"...the truth will set you free." John 8:32
This Could Happen To You BY: Debra Karr
It was 11:00 AM on this Thursday morning, one month into my
student teaching semester. I had just finished teaching
Charlotte Evensen's freshman English class at Warren High
School in the Downey Unified School District. Evensen was
one of two master teachers who supervised me and had been
in the room during my entire lesson. The students had just
left the classroom and Evensen called me to her desk.
"Please come back and see me at 6th period" she said. 6th
period was nearly three hours away, so I presumed that what
she needed to tell me wasn't that pressing. I obliged, and
came back to see her during 6th period.
It was now roughly 2PM. Evensen and I stood in her empty
classroom. She began, "You will no longer be doing group
work in my classroom."
"Fine" I said, "but may I ask why? The group work was a
teaching strategy strongly suggested by my teaching
credential program at California State University Long
Beach (CSULB) and I was just implementing it."
"Well you will not be doing it here", she continued,
"Because while you were teaching with group work this
morning, students were being sexually harassed and
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "Really?" I asked,
"Which students were being bullied and sexually harassed ?
And where were they sitting?"
Evensen did not give me specific names-just gestured
vaguely to one side of the room and barked, "those kids
I then said, "Let me get this straight if students were
being bullied and sexually harassed almost 3 hours ago, as
you allege, why did you sit there and let it happen?"
Like a politician that dodges a question, she responded
with some general rant about how she was trying to help me.
I wrote down this conversation between her and I
immediately and put it into my journal, which is required
by CSULB's credential program. I then went home and copied
this conversation into an email to my University Supervisor
I then received an email from Vipond telling me that I
would no longer be working with Evanson, but to continue my
student teaching and report to work on Monday.
That Monday I sat in an English Teacher meeting with my
other Master Teacher-Monica Shulman. 20 minutes into the
meeting, there was a knock at the door. The principal of
the school John Harris and the English Department Chair
Shirley Stewart stood in the door jamb. Ms. Stewart said,
"Ms. Karr collect your things and come with us". I went
outside with them, and Harris said, "We need you to leave
campus until this thing is straightened out. We'll call you
when it's time to come back." Feeling criminalized, I went
around the corner to the Starbucks. Two hours later I
received a call from Vipond telling me that I should just
go home and that I'll be hearing from her later.
7PM that evening I was told by Vipond that I am no longer
allowed on the Warren Campus and that I'm not allowed to
contact any staff member, student or parent of Warren HS or
the Downey Unified School District.
I wrote an email to Dr. Karen Hakim Butt the now interim
Associate Dean of the College of Education at CSULB
requesting further clarification and all I got back was an
email from Downey Unified and CSULB saying that I was "not
a proper fit". In sum, they kicked me out of student
teaching with no investigation, no inquiry as to what
transpired; no due diligence, no recourse.
I tried to get my money back for the last student teaching
semester, but the accounting office told me they needed
some special code from Dr. Hakim Butt who was out of the
office during the refund period, so CSULB still charged me.
3 years of blood, sweat, tears, precious time and a
mountain of student loans with no teaching license to show
for it all. Unfortunately, my experience is not the only
one. This is how these corrupt academics earn their bloated
salaries and fund their pensions.
I have gone to the CCTC, talked to 4 attorneys (even the
office of Gloria Allred), written letters to Michele Obama,
Ms. Biden, the Department of Education, and many others.
Legally, they get away with this crap. Just letting you all
know. Have a Happy New Year!
Debra K. Karr
From: email@example.com > To: firstname.lastname@example.org >
Subject: Student Teaching for Debra Karr > Date: Thu, 7 Oct
2010 13:27:19 -0700 > CC: email@example.com;
firstname.lastname@example.org > > Hello Debra > > We received an
official correspondence from Downey Unified School District
dated Wednesday, October 6, 2010, requesting that you be
removed from the district as a student teacher. The stated
reason was \"Debra Karr is not a proper fit for our school
district.\" Consequently, the Single Subject Credential
Program has removed you from student teaching. I would have
preferred to discuss your situation in person, but your
email of October 6, 2010 asks that all communication be in
writing. > > You will receive an \"NC\" for EDSS 472A. You
will need to officially withdraw from EDSS 472 B & C and
EDSS 473. If you officially withdraw from these courses in
a timely fashion, you will receive a \"W\" on your
transcripts. However, if you do not withdraw by the
deadline you will receive an \"NC\" for each section that
you do not withdraw from, per university policy. Please
refer to the online University catalog for withdrawal
deadlines and procedures. There is the possibility of a
pro-rata refund of your fall semester fees if you complete
the paperwork and withdraw by the university deadline. > >
Per the Single Subject Credential Program Petition
Committee letter to you dated May 13, 2010, the fall 2010
semester was your final opportunity to successfully
complete student teaching at CSULB; therefore, you will be
disqualified from the CSULB Single Subject Credential
Program. > > Please make arrangements with Dr. Vipond to
return to her the materials you have in your possession
that belong to Downey Unified School District. > >
Sincerely, > > Dr. Hakim-Butt, University Coordinator >
Single Subject credential Program > > >