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Different take on Ripon High teacher & CLAD fight
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
In today’s economic climate with jobs being a sought after commodity, it seems irrational to be asked to come to the defense of a teacher who refused to do what her employer asked her to do. (Letter to the Editor, June 1.) In the private sector employers are required to abide by all sorts of government regulations. If the employee refuses to adhere to the policies set forth by their work place, they are most certainly shown the proverbial door or maybe not, if you have big union money to save you.

In the letter regarding Ripon High School teacher Terri Messick, the writer states that this is exactly what Mrs. Messick did. She refused to sign a state mandated requirement to get her CLAD. She made the choice to disregard what her employer asked her (and every other teacher) to do. The District was even willing to help pay the associated costs. Still, she refused, which put the District in a no win situation; sue or be sued. Without the certification the District would basically be telling non-English students that they couldn’t participate in Mrs. Messick’s classes because she chose not to become qualified through the CLAD certification. That’s discrimination. Schools are supposed to be in the business of helping all kids learn, not throwing up road blocks to their education.

The alleged $30,000 that has been spent to date is just that, spent. It was spent because the teacher violated the rules set forth as an agreement of employment. To not proceed with the hearing would be a waste of all the money and time that has already been given up. There have been multiple appeals and the whole thing could have been avoided had Mrs. Messick accepted the responsibility not only to her employer (the District and taxpayers) but the students as well. She knew the consequence would be dismissal. Her co-workers accepted it and got their certification to avoid being terminated. Now, three years and thousands of dollars later she decides to comply (only partly) but still tries to place blame on the District. Mrs. Messick and the CTA (California Teachers Association) have had their day in court and they lost. That was the chance they took when Mrs. Messick refused her employer and the CTA advised her it was OK to do so. It’s sad to see any good teacher lose their job.

But what’s really a shame is that this teacher made a choice and took a huge chance that she didn’t have to take. It is a humbling reminder that none of us are indispensable and if we are fortunate enough to have a job we should be thankful.
Carla Travaille
June 3, 2010