When Nancy Tyler found out a teacher at her daughter's charter school had been arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student, she was — understandably — concerned. Though the teacher didn't work at her daughter's campus, Tyler wrote in an email to Miami Arts Charter leaders that the entire school community should have been informed of the arrest.
The response from Alfredo de la Rosa, the school's principal
Then he signed off with a poop emoji.
"I can't believe a principal wrote that," says Tyler, whose email also asked about the rumored departure of one of her daughter's teachers. "And, you know, I was just in shock."
De la Rosa, who opened Miami Arts Charter in 2009 after years as a Miami-Dade County public schoolteacher, tells New Times the poop emoji was "not intentional" and he didn't know how it made its way into the email. He says the school sent a statement about the arrest of Valeria Costadoni to the Wynwood campus, where she taught language arts, but it wasn't necessary to send one to the Homestead campus.
"It's not the same community, not the same school," he says.
But Tyler says that's not the point. She wanted to know how the school had harbored "a predator" who, according to a police report, had a two-year relationship with a now 17-year-old boy, with the two having sex at the Wynwood campus. She also wanted to know the school's plan of action.
"We didn't see anything about how he addressed this," Tyler says. "That's important to me as a parent."
Incredulous, she shared the email on social media and contacted the charter school's board to complain. By Wednesday afternoon, de la Rosa had emailed parents a statement about the exchange, saying that "new communication channels" are being put in place to ensure future conversations are respectful.
But he also claimed Tyler's email was only the latest in a long history between the two, in which "the language directed at me was unjustifiably provocative and bad-tempered" at times. (Tyler says she only asked about teacher turnover, starting a PTSA, and a fence that was supposed to be built at the school.)
"In retrospect," de la Rosa wrote, "I concede that the tone and content of my response to a recent parent email was not an effective way to react or communicate."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Here's the full exchange: