Return Dr. Iris Stevenson to Crenshaw High School NOW!

Ronald Cruz March 16, 2014 Featured, Fighting Racism, Labor Movement, Magnet Schools, Magnet Schools, Public Education, Saving Art & Music, Social Justice, Stop School Closings Comments Off on Return Dr. Iris Stevenson to Crenshaw High School NOW!

SIGN THE PETITION! The Los Angeles school district has placed world-renowned music teacher Dr. Stevenson in teacher jail on secret charges related to taking Crenshaw High School’s choir to perform before President Obama. STOP LAUSD’s policy of driving out its most beloved and successful teachers!

Return Dr. Iris Stevenson to her Post as Head of the Music Program and Performing Arts Magnet at Crenshaw High School Now!

End the LAUSD School Board Policy of Firing or Driving Out All Our Most Beloved and Successful Teachers!

Reduce Class Size Now! Reverse All the Cuts, Layoffs and Firings.

LAUSD Hands Off Crenshaw High School!

Superintendent Deasy Must Go Now!


(The Crenshaw Elite Choir performance in December 2013 at the White House for President and Michelle Obama – the performance that is the pretext for putting Ms. Stevenson in teacher jail.)


SIGN the online petition!

DOWNLOAD the petition


DOWNLOAD the flyer

“Hands Off Crenshaw High School!”
Speak out and press conference at the LAUSD Board Meeting

Tuesday, March 18 at 3:30pm
Speak during public comment at 5pm
333 S. Beaudry, downtown LA

No More Second Class Treatment of the Black and Latina/o Community!

Take the Crenshaw pledge to take action now! Sign the petition to end the witchhunt against Dr. Iris Stevenson and to return Dr. Stevenson, our world renowned Music Director and Choir Leader, to Crenshaw High Now! Join the student led movement to protect our teachers, defend our choir and music programs.

Why we pledge to organize to take action and to build the campaign to get Dr. Iris Stevenson reinstated as Music Director and head of the Performing Arts magnet at Crenshaw High.

Dr. Iris Stevenson is our city’s most renowned music teacher and the pride of Crenshaw High School. Under her leadership, our choirs have won numerous national and international music competitions, performed across the globe, and have been invited to sing for world political leaders including President Barack Obama, French President Jacques Chirac and Prince Charles, of Britain. The Crenshaw Choir has provided our whole racially and culturally diverse, ever united and proud community with so much joy and with the recognition our brilliant and talented youth deserve.

In December 2013, the unthinkable occurred: the LAUSD School Board suspended Dr. Stevenson for the “crime” of taking our Choir on a triumphant musical tour beginning during Thanksgiving break that included performing for President Obama at the White House and singing for the choir’s adoring and loyal fans in France, because the District supposedly was not asked to give it’s blessings to the tour. Really! Dr. Stevenson had submitted all the appropriate paperwork and communicated with the appropriate offices as she had done on trips like this for close to 30 years. The District ripped Dr. Stevenson out of Crenshaw High School and placed her teacher jail, because they claim that they need to conduct an “investigation” to determine whether they approved a trip they could never have refused to sanction. Does the School Board expect us to believe that they would have created an international incident with France or gone to battle with the White House because they believed it was in the students’ best interest to skip the trip and stay home?

End the Witch-hunt Against Dr. Stevenson. Save and Protect Crenshaw High.

There is no investigation. The secret charges, which have been kept from Dr. Stevenson, are a sham, a pretext for conducting a baseless witch-hunt against one of the District’s most decorated teachers.

The District’s attack against Dr. Stevenson is politically motivated. Through Ms. Stevenson, students for many years have been able to break the boundaries of the isolation that comes from the profound racial segregation and mistreatment of our community. Over the years, so many students have been able to travel the nation and the world, performing before government officials, royalty, celebrities, and countless others. She has helped thousands of students overcome so many stereotypes and to refine who they are. The District is targeting and witch-hunting Dr. Stevenson because she loves her black, Latina/o and immigrant students, raises their expectations and fills their hearts and minds with hope and confidence.

To the District, Dr. Stevenson’s remarkable record of success is what makes her dangerous. To the pro-charter and privatization LAUSD School Board, Dr. Stevenson is dangerous precisely because she is a living example of what can be achieved through public education and a classroom regime premised on bringing out the best in students. Her music program proves that fostering creativity and individuality is the best antidote to gang violence. Her music program challenges and defeats the educational philosophy of the pro-charter LAUSD School Board that claims the best way to counter gang violence and promote “success” in segregated inner-city schools is to dumb down education, run the schools like police states, and force the students to accept a regime of rigid conformity that starts with uniforms and ends with police lining the corridors of schools that look and feel like prisons.

Return Dr. Stevenson to her post as Music Director and head of the Performing Arts Magnet at Crenshaw High! Put Dr. Stevenson’s Name back on the Music Building! The students and youth of our school are the only force with the will and determination to lead and win this battle. We must begin the fight now.

The fight to get Dr. Stevenson returned is the fight for the future of our school, community and lives.

We can beat the District and win this fight. The District’s decision to suspend Dr. Stevenson and take her out of Crenshaw was stupid and over-reaching. But it is a blunder they will get away with if the students of Crenshaw do not lead the struggle to win Dr. Stevenson’s reinstatement. If we build a movement strong enough, bold enough and determined enough to bring Dr. Stevenson back, we will be the force this school needs to reverse the attacks on education our school has experienced in the last year and the force it needs to stop the closure of Crenshaw.

We must begin a petition campaign at Crenshaw now. Petitioning our fellow students will educate, unite and draw the whole student body into this fight. It will be easy to make our petition campaign into a city-wide, national and international campaign to save Dr. Stevenson’s job, our choir, our music program and our school. Dr. Stevenson has a huge number of supporters in this community, throughout the nation and in many other countries. With our leadership, they can be drawn into this fight, but we cannot assume that if famous people join the campaign it is sure to win. The students have the most at stake in this fight, we are the only force that has unbending loyalty to Dr. Stevenson and so we must never stop leading this fight.

Petitioning is necessary but not enough to win this fight. Through petitioning, we can unite students to take mass action and to pledge to picket, demonstrate, walk-out and march until Dr. Stevenson is returned. We must not allow our struggle to be deterred or derailed by others who will tell us they are in negotiations or about to win. When we hear Dr. Stevenson’s fierce piano playing lighting up the stage again, see her name back on the music building built through her efforts and feel the power we have gained by saving our choir, we will know we won.

Fight for the right of Every Student to have Equality, Dignity and the Freedom to be Who We Are and the Right to Grow into Who We Want to Be. Defend Public Education! Reverse the firings, layoffs and baseless suspensions of LAUSD teachers.

A year ago, when the District tried to close Crenshaw High, Dr. Stevenson helped to lead the successful campaign to save Crenshaw High. The District hates Crenshaw for the same reasons it hates Dr. Stevenson. Crenshaw embodies the pride, unity and refusal to accept second-class treatment that makes South Central one of, if not the strongest, most defiant resilient, and politically conscious communities in the nation.

Crenshaw and this community have the power to win. Now is the time to remind the powers that be, that we are not the people or community to be messed with. We are fiercely loyal to each other and have no intention of losing Dr. Stevenson.

There is a new student and youth lead integrated civil rights and immigrant rights movement. Winning this fight will build our movement and serve as an example for students and youth everywhere that when we fight we can win. It will strengthen the campaign to save public education and be a milestone in the struggle to defeat the new Jim Crow. It will change who we are and teach us about the power we have when we stand together and fight as one.


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