SUNNYVALE – Parents and students at West Valley Elementary School rallied around their teachers Monday night. Students marched up and down the sidewalks shouting "We’re really mad, bring our teachers back."
Earlier this month, all 24 teachers and support staff at the high-performing South Bay school were told they’d be reassigned to other schools in the school district. The Cupertino Union School District, which West Valley falls in, says the change is due to tension among the staff, administration, and parents.
“We're just not sure what happened, what brought this on to break up this family,” said former school parent Kathy Pakzad
The teachers were told of the reassignment on the last day of school, but also told they could reapply for their jobs.
"We were just really surprised it went down so quickly, without any of us knowing about it,” said school parent Rick Gladfelter.
“You can't take my heart out of West Valley,” said Kindergarten Teacher Kathy White. “This has been my family. This staff has been my family."
White has taught at the school for 14 years, and says she and her fellow teachers were blindsided. They didn't think the tensions were bad enough for reassignment.
“It doesn't give any continuity to the children, and we don't understand how this could possibly be in the best interest of the children,” She said.
School Board President Phyllis Vogel disagrees and says it was the best option for the school. She wouldn’t elaborate on the change, saying it’s a confidential personnel issue.
“This is not anything we would hope to ever do again. It’s way too difficult and painful, but necessary,” Vogel said.
Last week, the teachers union and school district signed an agreement solidifying the reassignment. Vogel says they’ve hired a third of the school’s new staff.
Students aren’t giving up. They’ve lined the school with posters showing their support for the teachers. One parent says they plan to start an online petition to try and change the district’s mind.