PALMDALE (CBSLA) — Emotionally charged parents packed the Summerwind Elementary School gymnasium in Palmdale Tuesday night demanding answers after photos were posted on social media showing four Summerwind teachers smiling as one of them is holding a noose.
According to a Facebook page titled Gabriel’s Justice, the photo may have been taken to celebrate the guilty verdicts and the death sentence.
The superintendent confirmed the photo was taken by the principal of the elementary school.
The teachers and the principal are all suspended with pay and the district’s special counsel is overseeing the investigation.
The photo, which surfaced publicly last week without any explanation, sent shockwaves through the school’s community raising questions.
The teacher on the left in the photo is Jennifer Garcia who testified in the Gabriel Fernandez trial, one of the most horrific child abuse cases in the country’s history.
Garcia was Fernandez’s first-grade teacher and told authorities when she first saw signs of abuse before his tragic murder.
His mother and his mother’s boyfriend were convicted in the killing.
According to the district, one theory is that the photo was snapped on the anniversary of their conviction.
“There’s no way to celebrate that, not by holding a noose,” said parent Chris Castillo.
Gabriel had been tortured over a period of years and was killed at 8-years-old.
Gabriel’s mother was sentenced to life in prison and her boyfriend received the death penalty.