PALMDALE (CBSLA.com) — An assistant superintendent who worked for the Palmdale School District has been fired due to child abuse allegations as well as her role in a dog fighting ring, authorities said.
Pauline Winbush has 30 days to appeal the school board’s unanimous decision.
“The public should know that the board and district staff has acted professionally and diligently throughout this entire matter,” stated Raul Maldonado, superintendent of schools, in a statement about the firing.
The district placed Winbush on paid administrative leave Dec. 1, and then voted Tuesday to terminate her employment agreement.
KCAL9’s Rachel Kim says Winbush is awaiting trial on dog fighting, animal cruelty and child-abuse charges. The school board said it fired Winbush after its own investigation.
Winbush and her boyfriend were each charged with four felony counts of dog fighting, 17 felony counts of cruelty to an animal, one felony count of child abuse and several Los Angeles County health and safety code violations, including unsanitary conditions after a raid at their Lancaster home.
Investigators said among the unsanitary conditions, they found nearly 20 injured and malnourished pit bulls, several coops filled with dead and decomposing pigeons, two containers of dead mice and a dead puppy in a trash can. They also said they found dog fighting and dog breeding materials.
Kim spoke to parents who were surprised by the allegations against Winbush.
“For her to have that position and to be involved in that … when I heard it, I was pretty surprised,” parent Adrian Serrano said.
“Getting caught for things like that, how do you trust people that are supposed to be here to serve you and the community?” parent Ashley Hawkins asked.
Kim also spoke with Kevin Williams, Winbush’s boyfriend, outside their Lancaster home. He declined an on-camera interview but said the charges were absolutely not true, that they’re devastated and that they’ll have their day in court.
According to the district’s website, Winbush was a teacher in the LA Unified School District in 1989. In 1992, she joined the Palmdale School District as an elementary teacher. She then served as an assistant principal, principal and director of human resources before becoming the assistant superintendent of human resources, the job she no longer has.
“I think that was right, the right thing to do,” Serrano said.