Sign our petition to stand against the wrongful termination of SPS educators:
On the last day of the school year, June 7, three union organizers were fired without cause. All three had received offer letters for the 2019-20 school year. To our knowledge, no other SPS educators were fired that day. Use tinyurl.com/StandByUS to sign the petition demanding the immediate reinstatement of these teachers.
Unite Summit has worked to promote the retention of high-quality educators who are invested in our students’ success. Educators have the right to speak out about how to improve their schools without fearing retaliation. The California Educational Employment Relations Act, Section 3543.5.a, states that it is unlawful for an employer to “impose or threaten to impose reprisals on employees, to discriminate or threaten to discriminate against employees, or otherwise to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of their exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter.”
We are therefore calling on SPS leadership to respect Summit teachers’ legal rights to unionize, to own their responsibility to refrain from intimidation, harassment, threats or retaliation, and to immediately reinstate the three fired teachers — Aaron Calvert, Evelyn DeFelice, and Andrew Stevenson.
The three teachers who were let go are integral parts of their school communities:
Evelyn DeFelice is an English teacher who has been at Denali High School for two years. She mentors sophomores, who are now rising juniors and were told that she would be returning. She was not given a chance to speak to her mentees; in fact, she fully participated in last-day-of-school activities with the understanding that she would be returning, and she was then summarily fired and asked to leave campus after turning in her laptop and losing access to her school email account. Ms. DeFelice is a member of the Unite Summit Organizing Committee, and she is a five-year classroom veteran.
Andrew Stevenson is a physics teacher who has also been at Denali High School for two years. He mentors sophomores. His experience paralleled that of Ms. DeFelice. Neither were given a chance to inform their mentees of their dismissal. Both received positive feedback from their administrators during last-day-of-school faculty celebrations and were then informed they would not be returning. No performance-based justification was given for the decision. Mr. Stevenson is the elected bargaining team representative for Denali High School.
Aaron Calvert teaches Entrepreneurship and Adulting 101 for the Expeditions team, and he is a member of the Unite Summit Organizing Committee. He has taught for nine years and has been on the Expeditions team for three years, during which he has also taught an Exploring Music course. Mr. Calvert’s Adulting 101 course has been featured in multiple Summit newsletters and communications posts as well as profiled on the local news. Here’s what the SPS Superintendent’s end-of-year reflection newsletter had to say about the course; the TV news footage was filmed in Mr. Calvert’s class at Denali High School:
“Our California schools had a great Expeditions course offering this year, and we weren’t the only ones who noticed – our Adulting 101 class was featured on ABC7 News on January 18, 2019.”
Please join your colleagues, SPS families, and the larger community in signing our petition (also found at tinyurl.com/StandByUS) to Summit Public Schools administration to demand that Summit:
- Follow the law and honor the rights of teachers to organize our union, advocate for our students, and be treated with professional respect
- Immediately reinstate Aaron Calvert, Andrew Stevenson, and Evelyn DeFelice to their teaching positions
We believe it is our collective obligation as a union, as teachers, as peers, to protect the Summit Public Schools teaching and learning community. It is our collective obligation as a union to always come together to protect what is best for our students, which means leveraging our collective power against SPS when it acts out of step with this shared value. This means demonstrating our shared values by standing together and leveraging our collective power to correct this egregious act committed by SPS leadership.
Unite Summit Organizing Committee