Update on the Suspension of DHS Student

A few more details have become available on circumstances leading to the suspension of a Davis High School Student primarily for what was said while giving a speech on a civil rights incident that he personally experienced and spoke about at an assembly for Human Relations Week at the High School.

The teacher involved was indeed a math teacher, it was an AP Calculus class. Apparently the students had noted to her that she had hung a number of other posters including one from the girl’s water polo team. The boys water polo team asked if they could could hang a poster and she said yes if it was appropriate. Then the student involved asked if he could hang a poster and she said yes. She apparently approved this one of Malcolm X. At some point she must have had second thoughts about the poster because she literally tore it down. I saw it was pulled through the tacks rather than merely having the tacks removed.

The student asked for the poster and the teacher then talked in the front of the entire class about how this was a “terrorist” message and inappropriate. In meetings concerning this incident the teacher has mostly accepted this version of events. That happened in February.

The high school’s Human Relations Week happened and the student was asked to give a speech before the assembly. He gave the assembly organizers two speeches to choose from–they chose this topic. The organizers were two students who were in charge of Human Relations Week plus the administrator who approved the topic. The speech we posted a few days ago is the one he gave, which is only very slightly different from the one he submitted–and the substance was identical.

The student gave the speech and the teacher basically drew the attention to herself by leaving the assembly in tears.

Why was the student suspended? The student was basically given three reasons for the suspension. First, the claim was made that the student had deviated from the speech–that the student had essentially given an entirely different speech than the one submitted and that the student had self-censored in the submitted speech in order to engage in some sort of deception to get it approved. Having seen both speeches, I think this is a false charge. The degree of difference between both was almost non-existent and the speech read seemed innocuous. Most of the changes were innocuous and cosmetic.

Second, the student was cited for basically publicly humiliating a teacher–this despite the fact that the student never mentioned the name of the teacher and the teacher essentially outed herself through her own behavior. The teacher left the assembly in tears and did not return.

Third, the student was cited for disrupting an assembly–a charge that stemmed from the teacher bolting the assembly.

The teacher has basically told the student that the student cannot come back to class. That the teacher’s reputation has been tarnished by this incident. Meanwhile the student is missing AP Calculus and is signed up to take the AP exam this spring.

Looking at the discipline code it is not clear that the punishment–even if the student were guilty of these accusations should have been a three day suspension. In my opinion, this situation could have been better handled by the administration and certainly by the teacher involved–on a number of levels. Hopefully some kind of resolution can be struck to allow the student to continue to pursue their academic goals.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Categories:

Civil Rights

172 comments

  1. It does not sound like the teacher knew the speech was coming. It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech. The student and the three people who approved the speech should have warned the teacher about what was to be said. I hope both sides learn something from this. SAH

  2. It does not sound like the teacher knew the speech was coming. It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech. The student and the three people who approved the speech should have warned the teacher about what was to be said. I hope both sides learn something from this. SAH

  3. It does not sound like the teacher knew the speech was coming. It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech. The student and the three people who approved the speech should have warned the teacher about what was to be said. I hope both sides learn something from this. SAH

  4. It does not sound like the teacher knew the speech was coming. It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech. The student and the three people who approved the speech should have warned the teacher about what was to be said. I hope both sides learn something from this. SAH

  5. Based upon your Update narrative, it is the DHS school adminstration that has been seriously “tarnished”. The ONLY solution is a public apology,along with rescinding the suspension, by the DHS school adminstration, “softened” by making it a valuable teaching opportunity in the value of tolerance and dialogue.

  6. Based upon your Update narrative, it is the DHS school adminstration that has been seriously “tarnished”. The ONLY solution is a public apology,along with rescinding the suspension, by the DHS school adminstration, “softened” by making it a valuable teaching opportunity in the value of tolerance and dialogue.

  7. Based upon your Update narrative, it is the DHS school adminstration that has been seriously “tarnished”. The ONLY solution is a public apology,along with rescinding the suspension, by the DHS school adminstration, “softened” by making it a valuable teaching opportunity in the value of tolerance and dialogue.

  8. Based upon your Update narrative, it is the DHS school adminstration that has been seriously “tarnished”. The ONLY solution is a public apology,along with rescinding the suspension, by the DHS school adminstration, “softened” by making it a valuable teaching opportunity in the value of tolerance and dialogue.

  9. “It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech.”

    I agree AND it would have been common courtesy and common sense for the teacher to have sat down with the student and discussed the poster instead of humiliating him in front of the entire class.

    This story is so bizarre that I would not believe it except that I had 5 children who attended Davis Senior High School. The experiences they had are the reason that our three youngest have all gone to private Catholic high schools.

  10. “It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech.”

    I agree AND it would have been common courtesy and common sense for the teacher to have sat down with the student and discussed the poster instead of humiliating him in front of the entire class.

    This story is so bizarre that I would not believe it except that I had 5 children who attended Davis Senior High School. The experiences they had are the reason that our three youngest have all gone to private Catholic high schools.

  11. “It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech.”

    I agree AND it would have been common courtesy and common sense for the teacher to have sat down with the student and discussed the poster instead of humiliating him in front of the entire class.

    This story is so bizarre that I would not believe it except that I had 5 children who attended Davis Senior High School. The experiences they had are the reason that our three youngest have all gone to private Catholic high schools.

  12. “It would have been common courtesy to sit down with the teacher ahead of time and let her read the speech.”

    I agree AND it would have been common courtesy and common sense for the teacher to have sat down with the student and discussed the poster instead of humiliating him in front of the entire class.

    This story is so bizarre that I would not believe it except that I had 5 children who attended Davis Senior High School. The experiences they had are the reason that our three youngest have all gone to private Catholic high schools.

  13. The student then was asked to give a speech before an assembly, he sent the organizers two speeches, they picked the one that he gave and was told not to mention the teacher
    But he did mention the teacher.

    The following is the text of the speech that got the student suspended for three days. Remember this was approved. Judge for yourself…
    But it isn’t the text of the speech. It is the text the student gave you, as far as we can tell. We haven’t seen the text of the speech that was approved.

    The content of the poster was not at issue in the suspension. The student’s freedom of speech was not at issue. All the hyperbolic comments about dissent were totally off the mark here. When my child was challenged or disciplined by the school district, I fought like a papa lion on his behalf. But that didn’t blind me to the possibility that he may have erred.

    This whole episode really did not belong in the public square, and reflects poorly on the People’s Vanguard.

  14. The student then was asked to give a speech before an assembly, he sent the organizers two speeches, they picked the one that he gave and was told not to mention the teacher
    But he did mention the teacher.

    The following is the text of the speech that got the student suspended for three days. Remember this was approved. Judge for yourself…
    But it isn’t the text of the speech. It is the text the student gave you, as far as we can tell. We haven’t seen the text of the speech that was approved.

    The content of the poster was not at issue in the suspension. The student’s freedom of speech was not at issue. All the hyperbolic comments about dissent were totally off the mark here. When my child was challenged or disciplined by the school district, I fought like a papa lion on his behalf. But that didn’t blind me to the possibility that he may have erred.

    This whole episode really did not belong in the public square, and reflects poorly on the People’s Vanguard.

  15. The student then was asked to give a speech before an assembly, he sent the organizers two speeches, they picked the one that he gave and was told not to mention the teacher
    But he did mention the teacher.

    The following is the text of the speech that got the student suspended for three days. Remember this was approved. Judge for yourself…
    But it isn’t the text of the speech. It is the text the student gave you, as far as we can tell. We haven’t seen the text of the speech that was approved.

    The content of the poster was not at issue in the suspension. The student’s freedom of speech was not at issue. All the hyperbolic comments about dissent were totally off the mark here. When my child was challenged or disciplined by the school district, I fought like a papa lion on his behalf. But that didn’t blind me to the possibility that he may have erred.

    This whole episode really did not belong in the public square, and reflects poorly on the People’s Vanguard.