East Bay

Teacher Rebuffed in Her Crusade For New Student Chairs

A battle between an East Bay high school teacher and her school district is making a lot of students uncomfortable - literally.

Amy Bellamy, who teaches ninth and 11th grade English at San Lorenzo High School, said she has tried for years to get her students new chairs; she even raised enough money to buy some herself. But, she said, the district won't let her use them.

The school district said the bottom line is Bellamy didn't follow protocol when she bought the chairs. Bellamy countered by saying she didn't know about protocol; she just knows what her kids need.

"They're great chairs," she said.

Bellamy now has the two dozen new school chairs stacked on her apartment patio while her students are stuck sitting in decades-old chairs.

Bellamy said she has been asking the school district for new chairs for three years, to no avail.

"I was like, 'Can I get new chairs? Is anybody going to order chairs? These are ridiculous.' I have kids getting poked, pinched, bleeding, their clothes are torn," Bellamy said.

As for the chairs she bought, Bellamy got the money from a GoFundMe campaign that raised nearly $700. She said the chairs meet all district criteria and they came from a legitmate school supplier. She thought she had solved the problem.

"My admin told me no, absolutely not," Bellamy said.

The San Lorenzo Unified School District emailed a statement, saying, "The issue here is the chairs were purchased without any approval from an unauthorized vendor, among other things. For the future, Ms. Bellamy can certainly request for a vendor to be reviewed for consideration."

The school district said it just bought $12,000 worth of new student desks and chairs that should arrive within the next few weeks.

But Bellamy said that’s still too long of a wait.

"I'm just tired. I'm fed up," she said. "It's not fair that my kids have to sit in that kind of condition in my classroom while they are trying to learn. They have enough going on in their lives; they don't need that too."

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