A lightning rod teacher returns Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Jun 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm
Last March the Voice ran a story based on charges from a small group of parents saying that a Huff Elementary School teacher was "abusive" toward some of her fourth grade students. The resulting turmoil ended only after the teacher left her classroom for the remainder of the year.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 19, 2009, 12:00 AM
Posted by Ned, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jun 19, 2009 at 7:56 pm
I would think the issues and questions the editor raises here could be best addressed through old-style investigative journalism. This paper broke rumors. Why not now, Mr. Editor, attempt yourself to get answers to the very questions you pose above?
[How could the district] ease the anxiety of concerned parents if they explained to the public in more detail how such issues generally are addressed?
What parameters are set by a teacher's tenure?
Does the union get a say, and if so what weight is it given?
What role, if any, does the district board (in closed session) play in deciding a teacher's fate?
An old-school journalist would press an organization until it hurts not to answer any of the above. Then he or she would dig deep into the backgrounds of the adminstrators who did nothing about all this. This journalist spits outs a story without all the facts in order, steps back and acts like a dispassionate observer studying us all in a controlled environment and then baiting us to do this, or think that in the aftermath as with the above questions.
Surely the union has a contract, why not quote passages from it? Surely California has clear laws on the books regarding all this, why not research the subject and cite from it? Surely there are subject matter authorities, outside of the district that could better comment on the legalities of all this. But do we get any of that? No. The Voice is by and large just a product of hack job journalism at best, and a scandal sheet at worst.
And let's not forget the fact that neither The Voice nor the School District has got anything of substance on this teacher. She'll return to work. She'll teach. And if she's smart she will sue the school and this paper for everything they're worth.
This city deserves better from its paper and the schools.
Posted by School Parent, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Jun 20, 2009 at 12:10 pm
The best place for this teacher is with the PACT program, within eye and ear shot of the very same administrators who bunged this whole thing up to begin with. Instead, she is placed at the school the second most distance away from the district office. The first being Huff. Out of sight, out of mind as they say.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jun 20, 2009 at 8:43 pm
Let's take this one step further and have Ms. P assigned to the District Office as a resource teacher. From there she can report on the way the district office administrators treat parents, teachers and students.
Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Jun 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm Don Frances is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
It's true that this editorial openly asks questions that our news staff should try to answer. In fact we're working on it as a news story for next week. Meanwhile, it seems perfectly valid to me to ask the questions in an editorial.
Posted by Concerned adult, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jun 21, 2009 at 9:43 pm
I will repeat my comment to the story written re: Ms. P's re-assignment to Graham; should your child be in her classroom, and an adverse event occur which you feel is unacceptable treatment, then simply file a police report with MVPD. This might include harassment, intimidation, verbal abuse, etc. Let them deal with it. Obviously the district has taken a pass on this teacher and the children are left alone to handle the fallout of her behavior; I'm sure many parents and children are shaking in their shoes to see who gets her this fall!
Posted by db, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Jun 21, 2009 at 10:56 pm
All things aside, I'm curious to see how this teacher will be able to perform her job. Chances are that many parents will not want their children in her classroom so the slack will have to be taken up by other teachers. There is a good chance she will have little, or less to do if the disrict tries to accomodate all parents wishes. The question the paper needs to ask is how will these type of situations be handled. How will the union play a role? How will liabilities or discrimination be avoided? I would imagine that the teacher may even have grounds to turn the table and come back against the school district with charges similar to what parents levelled against her. It just may be more practical to pay her to stay home and take the loss up front.
Posted by educator, a resident of another community, on Jun 22, 2009 at 7:14 am
The new policy for this teacher at Graham Middle from what I konw is that only parents with students from her previous classes with previously documented complaints will be able to opt out of her 6th grade classes. Apparently the only documentation the district has is of parents complaining. Mislaid and onfusing doesn't begin to descrive this policy. Can the paper seek clarification BEFORE the start of the new school year next Fall.
Posted by Claire, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jun 22, 2009 at 7:25 pm
As the editor writes, "Any teacher whose lessons come with abuse, either physical or emotional, has no place in the classroom." Even the suppports of this teacher admit to her abusive style. We either accept the it, or agree with the editor. There is no inbetween.
Posted by Ned, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jun 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm
I agree, due process is everyone's right and this whole episode has been handled poorly. I would like to see The Voice, which broke this story, request the school district to answer the following questions:
Who were this teacher's principals at the time of all the alleged complaints?
What actions did they take to document and correct the alleged complaints?
How many complaints have been officially logged by the district against this teacher?
Has this teacher been merely reassigned, or reprimanded?
If there were legitimate complaints made against the teacher, and nothing was done about it, what disciplinary measures were taken, or are being taken, against the Huff school principals of this teacher for not properly documenting them?
What is the policy for filing complaints against a teacher?
What will the policy be this fall for opting a child out of this teacher's classes?
Why, if there is a policy, is it being enacted?
Will the distict pay for counseling services for children affected by this situation?
Posted by CL, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Jun 25, 2009 at 6:41 am
I just took the time to read all the stories and posts on local schools. Why is it that the one article on Bullis gets so many comments from concerned community members, while MV school issues are largely ignored, when you brush aside the inflammatory comments. I see this apathy also in our voter turn-out and the fact, as one poster commented, few run for school board in this town opposed and many are just appointed. Like it or not MV, it all combines to paint a picture of apathy and a lack of community involvement on average for our city when it comes to the schools. Just take a look a PA, LA, and LAH. Their school board races are serious matters.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm
I read all this and wonder what the hec is going on in our schools.
Some one didn't do their job and it's all being swept under the rug.
The only people that count to me when it comes to my children in the schools is the teacher. If one of their teachers becomes a "lightning rod," than I'd expect the management to deal with it swiftly. If they can't, get rid of the management and find some one who can handle the job.
Posted by concerned parents, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Jul 22, 2009 at 12:20 am
About the new policy for this teacher at Graham Middle School.
Instead of NO-Mrs. P sign-up sheet, Mrs. Jacobs can send out a YES-Mrs. P sign-up sheet before school starts.
Mrs. P will teach 2 classrooms at Graham? Normally, students will have same teachers for both language and social study. so total about 60 students names on YES-Mrs. P sheet. Instead of 200 students to sign up NO-Mrs. P sheet. If there's more than 60 students on YES-Mrs. P sheet, it can be first come first. Clearly, this will be easier, and efficient to avoide changing or switching class schedules due to Mrs. P.
Also, most Graham teachers have other events or elective classes, we need to know if Mrs. P's other jobs to avoid her.
Finally, if Mrs. P somehow gets the NO-Mrs. P sheet from her fan, she may do something BAD to those students.