigate them. Cisneros was not present at the meeting, and nothing said at the meeting suggested that LAUSD has investigated or sanctioned him in any way.
The LAUSD-moderated forum had been called in the wake of an ERHS coach’s dismissal in February following a series of conflicts that he had with Cisneros over the use of the school’s weight room. Click here to read the coach's account of those conflicts. Patch has been unable to obtain Cisnero's version of the conflict. Principal Velasco replied to Patch's request for an interview with Cisneros last week by saying that the PE teacher is not talking to the media.
The coach, Steven Jovanelly, was briefly detained by school police for trespassing after he visited the campus to distribute copies of a letter, drawing attention to what he believed was his unfair dismissal. Jovanelly's dismissal sparked protests by scores of students on May 8 and May 9.