DEFEND YVETTE FELARCA!
Bring Her Back to Her Classroom Now!
Stop Berkeley School District’s Political Witch-hunt Against Her!
Stop Trump’s Racist Vision for America!
Last updated 9/25/2016
Berkeley Unified School District has begun a political witch-hunt against teacher Yvette Felarca. On September 21, 2016, the District placed her on indefinite leave from her job on secret charges. We demand she be brought back to her classroom now.
MASS ORGANIZING MEETING to Defend Yvette Felarca Wednesday, Sept. 28, 5:00-7:00pm
Yvette Felarca’s grievance letter
“Management’s disciplines against me are based overwhelmingly on my off-duty political activities and my political affiliation with the national civil rights and immigrant rights organization BAMN. We cannot allow the District to dictate what teachers do on their own time. The 25.17 days of pay the District is docking me is for my using my benefit time for illnesses or personal leave time.
“The most important reason for the union to grieve the NUC NUP letter of June 30, 2016 and my loss of pay is because these actions are the District’s political witch-hunt of me, and, if successful, will send a message to the Latina/o, Asian, Arab and other immigrant students and to black, Muslim and other minority students and the many anti-racist white students I reach every day, that the teachers who actively defend their rights and interests and tell the plain truth about racism and the new Jim Crow are not welcome and will be driven out of BUSD. The poor and working-class students, Latina/o, black, and immigrant students in my ELD classes, and others throughout the District must not fear demanding equality, freedom and the right to live without fear of being assaulted by the police or right-wing thugs and demagogues. These students and their families have given me nothing but support, love and gratitude for how I conduct myself in and out of the classroom and for being their voice in our District. Undocumented students in BUSD should know that our District will never condemn or punish them or those that support their legal and increasingly physical struggles to live, work, and a receive the public education they are entitled to.”
– Excerpt from Yvette Felarca grievance letter to the Berkeley Federation of Teachers (BFT)
BAMN Cease and Desist letter to BUSD to stop interrogating children alone without their parents in pursuit of political witch-hunt:
“Our firm, UEAALDF, represents REDACTED and her minor child REDACTED, REDACTED and her minor child REDACTED, REDACTED and her minor child REDACTED, and REDACTED and his minor child REDACTED (hereafter referred to as “Clients”). They are parents who have children who are current or former students of Yvette Felarca, a teacher at BUSD’s Martin Luther King School.
“On behalf of our Clients, we call on BUSD to cease and desist interviewing/interrogating the children of Clients and other children in BUSD regarding teacher Yvette Felarca, which is in violation of state and federal laws and BUSD policies.
“Clients also refuse to allow statements from these interviews, which seek to isolate, manipulate, and trick children without their parents being notified and without their consent, to be distorted and/or used in any way to further the political witch-hunt against Yvette Felarca for defending the rights and the lives of Clients and of other minority and immigrant families of Berkeley…”
“BUSD MUST CEASE AND DESIST ILLEGAL ACTIONS AGAINST CLIENTS
“On September 21, 2016, the BUSD school officials District pulled some of Ms. Felarca’s English Language Development (ELD) students out of their other classes (science, math, etc.) in order to question and intimidate the students about Ms. Felarca. REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, and REDACTED were pulled out of their classes. They were each questioned individually, alone, and without their parents being notified, much less present. They did not understand why they were being questioned, and immediately thought they had done something wrong. Neither they nor their parents were under any suspicion of any wrongdoing.They were not informed of the purpose of this interview.
“The District officials questioned them about Ms. Felarca. The children did not know, and the District did not inform them, as to why they were being asked questions about Ms. Felarca. They were manipulated and intimidated by school officials into answering questions whose purpose, context, and content they did not understand. The experience left them feeling bewildered, humiliated, afraid, and even traumatized. They were instructed to promise to keep the interview a secret and to ‘tell no one.’
“Later that day, the District placed Ms. Felarca on indefinite leave and declared its intention to continue with its investigation into its unspecified charges. Their punitive action of Ms. Felarca following the illegal interviews of her students further added to the students’ emotional turmoil and trauma, creating a sense of self-blame and misplaced responsibility, and even creating conflict and confusion between Clients and their minor child. The children, confused over whether they could talk to their own parents about this painful experience that took place at school, were not even sure if they could share what happened with their parents, much less explain why. Parents did not receive any phone calls or notification from school or District officials that day to explain. A parent who came to the School Board meeting that evening was initially not allowed to address the Board about his concerns, until protesters chanting for his right to speak won him the chance to speak for two minutes. The District’s callous and arrogant treatment of immigrant families in Berkeley Public Schools extended from the site and central administration to members of the Board of Education.”
Footage from community rally and speak-out at Berkeley School Board 9/21/2016:
BUSD student Destiny Hayes speaks to School Board:
Yvette Felarca speaks to School Board:
BUSD student Lupe Vargas speaks to School Board:
Lupe Vargas letter of support
BUSD parent Aurora Ortiz speaks to School Board:
BAMN leader, Oakland union executive board member Mark Airgood speaks to School Board:
BUSD parent Dr. Robin Balliger speaks to School Board:
Dr. Robin Balliger letter of support
Supporters demand right to speak:
BUSD parent Ted Leviton speaks to School Board:
BUSD teacher speaks to School Board: