SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A San Francisco teacher who was twice accused of physical abuse is starting the new school year in a new classroom, and some parents are not pleased.
“My daughter comes home with a letter – tells me that her teacher has left the school and been replaced by this new teacher,” said parent David Soza.
One of the parents at Sherman Elementary School did an online search of new teacher Deborah Fergin-Mavaega and found a San Francisco Weekly article in which she is accused of classroom abuse.
According to the article, Fergin-Mavaega had been accused of banging a child’s head on the table at another school in 2009 and that she was also facing allegations that she grabbed and bruised a child in 2011.
In the fist case, the district admitted no wrong doing, but none the less paid a $30,000 settlement. In the more recent case, the teacher took the 5th amendment when deposed by the child’s lawyer.
Within hours of finding out about Fergin-Mavaega’s transfer to Sherman, parents had mobilized to show up at a PTA meeting Tuesday.
“The people who that came last night were very concerned that the district fundamentally violated our trust,” said Soza.
When they didn’t get answers, a group of them went down to the district board meeting and cornered new superintendent Richard Carranza.
“We heard that this teacher was going to be placed in training – out of the classroom for the remainder of the week – but this is a temporary resolution,” explained Soza.
The district responded to inquiries with a statement that read:
“Teachers have a right to due process. An accusation does not establish guilt. . .but I can assure you that the district is listening to parents’ concerns”
The teacher’s union said that there has been a rush to judgment and that the district’s own instigation found no wrong doing by the teacher.
Still some parents feel that children’s safety should be the primary concern.
“If the families of San Francisco knew that the district did not have the safety of our children first and foremost in their mind – there would be even more people vacating the public schools,” said parent Jena Safa.
Fergin-Mavaega has now been moved to an administrative post while the issue is sorted out.
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