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District Sidelines Outspoken Teacher

October 25, 2002

Re "Teacher Put on Leave Over Letter About Black Students," Oct. 23: I am dismayed by the Pasadena Unified School District's action to punish science teacher Scott Phelps for speaking his mind, based on his observations and beliefs. The school district should investigate if what Phelps said is true and try to correct the problem, and thus improve the learning environment for all students.

Removing a talented science teacher with 12 years' experience for speaking his mind won't accomplish anything other than losing a much-needed good science teacher. Is there any wonder that our public schools are having a hard time finding qualified math and science teachers?

Joe Lin



In an attempt to deflect blame from teachers for lowered academic scores, Phelps has made public his views that blacks would be to blame for low Academic Performance Index scores next year at John Muir High School in Pasadena.

No doubt he has had these views for some time, so I'm not surprised he might find some of his African American students disruptive. Expressions of disapproval don't have to be verbal to be noticed.

Racism isn't what you think as much as what you do, and Phelps has only exacerbated the delicate race conditions that have worsened since President Bush commandeered the White House.

Frederick Cleveland


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