Alvin ISD was preparing to name school after principal who died of COVID before widow told it not to

Courtney Carpenter Image
Thursday, June 16, 2022
Alvin ISD naming school after principal 'a slap in the face,' widow says
LeRoy Castro was a committed Alvin ISD educator up until his last days before COVID claimed his life. His widow is now in opposition to a district plan to name a school after her late husband.

BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- LeRoy Castro was the Alvin Junior High School principal when he passed away from COVID in November 2020.

In December 2020, the Alvin ISD Board of Trustees voted to name a new school in his honor.

A year and a half later, his widow, Amy Castro, is asking the district not to move forward with that plan.

She went before the board of trustees with her request on Tuesday evening.

"I am Amy Castro, I am LeRoy's widow, and I am here to notify the board that our family does not permit the district to use LeRoy's name, likeness or signature for anything, including the naming of Junior High No. 9," Amy said to open her time at the board meeting.

Amy said LeRoy was worried about COVID going into the 2020 school year and even added additional life insurance because of it.

"He made a specific choice to go into the system and select additional life insurance benefits because he was quite convinced he was going to end up getting COVID because of the way the district was administering their mask policy," Amy said.

According to her, LeRoy was diagnosed with COVID on Oct. 5, 2020. He was on a ventilator by Oct. 20, and it was not until after that they found out the additional life insurance was not in place because of a missing form.

"I called the district and I said, 'I've got no record in my email, my husband's email, his work email of getting any kind of email, or a notice, or a letter in the mail that says, 'Hey, you need to do this form.' And that's when I was told, 'We don't babysit our employees,'" Amy said.

When Amy asked Alvin ISD about the lack of notification about the missing form, she said the district told her it would have shown up in the benefits system.

Amy said the reason she is speaking out is in hopes of them changing their notification policies so other families don't end up in a situation like hers.

"He went above and beyond because he cared and to have somebody (go) above and beyond would not have been hard. Just send an email. To not care enough to do that is just not reflective of the kind of person that he was and that one would hope your colleagues would be," Amy said.

ABC13 asked Alvin ISD about this situation. They responded with the following statement:

Principal LeRoy Castro was an outstanding educator that exemplified tremendous care, concern and high expectations for his students. As a district, we are extremely grateful for the impact that he had on his students and on our community as a whole. We are thankful that his legacy of excellence continues to be a model for all of us that were impacted by his life. His heart for service and tremendous character were the basis for which his name was considered to be honored with the naming of a school.

We likewise remain deeply saddened by his passing and we are extremely sensitive to the loss his family continues to experience. As a district, we are receptive to his family's request to retract Mr. Castro's name from being honored as a namesake of one of our future campuses. Our desire is to move forward in a way that honors Principal Castro's legacy while also honoring his family's desires.

Alvin ISD must graciously decline to speak to the specifics of other matters to ensure the process and ongoing conversations occur through the most appropriate avenues.

The district would not comment on other matters regarding Castro's missing insurance forms.

Alvin ISD's Junior High No. 9 will open in Iowa Colony in the summer of 2024, not named after the well-loved former principal.

"To have that visual as I drive into Houston or wherever I'm going, or to see it come up on the news or something like that, would basically be like a slap in the face," Amy said.

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