Greg Schiller is a beloved teacher at Ramon C. Cortines School of the Visual and Performing Arts. He is one of the most transparent, helpful, and engaged teachers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Many other parents, students, and teachers have expressed similar sentiments. He sponsors several clubs & the science fair, is actively involved in school governance, teaches AP Biology and AP Psych, is the UTLA representative for the school, and actively engages parents in school involvement.
On February 26, 2014 Greg Schiller was removed from his position and ultimately “re-housed” at the LAUSD offices in, what is infamously referred to as “teacher jail” due to 2 science fair projects that were deemed “dangerous.”
THE “REINSTATE SCHILLER” CAMPAIGN #reinstateschiller
I am helping coordinate the social media and online communication for several groups of parents, students, and former students. I am NOT the “leader” of any of these groups. My goal is to facilitate communication and be a vocal supporter as needed.
I’ve included the most pressing and relevant facts to this situation below. We are seeking the public’s help in bringing this situation to a close and reinstating Schiller back in his classroom.
Facts about Mr. Schiller’s Removal
The two projects were an electromagnetic coil gun and an air cannon/gun. The 2nd project was displayed but there was no compressed air to make it functional. The first project was, at the urging of the student’s advisory (home room) teacher, demonstrated in that classroom. It effectively launched a marble 2 feet through the air. The marble continued to roll for another 3-4 feet.
The projects were clearly NOT dangerous. Furthermore, an electromagnetic coil gun of similar design was awarded an honorable mention in the LA Unified Science Fair last year! Similar projectile launching devices have been a part of LA Unified’s science fair every year – including this year.
Below is a video and a link to the White House’s website where President Obama helps an 8th grade student load and launch his “air cannon” inside the White House. This particular “air cannon” effectively launches marshmallows more than 150 feet through the air. (using VAPA administration standards, this 8th grader should probably be in Guantanamo Bay as a terrorist).
Here are the critical issues and fact, and why Mr. Schiller – and hundreds of students, parents, and teachers desperately need our support.
Mr. Schiller neither advises or directs the students as to what projects they create. He inspires them to pursue their passions.
Mr. Schiller NEVER saw either science project. They were confiscated and removed while he was elsewhere.
Both students were removed from class and interogated by VAPA Assistant Principal Ken Martinez WITHOUT NOTIFYING THEIR PARENTS. One child (at least) was removed from instructional time twice in the same day. It is the contention of VAPA administration that they were NOT interrogated but simply had a conversation with Mr. Martinez. (when a student is removed from class, brought to a separate room and questioned by school administration about an investigation, the pressure is enormous. It is akin to abuse and intimidation.)
The parent’s of both students have written letters to Principal Kim Bruno & LA Unified confirming that Mr. Schiller did not direct their experiments.
Both student’s LOST their opportunity to have their work assessed/graded.
Both students were told that they did NOTHING wrong and neither student was reprimanded in any way. We agree they did nothing wrong because their science fair experiments were clearly NOT dangerous and should have been rewarded not removed.
- One of the student’s parents have demanded in writing from both VAPA Administration (Principal Kim Bruno) and LA Unified that their property – their child’s science experiment be returned.They have been instructed that their request has gone to LA Unfied’s Legal team. They’ve heard nothing back. Additionally, they approached the LA Police Department to file a theft report. The police informed them that dealing with LAUSD was like dealing with the “mafia” and they could do very little to help.