UTLA: Music Director Goes Back to School—Freed from Teacher Jail at Last
Students, Parents, Educators to Celebrate Iris Stevenson’s Return to Crenshaw High; Dramatic Flaws in Superintendent’s System Made Even More Obvious
On Tuesday, August 12, 6:30am – 7:30am, students, parents, and educators will gather at Crenshaw High School (corner of 50th Street and 9th Avenue) to celebrate Iris Stevenson’s return to the school. The Superintendent released her from “teacher jail” earlier today.
Ms. Stevenson is an internationally-renowned musician, and has been a teacher with an internationally-renowned choir at Crenshaw High for 28 years. In December 2013, Ms. Stevenson was pulled from her classroom and placed in “teacher jail,” without ever receiving official word about the accusations against her. There was speculation that it involved a field trip she took with her choir to France, and then to perform for President Obama – but, Stevenson had gotten all appropriate permission to go on the trip.
From December to yesterday, an entire semester of school, the Crenshaw music program and choir were disrupted because of Superintendent Deasy’s reckless “teacher jail” policy, which has myriad educators pulled from classrooms and “housed” at administrative locations or at home, without knowing accusations against them. Schools, programs, and student lives are disrupted with this policy.
UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl will join Ms. Stevenson and students, parents, and educators at the event at 6:30am, Tuesday, August 12. Caputo-Pearl said, “I am overjoyed that the students and families at Crenshaw High School, a school community so close to my heart and home, will have Ms. Stevenson back, to continue her work as a lifeline and mentor to so many. At the same time, I stand with communities and educators across the city who continue to feel such anger at the Superintendent’s irresponsible ‘teacher jail’ policy. This destabilization of already-vulnerable schools and this attacking of educators’ reputations must stop. As a parent of two LAUSD students, I believe we can protect student safety, while simultaneously supporting stable schools and respecting our educators, the backbone of the system.”