Thursday, August 30, 2012

Deborah Fergin-Mavaega, S.F. Teacher Accused of Abusing Students, Booted Out of Classroom

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2012 at 7:59 AM

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Earlier this month, we introduced you to Deborah Fergin-Mavaega, the Bayview teacher who was being sued for reportedly smacking around her students and stealing their Twinkies. After that drama, San Francisco Unified School District put her on administrative leave and said she would be transferred to some other school.

Well, parents at that "other school" weren't about to let that happen. This week, angry moms and dads demanded Fergin-Mavaega be removed from her latest assignment as a fifth-grade teacher at Sherman Elementary.

The parents had learned of the abuse complaints, which led to criminal charges after Fergin-Mavaega allegedly pushed a child's head into the desk at Bret Harte Elementary. But since those charges were dropped (she made a deal with prosecutors), school officials claim there was no real cause to fire her or keep her out of the classroom.

Welcome to the California school system.

Here's what school leaders had to say in a letter sent to parents yesterday:
I know many are concerned because of a story in the SF Weekly about the teacher assigned to Sherman this week. As you know, teachers have a right to due process and fairness requires decisions to be made based on facts. Please understand that SFUSD staff are limited in what we can be discuss regarding personnel matters, but I can assure you that SFUSD takes all allegations of abuse very seriously and stringently follows the requirements of the Education Code, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and the negotiated agreement with the teachers union.
But parents and teachers pushed the school board on Tuesday to get Fergin-Mavaega away from their kids -- and they weren't taking no for an answer. Yesterday, the union and district officials agreed to remove the teacher from classroom responsibilities.

"There are no winners here," David Sosa, whose daughter attends the fifth grade at Sherman, told SF Weekly today. "This woman's career is ruined, the District and the Board of Education made some serious mistakes, and the children in our classroom have had to endure a week of chaos. But we were able to accomplish our goal and that was to not have this teacher back in the classroom."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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