Teacher bias at Rancho Campana H.S.

By Deborah Baber-Savalla

At least thirteen reports of election-related teacher bias at Rancho Campana High School in Camarillo (Oxnard Unified High School District) prompted this report.

This article is updated to the present and includes additions and corrections to the original article which inaccurately identified the high school and the superintendent associated with the 100-dollar “Death to Trump” bet. If only a few of the allegations herein are true, then the story is far more alarming than when I first penned this piece in February because it makes me wonder if a pattern of teaching bias exists in our school districts.

On January 20th, 2017 our 45th President was sworn into office. He swore allegiance to our nation and citizenry in time-honored tradition. Yet an English teacher, Mrs. Sarah Eglitis, at Rancho Campana High School reportedly was upset that she lost a $100 bet, since President Trump was not “assassinated on Inauguration Day”. (I urge you to reread the preceding sentence again, slowly.) I learned about this from a news story in which the parents of one of Mrs. Eglitis’ students became upset when they learned of her comments in the classroom from their child.

Todd Starnes, a Fox News & Commentary host, responding to an interview with the mother of that student, wrote the following in this February article:

“Our public schools have been commandeered by far-left radicals – and they are using American classrooms to radically change the culture. We must stand up to their dangerous agenda.”

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/15/teacher-lost-100-bet-because-trump-wasnt-shot.html

Since then, the parents have reported at least 13 other instances of anti-Trump teacher bias or other inappropriate teacher-student classroom exchanges. The other instances involve at least five different teachers at Rancho Campana High School.

 

November 9, 2016: Mrs. Butler (Biology), Grade 10: She told the class, “Trump hates women”.

November 9, 2016: Mrs. Eglitis (English), Grade 10: “It is raining in Southern California so much these days because Trump is President.”

November 9, 2016: Mrs. Garcia (French), Grade 10: “I feel like I just got hit with a 2 x 4 because Donald Trump is President.”

 

The New Year begins and from what is alleged, it appears the biased teaching and anti-Trump rhetoric continues.

January 20, 2017-Inauguration Day: Mrs. Eglitis (English), Grade 10: Tells class she placed a $100 bet on Donald Trump being assassinated at Inauguration.

January 23, 2017: Mrs. Butler (Biology), Grade 9: The teacher regales her class with a short tale of her “amazing” first-time activism at the Women’s March on the 21st and that until now she’d never been an activist but is now.

February 2017: Mr. Creech (World Civilizations), Grade 10: The teacher says, “The four horsemen of the apocalypse are death, war, famine, and Donald Trump.”

February 2017: Mr. Creech (World Civilizations), Grade 10: This teacher announces to his class that “Fox News is fake news.”

February 2017: Mrs. Butler (Biology), Grade 10: She shares with her class that she is “estranged from certain members” of her family because they are “conservative”.

February 17, 2017: ALL TEACHERS: The ENTIRE student body was forced to watch Jesse Williams’ BET 2016 Humanitarian awards acceptance speech wherein the performer denigrates white people (his mother is white), advocates taking the law into one’s own hands, and promotes anarchy as a means of achieving “equal rights and justice”.  Jesse Williams BET 2016 Humanitarian Award Acceptance Speech

February 23, 2017: Mr. Creech (World Civilizations), Grade 10: The teacher announces to his class that “Stalin is my favorite dictator”. He then hypothesized to the class about who would be a “better dictator” himself (Mr. Creech) or Trump”. During that same class Creech used the word “gun” telling the students they could get “extra credit” if he, Mr. Creech, brought a gun to school and if the students followed him.

February 28, 2017: Mr. Gibbs (Drama), Grade 9: This teacher allegedly allowed the bullying of one student by another when the teacher permitted the bully to single out another student in front of the class for being a “Republican”.

February 28, 2017: Mr. Gibbs (Drama), Grade 9: This same teacher allowed the performance by a student to perform a self-composed rap song which referred to the President of the United States as a “racist bastard”.

These concerned parents filed a complaint in February with Superintendent Dr. Penelope DeLeon’s office after Todd Starnes broke the “assassination” story on Fox News. Two weeks later the parents received a call from the Superintendent’s office and on March 22nd they met with Drs. Rocky Valles and Tom McCoy.

Valles told the parents that teacher Sarah Eglitis “felt very bad about her comment” (about an Inauguration assassination of President Trump) and that she “wanted to contact them”. Valles told the parents that the principal at Rancho Campana High School, Roger Adams, had told Mrs. Eglitis to “stand down”. The mother asked for assurance that “this won’t happen again” and was told by Dr. Valles that, “I can’t control what these teachers say but if you hear anything else concerning let me know.” Reportedly Valles and McCoy assured the parents that the Superintendent’s office would “continue to work with Principal Roger Adams to remind teachers of what is appropriate in the classroom”. The two PhDs ended the meeting with words to the effect that: “Election years tend to bring out these issues.”

According to the parents when they met with Valles and McCoy, neither of the men showed much interest in their complaint. The mother said Dr. Valles took a few notes while Dr. McCoy eschewed all note-taking. The educator-administrators’ dismissive attitude left the parents feeling like the meeting was more pro-forma than anything else. The two men did explain that teachers are “independent workers” so exercising control over them is “hard to do”. Dr. Valles is Assistant Superintendent for OUHSD and Dr. McCoy is Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services.

I conclude this article as I began it, noting the need to correct my original February article. In it I incorrectly cited Superintendent Angelica Ramsey as the offending “High Educator” because I thought Rancho Campana High School was in her district. The research on Superintendent Ramsey using several social media platforms certainly seems to suggest a strong left-wing, anti-Trump Administration bias.

I have no school-aged children, but my tax dollars are collected anyway and spent on public education which means I contribute to educators and administrators salaries. I do not like what I have seen so far whether at Rancho Campana High School or earlier this year at Anacapa Middle School in Ventura. I am deeply troubled at what appears to be a strong anti-Trump, anti-Administration teaching bias. It reminds me too much of communist-socialist indoctrination propaganda tactics. If I am correct, then it will take far more that a “village” to root out this ever-present danger.

Mrs. Savalla was a 33-year resident New Yorker where she enjoyed a decades-long career in book publishing finishing that chapter of her life as VP Corporate Administration for Macmillan, a half-billion dollar company in the US. As a guest instructor, she has also taught in middle school gifted and talented programs in Norfolk, VA and for a time lectured at colleges and universities on women’s rights in conjunction with performances of Half the Battle, a one-woman show Ms. Baber (Savalla) researched, wrote, and performed for nearly a decade.

 

Board Meeting April 05, 2017 –  Agenda  (Public Comments at 5 PM)

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22 Responses to Teacher bias at Rancho Campana H.S.

  1. Student at RCHS May 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I am a student at RCHS and what I’m hearing right now is unbelievable , you are all supposed to be adults not children , you guys are acting as if you know what goes on inside the school , I got to Rancho and I get called mean names all the time and get told to kill myself because I’m gay but those students weeent punished but a innocent teacher having a freedom of speech is so wrong , we are high schoolers , we are always gonna deal with people we don’t like , the students who complained need to suck it up and need to realize that their momma is not gonna bethere to kiss their booboo all the time , THERE WAS A SMALL MAJORITY of students offended by the statement teachers made , instead of outing to their parents and making them take it to court , ask the teacher to not bring it up instead of attacking her , if you agree with trump and etc , don’t SEND YOUR CHIKD TO RCHS are school is filled with acceptance and not hate , send your child to cam if your filled with that much hatrid , everyone deserves freedom of speech (not saying what she did was ok) but it wasn’t the worst , no matter child , teacher , student , minor , senior or a newborn god dam fetus , you deserve a voice .

    Reply
    • Citizen Reporter May 14, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      Dear RCHS student:

      1. If you were harassed, you have every right to complain and the school must have an investigation conducted

      2. Two students documented many offenses. Most were confirmed by an outside investigator, which you would know if you read our publication regularly. The “hate ” was in harassing you, instructional bias and attacking those who pointed it out.

      Reply
    • Elizabeth Hanson May 14, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      I am confused because both of the below statements are yours, yet they completely contradict each other.

      “I got to Rancho and I get called mean names all the time and get told to kill myself because I’m gay but those students weeent punished”

      “are (sp*our) school is filled with acceptance and not hate , ”

      If your fellow students are telling you to kill yourself, it doesn’t sound like a place of acceptance or tolerance. I am sorry you are going through this. You may want to reach out to one of the counselors at the school. Many students are transferring from RCHS to Cam High, perhaps it is for similar reasons. I hope that you report this to school administration that you are being harassed for being gay.

      Reply
  2. Manuela Walter June 8, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Dear “Students”,
    It is nice to see that you are reading the Citizens Journal. There is still hope for you. A few points… 1) Yes, we all have a right to free speech. HOWEVER, teachers and school administrators are public servants paid by taxpayers. Since the majority of you have likely not had a full-time, tax-paying job or the other responsibilities of being a “grown up”, you do not yet have an appreciation for what our tax dollars should and should not provide. Teachers and administrators must adhere to Department of Education Code of Ethics, which precludes them from verbalizing, showing, or promoting bias of any kind, in their classrooms. What they talk about outside of school to their own family and friends is their business. The classroom is no place for teacher’s personal political opinions, period. 2) The fact that one of you commented that you have not “heard a politically charged comment in a while” is both telling and positive. That means the teachers are taking this seriously, as they should. Had this issue not been made public, I assure you, this unacceptable, unethical behavior would have continued. 3) Just because more students did not come forward about the blatant political bias, does not mean they were not offended. As I’m sure you know, it is often easier to just remain quiet. The fact that one of you feels that what occurred is not a problem to the students at the school, but only to adults who don’t attend the school, this is why you are a student and we are adults. You have a lot to learn. And yes, this was a problem for other students at the school who may have chosen to remain silent. 4) Of course there are good teachers at every school who understand that they have a very important job teaching our impressionable youth, and they keep their personal political opinions out of the classroom. To those teachers, I thank you.

    Reply
  3. Not Indoctrinated June 8, 2017 at 10:07 am

    How can saying to your class that losing a $100 bet because Trump wasn’t assassinated on inauguration day, not be considered indoctrination? That teacher is a fraud because disguising indoctrination as education is child abuse. Your job is to teach children how to think, not what to think.

    People talk about diversity, yet how many teachers are conservative? If you are going to make your politics know to your students, allow your students to make theirs known without ridicule or prejudice.

    Reply
  4. LH June 7, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    IF the responses above were actually written by students attending Campana, they are indicative of the effective indoctrination of students to the progressive/liberal mindset that demands “group think.” I highly doubt that students wrote them, but instead were written by faculty/staff in the district who are tiring of the deserved negative press and attention to their failures as educators.

    ONE politically biased remark or activity is inappropriate in a taxpayer funded institution, a public school such as Campana. It’s wrong. It’s unethical. It’s illegal. The multiple FACTUAL instances of inappropriate and unprofessional comments point to the need for corrective action, not excuses, accusations of slander, or lies.

    Reply
  5. stop writing articles about my school June 7, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    who are you to disrespect and attack our wonderful school? how about you write an article about all the wonderful things we have accomplished rather than attack the teachers. Now i understand students are okay with what the teachers say about trump but when it’s about other ex candidates it just happened to be okay? It’s high school, everyone is different. let us have our freedom of speech

    Reply
    • Citizen Reporter June 7, 2017 at 9:55 pm

      This needed to be written about. It is a serious problem.
      |
      If you’d like to write an article about good stuff, please submit to editor@citizenjournal.us. If you had been reading this publication, then you would know that it has also published much good news about the schools in the past.

      Reply
      • you don't even go here June 7, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        You wanted to write this. It did not need to be written about. That is your opinion. It being a serious problem is YOUR opinion. Please write about things that are a problem to the students of our school, not things that are a problem to adults that don’t even attend our school.

        Reply
        • Citizen Reporter June 8, 2017 at 12:23 am

          Actually, I didn’t write this, but is is written about situations which are in violation of the law, so that’s serious. If they didn’t each you that in your school, then maybe it’s even worse than I thought. Please remember that California adults, at least the ones who pay taxes, pay for your school, teachers and administration, which is ultimately accountable to them. Sounds like you have a lot to learn yet.

          Reply
      • you don't even go here June 7, 2017 at 11:43 pm

        You wanted to write this. It did not need to be written about. That is your opinion. It being a serious problem is YOUR opinion. Please write about things that are a problem to the students of our school, not things that are a problem to adults that don’t even attend our school.

        Reply
  6. RCHS student June 7, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    As a RCHS student I can tell you with great certainty that we are proud of the incredible diversity found within out school. We have clubs supporting women’s rights, religion, sexuality/gender, and language. While most people respect this there are a few small minded people who find “offense” in this acceptance. Surprisingly, the people who find such offense in this are adults who don’t know our teachers or our schools. Our teachers work hard and care about every student. They should have the right to express their opinions just like teenagers should be able to express their opinions. Stop using children as your political pawns. Allow acceptance.

    Reply
    • Citizen Reporter June 7, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      If you are a student, then you should realize that you have a lot to learn about the requirement for objective handling of political issues in the schools. Not only is that reasonable, but it is the law. People don’t need to know the teachers in your schools, but only to know the laws/regulations and that they were broken.

      Reply
    • Citizens Journal reader June 8, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Dear adult who is posing as a RCHS student:

      Teachers DON’T have the right to express their personal opinions in the classroom. Students DO. Evidently, some students have expressed opinions that don’t seem to agree with your viewpoints. Maybe you need to listen to your own words of wisdom and “allow acceptance”.

      Reply
  7. RCHS Student (I will not give my real email.) May 23, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    I respectfully disagree with this article, as someone raised by conservative parents. These were only a few statements that were said by teachers; it’s not like they spend most of their time criticizing the conservative point of view or Donald Trump. I have most of these teachers and I have not heard a politically charged comment in a while. We are receiving quality education with the best technology and academic resources around. It is a shame that the quality of my school has to be determined by the “conservative-or-liberal” bias game.

    (As a correction, the Jesse Williams video was played in the middle of a morning school broadcast by the students, and none of the teachers had prior knowledge of its airing. The principal later issued an apology.)

    Reply
    • Camarillo parent June 8, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      You say “…I have not heard a politically charged comment IN A WHILE”.

      A wife beater hasn’t beaten his wife “…IN A WHILE”.

      My neighbor hasn’t starved his dog “…IN A WHILE”.

      I guess that makes it all ok.

      Reply
  8. I go to that school May 11, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petitition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
    Maybe first take into consideration the Bill of Rights before slandering the teachers. You have your opinions, the teachers have theirs. Their opinions aren’t hurting anybody but the actions of Trump are.

    Reply
    • Citizens Journal reader June 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Uh…you may want to go to Law school before you try sounding like a lawyer. You have a lot to learn.

      Reply
      • Madelynne Whitt June 14, 2017 at 7:29 am

        Maybe you should take an English class before you try sounding like a journalist.

        Reply
    • Kimberly December 19, 2017 at 11:53 pm

      Thank God and teachers for literate students.

      Reply
      • Citizen Reporter December 19, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        Looking at our dropping SAT and abominable “smarter balance” scores, I can’t say I agree.

        Reply
  9. Gregory Brittain April 7, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    If you love God, if you love America, and/or if you love your children, if at all possible, you will get them out of the government run schools where they will be indoctrinated against God, for Allah, against America and receive dumbed down education to prepare them to be good subjects rather than citizens of a Constitutional republic.

    Reply

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