SAN JOSE (KPIX) – The war of words inside Alum Rock Unified’s school board meetings has gotten so bad, one member can’t even attend them anymore.
There are calls for beefed up security after the Superintendent said she was threatened.
At a courtroom hearing Tuesday morning, it was the first time Superintendent Hilaria Bauer and school board member Khanh Tran have been in the same room since she filed a temporary restraining order against him, last month.
Bauer described it was a tense moment.
“Extremely uncomfortable, and I think that is exactly the kind of thing that we need to get rid of,” she said.
The Superintendent said she felt the wrath of Tran during a recent closed door meeting, and wrote in the restraining order that “Tran threatened to ‘kick my a**’ at least three times.”
“Tran did threaten that I should face a firing squad,” said Bauer. She says she fears for her safety.
“Absolutely. I would not be here talking to you, and I will never use any kind of forum if this had not been the last recourse,” said Bauer.
“Why would I be a threat? Do I look like a threat?” asked Tran who has maintained all along the the superintendent misheard him. He said he was making a general reference to anyone caught stealing money from the District.
“I made the comment, ‘Anyone break the law, steal money, I kick their ass out of the district,’ then she turned it into a circus,” said Tran.
Another hearing was scheduled for next October 29th, when both sides will have more time to present witnesses. Until then, the judge upheld the restraining order, which means Tran cannot come within 100 yards of Bauer.
So, during the next board meeting, Tran will actually have to phone in. If he shows up in person, Bauer’s attorney Greg Rolen says they will call police.
“I think it’s an act of judicial courage for Her Honor to grant the temporary restraining order against a seated board member,” said Rolen. “It’s almost unprecedented. I’m really hoping Trustee Tran takes this opportunity to reevaluate his conduct.”
Tran says the restraining order is an attempt to distract from a state investigation launched last month by the Fair Political Practices Commission into wrongdoing by the Superintendent herself.
“Is that embarrassing for the district? You know, it’s embarrassing when they cuff her and send her to jail, right? But to be honest with you, I’m a trustee, I don’t want to create any more drama or circus as needed,” said Tran.
Parent Olivia Ortiz attended Tuesday’s hearing and says Trustee Tran openly disparages parents during board meetings.
“He has no respect at all for anything, not for the community,” said Ortiz. “So I don’t believe it was a misunderstanding. I don’t.”