Leader of Guatemala US-FL Chamber of Commerce asks Chris Patricca to resign, governor’s office could investigate

Reporter: Taylor Petras, Gail Levy Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:

The Lee County School Board will be asking the governor’s office to look into a systemic abuse of position regarding Patricca. The motion passed at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

The Guatemala U.S. Florida Chamber of Commerce is the latest to demand a resignation from Lee County School Board member Chris Patricca.

Patricca has come under fire for making comments about Guatemalan students.

“The biggest challenge principals have with students from Guatemala is getting them out of the bathroom,” she said in a video posted to YouTube last month. “They’ve never seen running water before. They go in there, turn the faucet on and flush the toilet and are fascinated by plumbing.”

Dozens of people have asked for Patricca to step down due to these comments. However, she admitted on Tuesday that she will be staying put. “I also understand edac’s request for me to step down. I did consider request but it’s not the best course of action,” she said. “Doing so would mean I’m willing to walk away from difficult issues.”

Mario Juarez, president and CEO of the Guatemala U.S. Florida Chamber of Commerce, wrote a letter to Lee County School District Superintendent Ken Savage asking for Patricca to step down.

Juarez has two students in the Lee County School District.

“To me it was kind of disturbing, because the way she express it, it seems like it’s kind of like bully, making fun of these kids,” said Juarez, who came to the U.S. when he was 15 years old.

He called Patricca’s comments “disturbing.”

“These are the people we appoint to represent us as parents,” Juarez said.

Juarez’s demand that Patricca quit comes on the heels of the school district’s equity and diversity advisory committee’s unanimous vote to condemn her comments and recommend her resignation.

Patricca apologized for her comments during the last board meeting, but Juarez isn’t buying it.

“She kind of apologized but for me, it was not a true full apology,” Juarez said.

Patricca declined to comment about the letter earlier in the day because she said she would be commenting on it during the school board meeting.

During that board meeting, discussions were, at times, heated. There was back and forth between board members that lasted for more than an hour. Ultimately, the board voted, four to two, to ask the governor’s office to look into a systemic abuse of position.

Now, the school board’s attorney will draft a letter to the governor. Then, it is up to Governor Ron DeSantis on what the next step will be. The governor is the only person who can force a school board member to step down.

Read Juarez’s letter below or click on the link:



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