More bad judgment

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By Optic Editorial Board

The saga of LeeEtte and Jay Quintana continues, only this time it’s taking place in Mora, where Mrs. Quintana now works as a principal. There, at Mora Elementary School, she brought her husband, an accused child  sex offender, on campus for an after-school activity. Not surprisingly, the backlash has been severe.

One parent in particular — though certainly not the only parent concerned about Jay Quintana’s presence on campus — told LeeEtte Quintana in a letter that her decision to bring him around is a reason to “seriously question your character and professional reputation.”

Those words came from Michael Aragon, a parent as well as defense attorney. His wife was a sponsor of the school event and LeeEtte Quintana had been invited to give a presentation on chemistry. She did so, with the assistance of her husband — either as a blatant act of defiance or with ridiculous naivete that anyone would take issue with it.

Jay Quintana, a teacher and coach at Robertson High School in Las Vegas for more than two decades, is awaiting trial on multiple sex charges stemming from allegations that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of his students. LeeEtte Quintana, a former administrator for the Las Vegas City School District, stood by her husband though the initial allegations, then through his departure as a teacher and even when multiple criminal felony charges were leveled against him. At one point she even used her position to garner support for him.

Before his arrest in November 2009, LeeEtte Quintana circulated a petition in support of her husband, in an effort to get her subordinates to sign it. She was associate superintendent at the time. The petition went nowhere, but as far as we know, LeeEtte Quintana was never disciplined for such inappropriate professional behavior.

A little more than a year later, Mrs. Quintana was passed over for consideration as interim superintendent, and it upset her enough to publicly criticize the school board. After Richard Romero had resigned under pressure as superintendent, Quintana said she had been running the district “at the direct request of the board” for a month or so, and when the board decided to hire Sheryl McNellis-Martinez as interim superintendent, Quintana felt slighted. “I have not been treated with the dignity and respect that I deserve,” she said in an Optic interview. “I feel that I was disrespected by the board.” The reason, she maintained, was because she was married to Jay Quintana.

Of course, if Quintana expects anyone to seriously consider her “unconnected” to her husband and his  criminal case, she shouldn’t do things like circulating a petition in support of her husband. In her position at the time, that was wrong and she must recognize that.

Now she has even more explaining to do. Now she’s bringing an accused child sex offender to school functions as if there’s nothing wrong with that.

Let’s see if we can spell out exactly what is wrong with that: Even if Jay Quintana is innocent of all the charges against him, as long as his criminal case is pending, parents will not want him near their children. Having him around will run counter to the notion that keeping kids safe from predators is a priority among school officials.

Once again, LeeEtte Quintana showed poor judgment in bringing her husband on campus to interact with children. Mora’s parents are completely justified in keeping the pressure on their school officials to do something about this bad behavior, and Superintendent Thomas Garcia should take the appropriate disciplinary action to ensure it won’t happen again.