HOUSTON -- Parents and students at Sharpstown High got quite the surprise when the principal of the school was arrested on school grounds.
Rob Gasparello, 58, was taken into custody Thursday afternoon on a misdemeanor charge of failure to report child abuse.
According to HISD, other school employees could also be facing charges related to the investigation.
The president of Houston Federation of Teachers union believes police are on a witch hunt.
“This is not a principal we normally get along with, but he did the right thing. It wasn’t a credible charge,” explained Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers.
Fallon calls the charge against Gasparello “ridiculous”.
She says it was a parent who claimed that a student at the school had been abused by a teacher.
According to Fallon, Gasparello notified the district and teamed up with them to do their own investigation. Fallon says Gasparello found the allegation to be “frivolous”.
“Generally, we don’t find principals that support our teachers. We are kind of grateful this guy looked at it objectively and said there’s no merit,” said Fallon. “It is very frustrating because if it’s a frivolous charge, why would you report it?”
Gasparello’s arrest has fueled a debate in the Sharpstown community over whether he should’ve told authorities anyway.
“A lot of parents are like, man, they had trust in him with their kids, and this guy didn’t report one child. Imagine all the children we don’t know about,” said Randy Lopez, a graduate of Sharpstown High School.
Authorities have not released the specifics of the abuse allegation.
KHOU legal expert Gerald Treece says, in most cases, adults in power positions like teachers, principals and nurses, have a legal duty to report suspected abuse.
The district says Sharpstown High will have additional administrators and counselors on site on Friday.