Monday, April 23, 2007


South teacher asked to leave campus

A South Albany High School teacher was asked to leave campus this week after allegedly making a threatening comment about Principal Chris Equinoa and mentioning the massacre at Virginia Tech.

A district investigation into the comments is a “personnel matter” and thus confidential, Maria Delapoer, director of human resources for Greater Albany Public Schools, said Friday.

Albany police are working on a report about the incident that led to the teacher’s removal but do not at this point think anything criminal occurred, said Capt. Eric Carter.

The comments under investigation allegedly were made by a first-year Spanish teacher, Lourdes Rios Sylvestre. Sylvestre, a full-time teacher, was hired at the start of the current school year. She does not have a listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.


Thursday morning, Principal Equinoa called Officer Ken Fandrem, the school resource officer, and said he had been the target of a threatening comment.

Carter said Equinoa told Fandrem the school would handle the incident internally but wanted the officer to be available if necessary.

Fandrem stayed in South’s main office area that morning while school officials spoke with Sylvestre. He did not formally escort her from the building but “made sure she got in her car and left,” Carter said.

“We learned afterwards that Wednesday afternoon, the teacher made comments to co-workers about wanting to kill Chris Equinoa,” Carter said. He said Sylvestre also was alleged to have said something about understanding “how a Virginia Tech-type situation happens.”

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