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Local News in Brief : Simi Schools Agree to Remove Reprimands for 8 Teachers

Simi Valley school officials agreed Friday to remove letters of reprimand from the personnel files of eight teachers who wore political buttons on campus and to review a 20-year-old district rule that forbids “partisan politics in our classrooms.”

In exchange, a Simi Valley teachers’ union agreed to drop a suit it filed last week claiming that the district had violated the teachers’ constitutional rights to freedom of speech, said Hal Vick, executive director of the Simi Valley Educators Assn., which represents the district’s 800 teachers.

Under terms of the agreement signed Friday afternoon, district officials and union members agreed not to comment on the settlement, Vick said.

The Simi Valley school board is scheduled to review its ban on campaign buttons at a meeting Tuesday night, said Pamela Spencer, district spokeswoman.

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The dispute began several days before the Nov. 8 election, when principals ordered teachers to remove campaign buttons that called for the passage of Proposition 98, a school-funding measure, or backed candidates for the school board.

All but eight teachers obeyed the orders. Those eight--two from Royal High School, five from Valley View Junior High School and one from Sequoia Junior High School--were issued notices of 2-day suspensions without pay.

The school board rescinded the suspension notices and decided to put letters of reprimand in the teachers’ personnel files.


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