A handful of students and parents at Sharpstown High rallied outside the school Friday showing support for their principal, Robert Gasparello.
"It doesn't add up to me," rally organizer and parent Louis Morris said. "Something just doesn't fit because this doesn't sound like Mr. Gasparello."
Gasparello was arrested Thursday and charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse. According to Harris County prosecutors, Gasparello was informed of three separate allegations of child abuse involving his students and did not report them to authorities.
One of those cases involved a teen girl who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by someone off campus. The other two; however, involve two teen boys who claimed to have told school administrators their Spanish teacher, Ysidoro Rosales-Motola, inappropriately touched them during after-school tutoring. A third teen boy has also came forward with similar accusations against Rosales-Motola but Gasparello is not believed to have known about that case.
"(Parents and students) will support and stand behind Mr. Gasparello," parent Louis Morris said. "Because they've seen what he has done in the three years time he has been here. Some parents are talking about taking their kids out (of Sharpstown High School) not because of what happened but because of him leaving."
According to HISD officials, Gasparello was hired in 2009 as part of the district's Apollo 20 initiative, a program designed to help underperforming schools. Since then, Gasparello has been widely credited with raising test scores and improving dropout rates.
"If it wasn't for him, most of us would be dropouts including me," sophomore Jose Melendez said at the rally.
Gasparello has been placed on paid leave along with two assistant principals, who were also charged with one count each of failing to report child abuse.
Meanwhile, the alleged abuser, Ysidoro Rosales-Motola, remains wanted on two counts of improper relationship with a student and one count of indecency with a child.