M-A teacher, school district settle dispute

A trial date had been set for a dispute between a Menlo-Atherton High School math teacher and school administrators over teaching assignments and classroom accommodations, but a showdown in court is off now that the two sides have agreed to settle.

According to a copy of the complaint, Manuel Delgado, who teaches two classes of basic algebra at M-A, sued the Sequoia Union High School District on allegations of discrimination and retaliation on the part of school officials and claimed damages that included emotional and mental distress and medical expenses.

John Shupe, an attorney representing the high school district, said the two sides reached a settlement on Friday, Oct. 14, but he would not discuss details. Mr. Delgado's attorney, David Secrest, has not yet responded to an interview request.

In the complaint, Mr. Delgado said he has Type 1 diabetes and an anxiety disorder.

The lawsuit names as defendants Principal Matthew Zito, vice principals Steve Lippi and Simone Rick-Kennel, math department Chair Gregg Whitnah, and Debbie Moore-Washington, an assistant superintendent with the district.

Among Mr. Delgado's specific complaints: the cancellation of the computer-oriented math class he had long taught and the assignment of other less credentialed teachers to its replacement. He was reassigned in 2008 to teach living skills and an English class for students preparing for the high school exit exam, material for which he said he had not been trained.

The defendants would not talk with the Almanac about this case, but Susan Vickrey of the Sequoia district's human resources office said in a telephone interview that Mr. Delgado is qualified to teach algebra 1, which is typically an eighth-grade class. His credentials "are extremely limiting if you're talking about teaching high school math," she said.

In 2009, along with the English classes, Mr. Delgado said in the complaint that he was assigned two classes of algebra for students with "below basic" preparation. The stresses associated with teaching these students, who present an "array of discipline problems," led two psychiatrists to recommend that Mr. Delgado not teach below-basic kids, he said.

About 30 percent of Sequoia district students are considered under-prepared, Ms. Vickrey said. "It would be far-fetched to find any teachers who don't teach below-basic and far-below-basic kids (simply) because they are so much of our population."


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Posted by Michael
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Shouldn't this guy be happy that he had a job in today's economy?

Like this comment
Posted by Arch Conservative
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Educational PsychoBabble at it's finest.
How do psychiatrists get involved in teacher assignments?

Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm

High school Algebra I is for those students who did not pass 8th grade Algebra,as stated by Susan Vickrey in the article. Anyone hired to teach Algebra has lower performing or less skilled students to teach, be they incoming 9th graders or 10th, 11th or 12th graders. Every student has to pass Algebra. Common knowledge - so why would Mr. Delgado think differently and sue the district!?

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Arch Conservative - it's not your money. Yes, it's taxpayer money - paid to the government, & therefore, not your money, anymore.

I sympathize w/the teacher in that he is saddled w/health issues that are difficult & teaching is stressful. I also sympathize w/the school, because they need teachers who can handle a lot of stress. I am sure that there is more to this that we're not privy to.

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Posted by Interesting
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Let's see if I have this correct:
A guy has been teaching 8th grade math for a long time, but now they decide he's more qualified to teach English and some BS "living skills" class than HS math, plus they drop him into classes filled with miscreants?

Sure sounds like he [portion removed, terms of use] the wrong person and is paying for it now.

Your tax dollars, hard at work!

Like this comment
Posted by Unknown Person
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Nov 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm

He's my math teacher. lol

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