The principal of the Pedro Albizu Campos School in Ponce, Puerto Rico, has announced a plan to eliminate the mural of…Pedro Albizu Campos.
In a tense meeting with the local school board on September 24, school principal Luis Pérez Crespo announced his intention to paint over the mural of Don Pedro, and refused the school board’s demand for any re-consideration of this decision.
“It is better to ask forgiveness, than to ask for permission,” Mr. Crespo reportedly told the school board. “One day you’ll enter the school, and the mural will be gone.”
Since Crespo was appointed as principal only two months ago, in July 2015, the removal of the Albizu Campos mural is one of his first administrative decisions.
It is a strange decision.
The mural has proudly adorned the entrance to the Pedro Albizu Campos School for the past 25 years, and was painted by renowned artist Miguel Conesa Osuna.
In addition, the school itself is named after Pedro Albizu Campos. A mural of Don Pedro is the last thing that should be removed from the school.
Would Crespo remove a portrait of Luis Muñoz Marín from the Luis Muñoz Marín high school in Barranquitas, or the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation in San Juan?
Would he tear down the photos of John F. Kennedy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government?
There’s a Roberto Clemente Statue outside of Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente…maybe Crespo could yank that down, and see how far he gets.
The destruction of Don Pedro in the school that bears his name makes absolutely no sense…unless there is a political agenda behind it.
Since the Pedro Albizu Campos Intermediate School is a public school, politics is absolutely forbidden.
If Crespo removes the mural of Don Pedro, he must be fired immediately, for the corrupt and inadmissible introduction of politics into a public school.
The school board, or the local leadership, should file for an immediate injunction – a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) – to prohibit Crespo from touching that mural, until the legalities and community sentiment are all straightened out.
Here is what Crespo is really doing:
He knows that over the last five years, the Pedro Albizu Campos School lost 18% of its students and 33% of its teachers. He knows that many more schools will soon be closing in Puerto Rico.
Like a good little politician, Crespo wants to win Brownie points with the PPD and PNP, so that they don’t close his school – or if they do, so that they’ll re-assign him to another school. So Crespo takes a cheap shot, and destroys the mural of Don Pedro.
If he really cared about his students, if he were really serious about his job, he would be devoting himself to improving the reading and math scores at the Pedro Albizu Campos School, which currently stand at the bottom 20% of all middle schools in Puerto Rico.
Instead, Crespo wastes his valuable administrative time arguing with the school board, and playing politics with his office.
Teach your students, Crespo. Stop playing politics.
Leave the mural of Don Pedro alone.
If anyone wishes to call or visit Don Pedro’s school, to share your opinion about this, here is the information:
Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos School
Carretera 2 Marginal El Tuque #3145 Bo. El Tuque
Ponce, PR 00728