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Crenshaw High School choir director's supporters hold rally

Supporters of the Crenshaw High School choir director who was placed on leave held a musical rally on Friday.
February 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Supporters of the Crenshaw High School choir director who was placed on leave held a musical rally outside the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters in downtown L.A. on Friday.

Protesters sang and chanted in support of teacher and renowned choir director Iris Stevenson.

"Ms. Stevenson is a legend. She is a mother. She is someone who helps people," said Goward Horton, class of 1996.

According to Stevenson's supporters, the LAUSD reprimanded the educator for flying students to perform in France and to sing for President Barack Obama without a green light from the district.

So, she was suspended with pay in December and placed in what some call "teacher jail."

"You have teachers who have been in teacher jail for years - not months - years. They are paid to sit and look at a cubicle," said Celes King IV with the Congress of Racial Equality of California (CORE-CA).

Warren Fletcher, the president of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), said taking Stevenson away from her students is a huge cost to the district.

The LAUSD will not comment on the case, only saying it is a personnel matter. They added that Stevenson's status with the district has not changed - she is still getting her full pay and benefits.

Stevenson's former students, supporting parents, the UTLA and CORE-CA want her back to teaching immediately.

Throughout Stevenson's 29-year tenure at Crenshaw High, she has used donated dollars to fly the choir around the world to perform at no cost to the district.

"Remember historically since the 1980s, LAUSD has sanctioned all trips," said King.

The LAUSD said it will do its best to resolve this situation as soon as possible, but it will likely take months to gather all the information they need.