Accusations of racism and defamation are coming out of the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto. It all stems from a letter sent to the district naming several employees who the letter-writer claims are undocumented.
Brothers Roberto and Antonio Cuellar both serve as maintenance workers for the Ravenswood City School District. The brothers were shocked when they found out they were named in the letter sent to the district's human resources department, claiming the Cuellars are among several district employees who are undocumented.
The letter is signed by someone claiming to be named Karen Smith and post marked from San Francisco with no return address. The writer also said the letter is being sent to immigration agents.
As it turns out, Roberto and Antonio are both American citizens.
Ravenswood District Superintendent Dr. Gloria Hernandez-Goff said she knows no one named Karen Smith in the district, and believes the letter is the latest move in an effort to oust her and several school board members who support her. All are minorities.
Hernandez-Goff said there is a faction of residents who tried unsuccessfully to secede from the district, where property values are low and are now attempting to stack the board.
Roberto said it is more than an insult, it's defamation. The brothers also find it deplorable that they now have to defend their name and their honor.
"This kind of communication is intentionally mean spirited," Hernandez-Goff said. "Makes me very angry."
The superintendent said all her employees pass extensive background checks, including finger printing, just like any other government worker with annual audits.
"This letter is harassment and intimidation," Hernandez-Goff said.
NBC Bay Area was unable to reach anyone from the group attempting to replace the superintendent, but there have been some anti-district protests throughout the school year at Ravenswood. There are more protests scheduled for Election Day.