Residents speak in support of Fort Worth Wyatt principal

The fate of the O.D. Wyatt High School principal remains in limbo as the school district investigates a Facebook post by a school counselor.


An investigation is underway at Fort Worth’s Wyatt High School after staff dressed up like students for a spirit day wearing saggy pants, teeth grills, hair bonnets, and, in one case, an ankle monitor.

A subsequent Facebook post from a counselor described the school on Seminary Drive as being in the “ghetto.”

Principal Howard Robinson hasn’t been seen on campus since the district announced an investigation, but residents lobbied the school board Tuesday to let him return, saying he’d been unfairly punished for the counselor’s post.

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School district representatives said they do not comment on personnel matters.

On May 10, Keli Pisano, a 12th grade counselor, posted photos of “dress like a student day.”

“If you haven’t been in a high school in the ghetto lately, this is 100% how our students dress,” Pisano wrote in her post. “I cannot recall having this much fun at work in FOREVER …”

A screenshot of the May 10 Facebook post by O.D. Wyatt High School Counselor Keli Pisano showing staff participating in “dress like a student day.” Courtesy

The post sparked backlash both for the way staff members dressed and for Pisano’s use of the word ghetto.

Wyatt High School representatives said in a May 11 statement on its Facebook page that the pictures were unprofessional and the school district had launched an investigation.

“The safety and well-being of our students and staff are of utmost importance to us, and appropriate measures will be taken based on the outcome of our investigation,” the statement said.

Pisano has been an advocate for every student she’s worked with throughout her career and treats them as if they were her own children, her lawyer Gianna Ortiz said in a statement to the Star-Telegram.

“If there is a problem with ‘stereotypes,’ then the district should look beyond a Facebook post,” Ortiz said, adding the post was a, “sincere celebration of her school community, to which she remains deeply devoted.”

Robinson is the first person at school in the morning, the last one to leave, and is a presence at school events and in the hallways, said Keisha Braziel, a Dunbar High School alumnus, who spoke at the meeting Tuesday.

“His not being present on campus is being felt greatly by the people who you are so concerned about their outcomes,” she said.

Robinson did not respond to a Facebook message and email requesting comment Wednesday.

A couple of speakers questioned why Robinson seemed to be getting punished while Pisano was not.

“She has previously made egregious statements to our student body telling them that they should be grateful that COVID saved them from flunking,” said Trinna Stidom, a member of the O.D. Wyatt alumni association.

Before sending a statement from her lawyer, Pisano wrote in a text message that Stidom had taken her words out of context.

“I told the kids to try and be positive during COVID,” Pisano said, adding she used the district’s decision to lower the passing grade as an example of something students could be positive about.

“That got turned into ‘be thankful for Covid.’ Clearly not my intention,” Pisano said.

Robert Wood, a friend of Pisano’s, said she has a “heart for people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.” She’s taken an annual collection from her church to give to an O.D. Wyatt staff fund that helps students buy prom tickets, graduation gowns, and other supplies, Wood said.

Robinson has been a teacher and administrator in the Fort Worth school district for 17 years, according to his biography on the district’s website. He received an award from the school district in May 2022 recognizing his years of service, according to a post on his Facebook page.

This story was originally published May 24, 2023 3:55 PM.


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