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LAUSD Science Teacher Booted From Classroom For Being An Awesome Science Teacher
Students have launched a protest on behalf of their beloved high school science teacher who was pulled off the job six weeks ago. His offense? LAUSD administrators were worried that his students' science projects amounted to "imitation weaponry."Greg Schiller, a science teacher at downtown's Cortines School of Visual & Performing Arts, was booted from the classroom in February when two students turned in science projects designed to shoot small projectiles—that sounded a little bit too much like weaponry for the administrators' taste. The students' science projects were confiscated as "evidence," according to the Los Angeles Times.
Schiller told CBS Los Angeles that he hasn't received any formal notice of why he was booted off the job and ordered into "teacher jail," though he was told by administrators that he was suspended for "supervising the building, research and development of imitation weapons."
One project relied compressed air to launch a small object—not unlike the marshmallow gun created by an eighth grade student that President Obama fired in the White House a couple years ago. Another used electromagnetic coils powered by a AA battery to launch small objects. Freshman Asa Ferguson said that the technology in his project is used in roller coasters and spaceships. He calls his device an "electromagnetic coil gun" which he says probably alarmed the district: "I think that if I had said it was an electromagnetic propulsion system it would not have been taken out."
Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, told the Times: "As far as we can tell, he’s being punished for teaching science."
Schiller and his students worry about how his absence is affecting his students, particularly in his Advanced Placement biology and psychology classes. One student told the Times that the psych substitute doesn't have a background in the subject, so that period has essentially become a "free period." Schiller worked on lesson plans for the sub but the district ordered him to stop. The school can no longer offer fencing without Schiller on staff either, since he was the coach.
His students and supporters started a petition and Facebook page asking that the mustachioed "teacher, role model and friend" be returned to the classroom. They protested on campus this morning:
#StudentProtest They want teacher Greg Schiller reinstated. More @knx1070 pic.twitter.com/7x6i2N2mgY— Jon Baird (@KNXjonBaird) April 10, 2014
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