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Students protest firing of drama teacher

February 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Students took to the street in front of Culver City High School, trying to save their drama teacher who is being let go.

Students say personality differences will deprive them of a great instructor.

There were no answers from Thursday afternoon's closed door meeting at the school. But students and parents say their fight to save Culver City High's drama teacher Sheila Silver is just getting started.

"I think it's really horrible," said student Kelsi Parsons. "I feel like she is the only teacher that we could have here that would work well with all the students. And she related to us more than I feel any of my other teachers do."

"The parents have always been supportive throughout my time here," said Silver. She said the support she has received has been overwhelming. "It's consistent with the relationship we have developed. They are wonderful. I am honored. I am humbled."

Silver heads the school's theater department, which has won several top state honors in the two years she has been at the school. But this week the school voted to fire her, and no one knows exactly why.

"Our speculation at this point is that there are some personality issues," said parent Marni Parsons. "Personality conflicts within the Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and the executive directors."

Thursday afternoon more than two dozen parents met with the principal and district officials to voice their concerns, and to fight to try to save their treasured teacher.

"Nobody has told us what the rational was for this," said parent David Wally. "Everybody is sort of telling us 'well it's a closed session matter, we can't really discuss what's going on.' But it doesn't seem right and it doesn't seem fair."

The principal told the parents she couldn't discuss the issue with them since it's a personnel matter. Students and parents say they aren't going to give up the fight until Silver is returned to her position.

"It's pretty hard to believe that's she's not a good long-term fit for Culver City High School and the ABPA," said student Brandon Blum. "Considering how many awards we've won; how many supporters she has."

The students say they are planning another rally in front of the school next week. Parents say they are making their voices heard at next month's school board meeting, all in hopes of getting Silver rehired.