A group of parents at Betty Plascencia Elementary have been picketing outside the Echo Park school for about two weeks to protest what they consider the unfair treatment of a long-time teacher by the new principal. Parents were scheduled to hold more protests this morning as a dispute resolution teams from the school district meet with parents and staff to address the issue, according to a press release issued by Plasencia Parents United. The group, whose cause was reported by Spanish-language TV station KRCA, was spurred into action after teacher Kiffen Madden-Lunsford, who has been at the school for 13 years, lost his position as an instructional coach and is being reassigned as part of changes made by new principal Julie Gonzalez. Parent Emily Rice said school officials said the changes are being made in an effort to focus more attention to the school’s large number of English learners. But Rice and others say that Madden-Lunsford has already been doing just that.
“We are trying to keep a beloved teacher in his position,” said Rice, who said that about 450 have signed a petition in support of Madden-Lunsford. “He’s truly important to the school.”
* Update: A parent with Plasencia Parents United said the district’s dispute resolution team informed parents today that the principal’s decision will stand. Madden-Lunsford will be assigned to another position in the district, Gorton said.
A spokeswoman for L.A. Unified said the district will not comment on the dispute. “This is a personnel matter, and confidential.”