Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Claims of Ethnic Slurs by Teacher in California High School Unresolved After Four Months (Updated)

LCUSD school board member Cindy Wilcox has called for the firing of La Cañada High School teacher Gabrielle Leko for allegedly calling a ninth-grade student “Jew boy.” Wilcox, in her individual capacity, filed a formal complaint with the school district on June 15, more than four months ago.

Last week, Wilcox publicly called for action on the complaint

Mandy Redfern, president of the La Cañada Teachers Assn. questioned Wilcox’s decision to make the complaint public. “The association believes that such allegations should be made using the clear and fair procedures outlined in the collective bargaining agreement rather than through media outlets,” Redfern said in a prepared statement....

However, the collective bargaining agreement provides for swift resolution of complaints such as this: “It is the intent of this article to resolve the complaint as quickly as possible at both the informal and formal levels.” Nothing in the collective bargaining agreement requires that such serious complaints against a teacher take more than four months to resolve.

School board member Cindy Wilcox said she filed a formal complaint — as a member of the public — against teacher Gabrielle Leko in June, saying she heard from numerous families of students at the school who were unhappy with Leko but weren't willing to go on record with a complaint.

"When I talked to the families and said 'Would you please file a complaint?' their response is, 'She teaches all the high-level classes. … We are going to see her again, and furthermore the siblings are likely to see her again. This is a teacher you just don’t want to make upset,' " Wilcox told the La Cañada Sun.

The ADL has written a letter to the school, offering to assist with the resolution of this issue.

Some locals are critical of Wilcox's decision to report her complaint to the local media. Others are concerned that the issue has gone unresolved for over four months.

  • Anita Brenner's column in the La Canada Valley Sun: CLICK HERE FOR FULL COLUMN

  • Megan O'Neil's article in the Los Angeles Times: Teacher accused of calling student 'Jew boy' may be fired -

  • Donna Evans reports in the La Canada Patch ADL Contacts LCUSD Over Alleged Ethnic Slur - La Canada Flintridge, CA Patch

  • Carol Cormaci, editor of the Valley Sun accepts letters to the editor at
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