by Iram Arce
Last school year, chemistry teacher Ms. Melissa Espindola was one of the unfortunate dozen or so teachers to be adversely affected by one of the most devastating vandalism cases in TUSD history; however, she now thrives in a bigger classroom with more materials at her disposal.
Espindola can now be found happily teaching honors chemistry students in Room 166 instead of the library conference room.
“I’m so glad that I got this room full of lab stations and plenty of space for my students to move around,” she said. “It is so much better than that little crammed room where I was not allowed to do any experiments.”
Espindola, along with other science teachers, would not have made it without the support from fellow colleagues and peers.
Ms. Elaine Straub, Pueblo’s forensic science teacher, said, “I cannot describe how delighted I am to be back in my room after it was utterly trashed.”
Last December and January, more than a dozen classrooms were severely vandalized—either through fire or water damage. Most science teachers were relocated for the remainder of the school year—an entire semester.
“Even though there is still some odd ends [that need to be addressed] such as not having my equipment replaced, other science teachers are still affected by the vandalism,” she said.
Teachers such as Espindola and new addition to the Pueblo family, Dr. Brian Engel, do not have water installed in their classrooms, although they remain hopeful that this situation is very temporary.
Despite being ecstatic to be back in her classroom, Espindola is dumbfounded by the thought that the window security barriers have not been installed yet, a project that she said should have been completed by now.
“It will be an embarrassment if my class were to be vandalized again because of this [lack of security barriers],” she said. “It’s like they are waiting for a vandalism to happen again; I don’t know why this issue is not a priority.”
Despite the inconveniences of teachers and students—as well as the sacrifices both groups had to endure—the Pueblo spirit remains fervid and fortified.