A 3-2 vote to accept the resignation of 16 teachers concluded a heated public meeting at the Lemon Grove School District Board meeting Tuesday night.
The 16 teachers in question were probationary teachers and would fail to be re-elected to teach again next year. The teachers resigned because failure to be re-elected goes on their teaching record.
"Non re-elected means the kiss of death for your teacher career," teacher Maria Oelrich said.
Oelrich says she felt forced to resign because the district told her she would not be re-elected and gave no reason why.
"I just needed to speak up today regardless of how they vote. Because I haven't done anything wrong."
Board members told meeting attendees that the resigning teachers were unfit to return to their schools.
Eighth-grade student Emma Contreras disagreed.
“Mr. Daniel was my third-grade teacher and was a great teacher. I do not approve of the district decision,” she told the board.
The decision not to re-elect Oelrich and 15 others angered parents and students alike. School board officials said San Diego County Sheriff’s Department deputies were brought to the meeting to keep the peace.
“I want my teachers back and I know everyone else does. What do you want? Do you want 16 teachers? Cause I want my 16 teachers, not just any,” another student added.
Public comment concluded with some on the list not getting a chance to speak. In the end, the words from those who spoke before them did nothing to sway the board.
“Everything that was just said means nothing? That doesn't buy us more time? That's ridiculous,” a parent shouted from the audience.
Board members said the district has the right to decide not to re-elect teachers without offering a reason why.