East LA principal on leave after series of protests over controversial comments

A high school principal in East Los Angeles has been placed on leave amid an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior on campus. 

John Edward Estoesta has been principal at East LA Performing Arts Magnet at Esteban Torres High School for less than a year, according to local reports, 

Estoesta reportedly made a decision to remove hallway mirrors "to prevent drug use and rape," as girls checking their appearance in those mirrors could be mistaken for sexual advances by boys, leading to sexual assault. 

He also has reportedly been "accused of dismissing racist, homophobic, and transphobic remarks made by students, as well as making sexist remarks and inappropriate gestures towards female students."

The accusations have prompted protests and walk-outs by students. 

Tony Cortez has been named interim principal until June 30, school officials said, as the investigation continues. He served as the first Principal at Judith Baca Arts Academy and has most recently served as a Community of Schools Administrator in the Eagle Rock/Highland Park Community of Schools.  

The district said it is looking for a permanent replacement for the 2023-24 school year.