Crenshaw choir director released from ‘teacher jail’
Vanessa Romo | August 12, 2014
Eight months after being yanked off campus, long-time choir director Iris Stevenson returned to Crenshaw High School today.
Stevenson, who’s led an award-winning music program at the school for nearly three decades, was pulled from teaching last December and reassigned to report to work at district offices — a sort of purgatory for educators under investigation by LA Unified, often called “teacher jail.”
District officials shared little information about why Stevenson was allowed to return to her teaching duties saying only, “ [H]er case, which is a confidential, personnel matter, remains under investigation.”
The district has never publicly explained the nature of allegations against Stevenson — again, citing privacy laws. However, there was speculation that it involved a field trip she took with her choir to France, then a performance at the White House for President Obama that did not have prior approval. But, Stevenson and the teachers union, maintain she had gotten all appropriate permission to go on the trip.
“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,” Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of UTLA, said in a statement.
“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.”