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26 September 2006 at 10:03:09 AM
and they saw nude statues. One of the children told his parents and the teacher was ultimately fired. Was this a newbie teacher? No. She taught in Frisco ISD for 6 years and has been a teacher for 28 years in Texas.
Art teacher Sydney McGee said she and principal Nancy Lawson had a "a very professional relationship" at Fisher Elementary School before McGee took a fifth-grade class on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art earlier this year.
"I've been down there many times, and it's not a place of pornography, it's a place of art," said McGee, who has taught in Frisco ISD for six years and 28 years in Texas schools.
The day after the April 26 field trip was when McGee said Lawson lectured her.
"I was asked to come to the office by the assistant principal and Nancy went on and on for an hour about how I should have planned the trip more and previewed the museum first," McGee said.
She then told the principal that she did preview the museum, and as a compromise, offered that they not take the field trip the next year.
At this, McGee said that Lawson told her there might not be a next year, and that they would have to see how Dr. Debra Nelson, FISD assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and Dr. Linda Bass, assistant superintendent for human resources, would handle the matter.
She said the principal then told her that, in her opinion, McGee was "no longer Frisco material."
After that, it appeared to McGee that she was being railroaded.
The teacher said that her yearly evaluations had always been good until the end of the 2005-2006 school year. But on May 4, McGee experienced an evaluation with Assistant Principal Manuel Gonzales that she called a "two-hour scathing."
"He was actually my evaluator, and she [Lawson] sat in on my evaluation, which I thought was odd," said McGee, who had never had two people sit in on an evaluation.
The principal and assistant principal reportedly marked down McGee's evaluation for legal issues.
"It was the first time in my career I had gotten a mark on one criterion below expectation," said the teacher. "She told me that she was putting me on a growth plan because of my poor teaching. And she told me that she was taking away my arts ambassadorship."
McGee got an attorney and even went to apply at a different school because she believed she was teaching in a hostile environment. She was denied being able to change jobs!
"The board decided that I was trying to look for an escape hatch to get away from Nancy," said McGee. "I didn't want to take the risk of being put on a growth plan and not getting my contract renewed in March."
At last Monday's school board meeting, McGee requested that her level three employee complaint session be open to the public, and she spoke to the board for over an hour. Afterward, the board retired to closed session. They returned and upheld the denial of the transfer request.
"It was a kangaroo court," McGee said. "The decision had already been made."
P.S. I find this extremely difficult to imagine. I hope Glen Rose ISD is not as narrow minded as Frisco. You know, there ARE NUDE STATUES in museums. But it's art. Should the teacher have made sure to not tour the entire museum or shuttle the kids away from anything that might possibly have been offensive?
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