I was a teacher in Mesa, Arizona. I had received excellent performance evaluations until I tried to report child abuse and neglect. The Principal ordered me not to report it and said she would not file the report either. When I mentioned that the law required reporting to police and/or child protective services she insisted that she was the only authority and I should mind my own business. However, the law said that as a teacher I must report all suspected abuse to the police or CPS or face a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. I made the report and both abuse and neglect were found. However, the Principal tried to write me up for insubordination and ultimately fired me for having dared to make the report. Of course there were a lot of games as she tried to put together a case against me. She claimed I was inadequate at teaching reading until the reading textbook company analyzed my lessons and said they were right on target. She claimed I had no class control until I videotaped my lessons forcing her to back away from that false accusation as well.
called the school board to complain and was told there would be an investigation. However three days later I was called and told that I was never told not to report child abuse. I offered to bring witnesses to the school board meeting but was told they would not be permitted to address the board because “it never happened.” In effect, I was fired for following Arizona law and the Mesa Public School board covered it up.
Lawyers all said I was right but then each time they would drop my case without a reason. I went to the dean of the U of AZ Lawschool and learned 85% of the judges in AZ are mormon and nearly all the school boards are mormon. According to the dean, any lawyer suing their fellow churchmen will never win a law case again. He said the dishonesty of the system saddened him and he could only recommend that I leave Arizona immediately. Instead I informed Mesa Public Schools that I would defend myself in court. But out of the blue I was shot at on the streets of Chandler Arizona in a location police claimed to have never seen that type of problem. Clearly they were sending a message.
I still refused and went to the media…but was told that they knew the Superintendent and he was a good Mormon and nothing like that could possibly happen in his district so they refused to investigate. I called the police. They came and talked to the primary witness (the school guidance counselor). They asked if abuse reporting policy was generally followed. She said “yes” and then offered to explain what had happened with the incident involving me. The police told her they did not want to hear about that and left the scene. More cover-up.
I then found a lawyer and thought my case could proceed. After several meetings the lawyer told me he was a former jogging partner of the Superintendent. He then told me to drop my case or the school would “fabricate” evidence and claim I abused children. I was outraged and told him that as an officer of the court he should be ashamed of himself. I vowed to do anything to fight this corruption. The next day police were at the school saying the lawyer had taken my statement of doing “anything” as a threat of physical violence. I was escorted off school property and blacklisted by the Mesa Public Schools.
I finally moved to Michigan and showed my documents to the EEOC. They said Mesa Arizona clearly blacklisted me from the teaching profession because I had a letter they sent to the Las Vegas schools saying not to hire me because I would be a threat to their system. The EEOC promised to take Mesa Schools to court on federal blacklisting charges. The case was sent to AZ, but the local federal agents there refused to investigate….turns out they were mormon too.
I had a masters degree in Education and had received very solid job performance reviews prior to the incident.Ê I had been teaching elementary school during the day and working teaching university graduate level courses in the evening. I had taught at three Universities and was regarded as an excellent teacher and a very good teacher-educator. My graduate classes had a three term waiting list as teachers wanted to get into the class and learn the innovative methods that were being taught. Later Mesa’s reaction was explained to me. A school administrator from another district pointed out that if the abused kids get moved to foster care then the district budget declines and they can’t afford that. “It’s all about the money” he said.
I figured this was a great story for the media. I contacted the Phoenix AZ television station and was told they know the Superintendent of Mesa Schools and that since he is a “good Mormon” this clearly could not have happened and they refused to investigate or talk to the witnesses.Ê Later I found out that TV station is owned by guess who?Ê Yup the Mormon church.
I am amazed that most Arizona middle schools and high schools are built next to Mormon churches. Why? Well, since the schools do not have large gyms they hold their all-school meetings in the Mormon Church recreation area. Also the kids are sent to the Mormon Church for religious instruction every week. When I asked if this was a violation of church and State, I was told that the kids could opt to be silent in a study hall instead of playing interactive learning games at the Mormon Church. And apparently a Catholic Church offered a program for one of the schools but they were turned down because they did not have a facility that was literally next door to the school. Pretty convenient planning on the part of the Mesa Schools and the Mormon Church which seems to be apparently designed to bypass the church and state laws.
Most Americans think the laws in America are universal. That is not true. Furthermore, the laws on the books are not necessarily enforced. When I left Arizona I was told by Child Protective Services that they have a long list of teachers who have been fired for reporting child abuse. I asked why they are not fighting for the teachers and was told their mandate is to protect the children not the teachers.
Furthermore, I can state that I personally saw the Mesa Superintendent of Public Schools violate State election law when it came to pushing through a millage initiative. He ordered employees to use school time to take down anti-millage signs that he felt were on public property. This is campaigning for a tax increase while being paid on government time (a violation of ethics and law). But I guess if you are Superintendent of Mesa Public Schools, you are above the law and you can cover-up anything you want as you manipulate the public, the media, and the teachers.
Many years ago my teachers told me that in a democracy we get the government we deserve. As long as the people of Arizona turn a blind eye to this type of corruption they get exactly the government they deserve….a manipulative, corrupt system of political cover-ups and back-stabbing.
A Former Public School Teacher