Parenting News / Venice Gamble

Teacher at Prestigious Los Angeles School Accused of Bullying by Stephen Fixary

Via: ReleaseWire

Updated 2:28 PM CDT, Mon, June 08,2015

Los Angeles, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/08/2015 -- Dozens of anti-bullying protestors rallied at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth.

California where a family of a sixth grader has filed a complaint against a history teacher for bullying.

Steven Mattes, father of the student, says he has tried to work with school administrators to rectify the situation through numerous emails, and has only run into resistance from the school.

"This is purely a rally for anti-bullying," Mattes said. "Get the message across to children that bullying is not right parents and the administration will in fact listen."

The California Board of Education has had a policy since 2001 stating that a student's environment will be safe from psychological harm.

The policy of the state board says [it] "Believes that students cannot benefit fully from an educational program unless they attend school regularly in an environment that is free from physical and psychological harm," according to California State Board of Education Policies & Education Principles.

"Comprehensive plans and programs will provide a positive learning environment," The California State Board of Education Policy #01-02 states, "through the implementation of programs and strategies that develop a student's sense of family and school connectedness, self-esteem, personal and social responsibility, character, and ability to resolve conflict in a positive, constructive way."

In a statement from Head of School, Jim Skrumbis, he discredits the families' allegations by calling their efforts a "sham," and saying that an "Investigation cleared Mr. Winfield of any wrongdoing."

In numerous emails between Mattes and the school administrators, Mattes poses questions and requests that the school officials have side stepped. They have presented solutions that only push the student out of the school.

"[The student] continues to be absent from school and we have not received a doctor's note. As a result, we will no longer send work home. At the end of the year [the students] transcript will reflect incompletes in all her classes," reads in emails from Skrumbis to Mattes.

In the school's Philosophy statement read in part, "The relationship between teacher and student is at the heart of every excellent academic institution. Sierra Canyon School cultivates this relationship by providing a dynamic learning environment that facilitates positive growth among all members of the school community."

The Mattes family would debate Sierra Canyon to the degree at which they provide positive growth.

"The school has made its position clear. I have nothing more to add," Skrumbis said in an email. "It's all bull$#!t." said Howard Wang, a founding director of the schoolat the march referring to the situation. Sierra Canyon School did not return calls or comment.

Protestors said that the goal of the rally was to give a voice to the students and to let them know it is safe to stand up and report bullying from other students and faculty.

"They don't realize that they are supposed to be creating a positive environment not a negative environment," a protester named TJ Tyson said. "I'm sorry, that's not what a school is supposed to do, the school is supposed to encourage you and help nurture you and grow you, not be negative and stunt your growth."

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