Clark High School principal assigned home with paid leave after students, parents raise concerns

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Clark High School Principal Antonio Rael has been assigned home with paid leave in the wake of concerns raised by several students and parents at the school.

Rael started working in the Clark County School District in 2002 and was originally a teacher. He moved up through the district, eventually becoming an associate superintendent of CCSD in 2017, before being reassigned as principal of Clark High School in 2019.

School families received the following message this evening:

Good evening Ed W. Clark High School families,

We are sending this message to inform you that School Associate Superintendent Sam Scavella will be supporting the students and staff at Clark High School for the remainder of the semester in the absence of Principal Antonio Rael and Assistant Principal Christina Bentheim. New leadership will be selected for Clark High School at the beginning of next semester following the CCSD selection process.

Please know that we are unable to discuss individual employee matters, but want to make you aware of the leadership changes occurring at your child’s school.

Thank you.

Earlier today, some Clark High School parents and students expressed their unhappiness with a letter issued by Rael, which created more division at the school. He was reacting to criticisms and complaints brought up at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Many said he’s undermining the magnet program, but Rael argued he’s trying to raise the standard.

8 News Now spoke with many students off camera Tuesday about the letter. They told us they’re fearful of retaliation if they do speak publicly but said the letter was the topic of discussion on campus.

“People at this point are somewhat scared to speak out, even though they want to,” revealed parent Tina Sanchez. She bravely raised her concerns. “I was actually really upset by the letter … this is a really big deal, don’t try to downplay it.”

Rael stated he “perhaps” made changes too quickly by trying to advance academic opportunities for all students. But some parents find the letter intimidating.

“I feel like it was an attempt to throw out all the minority cards that you could in order to read between the lines. ‘Don’t come at me because I’m going to play those cards,'” said Sanchez.

Rael hopes each and every slanderous claim is fully investigated, even stating, “I stand with doors open and nothing to hide.”

“He’s very charming, but then nothing happens after it,” noted Sanchez. “There’s no changes.”

Despite the accusations, some parents supported Rael and his policies.

“I think it’s about time he did communicate what he’s trying to do,” expressed one parent. “I just think he wanted too long to do it.”

The dividing issue continued to raise tensions on campus.

“Sometimes, the way you deliver a message is just as important, if not more important than the message itself,” said Sanchez.

Some Clark High School parents told 8 News Now they planned to address the Board of Trustees again at this Thursday’s meeting.

The Teacher’s Union said it would monitor the situation and a meeting with Rael was said to be a possibility soon.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.