At Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, the 2014-2015 school year almost began without one of the campus’s most beloved teachers. The Los Angeles Unified School District announced in August that music instructor Iris Stevenson had been restored to her post. However, questions about her several-month-long absence remain. The case has shed light on “teacher jail,” the unofficial nickname for a sort of institutional purgatory for district teachers, which until recently meted out a virtually secret form of punishment.
The LAUSD removed Stevenson from her classroom in December 2013, shortly after she returned from a performing trip with the Crenshaw Elite Choir to Washington, D.C. and Paris. Of the 20 participants, only three were enrolled Crenshaw students. The rest of the group consisted of alumni, chaperones and musicians from around Los Angeles. Upon their return, district authorities reassigned Stevenson, and did not explain why to students and families. She had worked at Crenshaw since 1985.
“Her case, which is a confidential, personnel matter, remains under investigation,” the district said in a statement last month. [Read more…]