Will GPS Finally End Race Discrimination? Find Out on Tuesday.

Citizens, agencies and organizations are closely watching Gilbert Public Schools because of egregious civil rights violations against teachers and students. It’s fitting that this next board meeting will feature the first invocation in 14 years, offered by Mayor John Lewis, Town of Gilbert.

We gave GPS Governing Board members evidence on which to base an employment decision and begin to make amends for wrongdoing perpetrated by members of the Good Old Boy network. Here’s our communication to the board along with evidence we submitted for consideration:

We saw that reinstating Gladis Mopecha is on the agenda for the July 8, 2014 board meeting. To combat innuendo and damage caused when GPS represented disputed facts as true in the past, we provide you with evidence so you can now make an informed decision to restore Gladis Mopecha’s teaching career.

When speaking on civil rights, both President Kennedy and Dr. King quoted Dante, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Please cast aside any temptation to be neutral or delegate your duty to decide. Please take this opportunity to make amends for the past, instead of perpetuating proven wrongdoing by past GPS administrators. You can showcase GPS’s commitment to equal opportunity and right grievous wrongs that have been inflicted on an accomplished, dedicated educator. Please do the right thing now, before another school year begins with the district’s reputation under a cloud of discriminatory employment practices.

We know from the mediation session we attended that GPS lawyers made allegations about Gladis Mopecha; we know those lawyers also stated that they and The Trust took no position on her reinstatement.  Now, it seems that anonymous allegations are being raised again. Please remember that those allegations are said to have originated with people who are, by law, mandatory reporters of abuse should a certificated teacher abuse a student. No reports were ever filed against Gladis Mopecha. No investigations ensued.

We attached three affidavits from people who have first-hand knowledge: a parent, a teacher colleague, and an administrator. The affidavits state that the not-so-secret allegations are lies and they all affirm that Gladis Mopecha is a good teacher. In balancing anonymous allegations versus sworn affidavits from people who take a risk in supporting Gladis Mopecha, the scales must favor reinstatement. Basing an adverse personnel action on flimsy anonymous accusations would be immoral. Taking any action based on anonymous complaints flies in the face of GPS Policy BHD.

There have been allegations that Gladis Mopecha was not a good teacher, but her GPS supervisors say otherwise in their evaluations of her performance and effectiveness. So did auditors from the Arizona Department of Education. We attach a summary of those comments with corresponding Bates numbers of documents GPS submitted to a federal court. If you would like to have complete copies, we’ll gladly and quickly oblige. We also attached letters of recommendation from GPS and schools where Gladis Mopecha worked; those were also submitted by GPS to the court. There can be no doubt as to the authenticity of these documents from GPS files.

A judge considered the district’s defense and found that two GPS principals and the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources subjected Gladis Mopecha to illegal discrimination and harassment based on her race and national origin (decision attached).  Gilbert Public Schools violated Title VII, Section 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for unlawful employment practices. GPS knew about this judicial finding in April 2011; lawsuits could have been averted, but previous GPS superintendents chose to do nothing to remediate the damage rogue employees had already caused.

The people responsible for this wrongdoing are no longer GPS employees; we urge you to disavow their misconduct and start to make amends by reinstating Gladis Mopecha now. Anything less would be further discrimination that puts a spotlight on continuing unequal treatment: you reinstated the white woman who faced equally outrageous allegations that also were never proven. The fact that The Trust settled both lawsuits speaks volumes about the futility of defending those GPS attempts to destroy the careers of two dedicated teachers. Predictions of doom from the dais before Sarah Green was reinstated were totally off-target; Sarah’s evaluation is attached, and you know the results of her intervention and remediation with students at Gilbert Junior High School. Next year should be even better.

Brian Yee confessed to being a convicted criminal, yet he was hired as a teacher, then he was promoted to principal. Lily Tram stated from the dais in 2013 in voting to give Brian Yee another contract, “We all make mistakes.” Gladis Mopecha made the “mistake” of having black skin and speaking English with an accent from her native country, Cameroon. How can you rationalize the dichotomy between how GPS regards Brian Yee and how GPS regards Gladis Mopecha?

Please make your decision on evidence, not anonymous allegations and destructive innuendo.

We posted this communication online so that citizens, agencies and organizations monitoring this case have the same information you have.

We’ll share the the vote tabulation.

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