Faculty, parents seek to oust superintendent of CA School for Deaf in Fremont

FREMONT, Calif. (KGO) -- The State Schools Superintendent is in Fremont trying to address a long-simmer dispute over the head of the California School for the Deaf in Fremont.

A majority of faculty and staff want a new leader as fall classes start on Monday.

The situation at the school has probably reached the boiling point. Teachers and staff say their superintendent is an ineffective leader, and they're hoping the only person who can fire him, Tom Torlakson, will agree with them.

Faculty and staff have tried to deal with the issues for a year and they all focus on superintendent Sean Virnig, who has headed the school for five years. He's an alumnus and the school's first deaf superintendent.

However, teachers' union representative Sulghi Hong said through an interpreter Virnig doesn't communicate.

"Working or collaborating with staff, he hasn't shown that, with parents and families and community members. To make sure that our students have a quality education and an opportunity for them to learn, experience and thrive," Hong said through an interpreter.

Months ago, State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson didn't agree to replace Virnig after his office was given a huge binder filled with complaints.

"All of that was delivered to the CDE, and they made a decision to keep Dr. Virnig in his position. We find that unacceptable," Hong said.

Parents want Virnig to resign, too. Elvis Zornoza has four children enrolled at the school. He says the closing of an outreach office and poor teacher to student ratios have caused enrollment to drop.

"The first year Virnig arrived was five years ago, and we had 250 students in high school, and now we have 120. And that tells me something," Zornoza said.

Virnig referred our request for an interview to the state office of education. Eighty percent of the employees have handed him a vote of no confidence.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.