While La Cañada Unified officials continue studying options to end the employment of a controversial math teacher, her students will be allowed to move to another class, district officials announced this week.
After deliberating for three hours in closed session Monday morning, the third such session they have held on the issue, school board members took no formal action on a complaint filed against La Cañada High teacher Gabrielle Leko. In June, Cindy Wilcox, a board member at the time, filed a formal complaint with the district, alleging that Leko called a ninth-grade geometry student “Jew boy” and made other racial and ethnic slurs.
The board is pursuing other disciplinary options and is recommending that district counsel reach a settlement with Leko that could lead to her leaving the school district.
Board President Scott Tracy read a statement after the closed meeting that said the board has “unanimously directed counsel to pursue the option of a settlement agreement … that would result in the employee’s separation from the District.”
Tracy also said that regardless of what happens with the complaint, all of Leko's current students will have the option of switching to another class at the beginning of the second semester. Currently, officials have placed a substitute teacher in Leko’s classroom so there is another adult present.
The district posted on its website earlier this month a job opening for a La Cañada High School math teacher, but officials declined to comment on whether the posting was connected to the complaint filed against Leko.
Wilcox and parent Debra Archuleta, the sole parent to add her name to Wilcox's complaint, were the only audience members on Monday.
“I’m in favor of them reaching a settlement with the teacher and I’m pleased to see them offering an alternative option to students for the second semester,” said Wilcox. “I think they’re headed in the right direction.”
-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News
[Editor's note: This story has been updated from a previous version.]