Protest held in San Francisco against policy allowing violent kids to stay in class

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Parents and teachers in San Francisco held a demonstration Tuesday morning to support an elementary school teacher who spoke against a district policy, which states that teachers should use the necessary resources to keep students in the classroom even if they are unruly or disruptive.

"Students have been choked, they've been slapped, they have been given death threats almost daily," parent Louella Hill said.

Parents say those actions have come from a single child in the first grade at Monroe Elementary School. But parents are not blaming the student, instead they are supporting the teacher who they say didn't get the needed resources from the school district to deal with this student.

Even her colleagues agree. "To me, she did a fantastic job dealing with this difficult situation," teacher Kathy Harriman said.

In 2014, San Francisco Unified School District adopted "The Safe and Supportive Schools Policy," which says teachers must use every tool to avoid expelling or sending a student to the principal's office. Even the teachers union supports the policy. "The policy is something we believe in, that kids should be in the school," Educators of San Francisco spokesperson Lita Blanc said.

But parents told ABC7 News the teacher Erika Keil complained to the principal and was then asked to leave.

"That student has remained in the classroom without proper support," Hill said.

San Francisco Unified School District officials said there are resources available, including one-to-one student aids, instructional coaches and behavior specialists.

Because this is the teacher's first year with the district, she is a probationary employee, which means that she can be terminated without cause. The district calls it non-reelected, but the school board could vote to bring her back. "So in this particular case, which I'm not fully familiar with, certainly the school board could rescind the decision," President Board of Education Matt Haney said.

But Haney admits that has never happened under his leadership.

In the meantime, parents and teachers vow to continue protesting until the teacher is allowed back at the school.
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