Daryl Narimatsu of LA Unified School District for the win

Did Daryl Narimatsu flip me off?

I need everyone’s help. There is a short survey at the end of this blog post.

I was being a little bit campy at today’s Rally for Greg Schiller at Ramon C. Cortines School of the Visual and Performing Arts (Grand Arts / VAPA). I was certainly being polite and said hi to Assistant Principal, Bill Webb and Dean of Students, Mr. Reyes. Mr. Reyes and I spoke about the value of the students exercising their right to protest… it is a good lesson.

I also got a photo with Rosie Martinez, Instructional Director for LAUSD and one with her and Bill Webb. She was unenthusiastic but Bill was cool….

Rosie Martinez and Bill Webbs join me in supporting Greg Schiller Me & Rosie Martinez from LAUSD

Okay.. truth.. I was selfie photo-bombing them.. well.. actually sort of helping them photo-bomb my selfies I suppose.

But here is where it gets curious. I saw another gentleman there. He had that sophisticated, humorless, LAUSD look. The sort of look that seems to say, “I know how to say nothing in a lot of words.” (I’m being snippy again.. but see below and you may understand why)

I introduced myself to him and he told me his name was Daryl Narimatsu, Administrator of Operations for ISIC.(LAUSD) As he was writing his name on some paper – apparently he had no cards – I snapped two selfies with him in the picture. I posted them online and someone pointed out that I’d been PHOTO-BOMBED! Or Finger-bombed.

I decided to zoom in on the potentially offending digit.. and darn if it don’t seem to be so.

Congratulations Daryl Narimatsu, you have pulled the ultimate coup. Well-played… well-played…
(survey question below picture)
Did Daryl Narimatsu flip me off?

Is Daryl as good as he seems? Did he finger-photo-bomb me? Was it intentional?
(yes or no in the comments)

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Rally Today at Ramon C. Cortines

Today at 7AM, students, parents, and others will gather for a Rally to raise awareness about the wrongful and ridiculous “rehousing” of Greg Schiller at LAUSD’s teacher jail.

reinstateschiller

Remember, Principal Bruno has more power than she is admitting in all of this. She can admit that her assistant principal, Ken Martinez – the one who interrogated Grand Arts students without notifying their parents – made a HUGE error in judgement. She can admit that she was swayed by her staff and wants to make it right.

Principal Kim Bruno can publicly advocate for Greg Schiller’s reinstatement. The only question is whether she will do so.

In Teacher Jail – by Esther and Gerald Schiller

IN TEACHER JAIL

BY GERALD AND ESTHER SCHILLER

Our son is in jail.

But there are no bars or armed guards, or wardens.

And he does go home to his wife each afternoon.

Our son is in “teacher jail.”

For those who may be unaware of this bizarre institution, “teacher jail”   is the name applied (with no affection) to what the Los Angeles Unified School District calls teacher “housing.” And this euphemism refers to the act of removing teachers from their classrooms, if there are accusations against them, and placing them in large rooms where they, basically, sit for days, or weeks, or months, or even years. It may come as a surprise to many people but there are currently several hundred Los Angeles School District employees in this situation.

These “housed” men and women remain there, are allowed no contact with their schools or colleagues, and continue to collect their salaries, while substitute teachers (each hired at several hundred dollars per day) cover their classrooms.

The rationale for this “housing” is that these teachers pose a risk to the safety and well being of the students and staff of their schools.

Our son, however, is not a thief, a rapist, a pornographer, or a child molester.

On the contrary, he is an exemplary instructor who has distinguished himself for almost twenty years with nary a blemish on his record. He teaches Advanced Placement (college credit) classes in biology and psychology. He supervises numerous school clubs. He coaches fencing.

And he works assiduously on many school committees.

He has been praised by his students and their parents, given high marks by his colleagues, and spends long hours at the school where he works.

What then was the heinous offense that caused his placement in “teacher jail?”

Two students in one of his classes created projects for a science fair.

Each of these projects had the word “gun” in its title though neither resembled a gun in any form. But an administrator saw the projects when they were brought to the cafeteria for display and confiscated them, calling them “dangerous.” Our son, who had not yet seen the completed exhibits,was called into the principal’s office, and then, rather than being chastised and told never to repeat such an offense again, was told to report to “teacher jail.”

And there he sits. Now for more than a month.

There is both irony and tragedy in what has occurred.

Irony in that one of the confiscated projects—according to several parents— was similar to a science fair exhibit that won national awards and was included on the Los Angeles School District’s own website as an example of an outstanding student science achievement.

There is irony that the administrator who confiscated the projects and called them dangerous, has a background in teaching English, not science.

And it is highly ironic that our son was actively involved with the committee that chose the current principal—a principal who now seems eager to see him removed from the school.

But among the tragic aspects of this situation is that our son’s Advanced Placement students, now deprived of a qualified “AP” teacher may not be adequately prepared for their national examination, just weeks away.

It is also tragic that the students who submitted the projects are now extremely upset and feel guilty that they were responsible for their teacher’s removal.

Most tragically, however, is the fact that a caring, dedicated, and beloved teacher may be driven from a job he not only cares deeply about, but is also masterful at.

It seems that in the bizarre and arcane complexities of the Los Angeles Unified School District, because of its fear of public criticism and its terror at media finger-pointing, competent teachers like our son are too often pulled from their classrooms.

And there they sit.

In teacher jail.


Gerald and Esther Schiller are retired teachers. Both worked for many years with the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Their son is on the faculty of Ramon C. Cortines High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, the arts school formerly known as Central High School #9.

Updates for the morning of 4-8-2014

I’ll write more later. There have been some interesting developments in the campaign to Reinstate Greg Schiller.

I’ve updated several pages on this site. Several groups supporting Mr. Schiller are now communicating together to coordinate efforts. It should be understood, I am NOT leading these groups – simply hoping to coordinate social media outreach and attention.

UPDATES

There is a formal “Reinstate Schiller” page that links to resources and who to contact. The calendar should be updated soon.

There were some who approached me suggesting that I or my student might be subject to retaliation because I am leading these groups. I hope that is not the case as I’ve made it clear that if the school administration or LAUSD wishes to voice their position officially, I will publish it unedited on this site.

Fairness and transparency is a critical aspect to what I hope to do.

I am, somewhat concerned, that my student may be singled out by less than honorable parties but my student feels that doing the right thing is more important than doing nothing. My student is a straight-A, highly driven, well-liked by teachers – student. My student is non-confrontational and simply wants to excel at school, perform, and get to one of several colleges they have already identified.

That’s it for now. Watch for updates.