Petition: Justice for Trafficked GISD Teachers!
We, the undersigned teachers, students, parents, alumni, people of faith, business leaders, community leaders and community members stand with the exploited and trafficked Garland Independent School District (ISD) teachers in their quest for justice.
From 2005-2012, almost 300 foreign-hire teachers, 70 of whom Filipinos, were recruited by the Garland ISD. Many of them are victims of labor trafficking as exemplified by:
- Forced to pay in excess of $15,000 in recruitment and legal processing fees
- False promise of green cards
- There were no jobs available upon arrival in North Texas as required by H1B visa policy resulting to teachers having to apply for jobs for several months
- Teachers forced to work in part-time positions for over a year in violation of the job contract. Some were not employed at all, forcing them to look for employment outside GISD or go back to their home country
- 8-12 teachers forced to live in Victor Leos’ stepson Paul Reudiger’s 3-bedroom house in Garland charged for $2,400/month, which was excessively higher than the market rate
In November 2017, Garland ISD Human Resource Executive Director Victor Leos was convicted guilty of visa fraud and was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison.
Due to the visa fraud, after 13 years of service for GISD, some of the teachers are now suffering from revocation of immigration status, unemployment, financial hardship, family separation, and health problems. Others who have attained green cards are also at risk of having their immigration status revoked.
They are teachers who have dedicated their lives to educating the children of our beloved community. Despite their contributions to the school district and to the Garland community, there has been no collective dialogue between the teachers and GISD regarding concrete support and assistance.
We demand that Garland Independent School District:
1. Publicly acknowledge that the affected teachers are victims of crime and had no participation in the visa fraud.
2. Dialogue with the affected teachers collectively regarding concrete support and assistance
3. Fully disclose the hiring policy of foreign teachers, including financial considerations and decisions.
The exploited and victimized teachers deserve dignity, respect and justice. And as members of the community, we all deserve a school district that treats its teachers with fairness and equality and upholds integrity and truth.
Justice for Trafficked Garland ISD Teachers!