Local News

Wake School Board to Release File of Ex-Enloe Teacher

Posted October 16, 2007
Updated October 17, 2007

— The Wake County Board of Education has upheld the superintendent's decision to reassign Robert Escamilla from teaching duties at Enloe High School.

Tuesday night's decision came after Escamilla filed a grievance to have the decision and a 12-page reprimand letter overturned.

For the first time in 20 years, the board also voted to release information from Escamilla's confidential personnel file.

"Given the level of misinformation being presented to the public by Mr. Escamilla and his representatives, this board felt it was absolutely necessary to take the steps to protect our integrity," Rosa Gill, chair of the Wake Board of Education, said in a news release.

Escamilla was suspended with pay in March after Kamil Solomon, head of Kamil International Ministries Organization, handed out pamphlets critical of Islam to Escamilia's class.

School officials said Escamilla crossed a line. He was later reassigned to the alternative Mary E. Phillips High School.

Escamilla testified Monday before a grievance committee in his effort to get the reprimand removed from his employment file.

"I think what's been done to me is wrong," Escamilla said Monday. "I got singled out."

A number of students also testified on the social studies teacher's behalf.

The school board said it has uncovered issues regarding Escamilla's teaching performance. Material supporting the board's claims was to be released from Escamilla's personnel file Wednesday morning.

"This information will demonstrate to our community that the investigation into the situation involving Mr. Escamilla was thorough and fair and the actions of the superintendent and principal were justified," Gill said.

Escamilla and his attorney, Billy Strickland, said the board and superintendent have unfairly attacked his 18-year employment record.


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  • NeverSurrender Oct 17, 2007


    So that begs the question...what should our expectations of a teacher be?

    What I'd want to see in my child's teacher:

    - A person that will use the SCS as a guideline rather than a straitjacket.

    - A person that can bring a broad perspective and professional expertise to the material and hopefully present it in a way that is engaging and keeps the student's interest.

    - A person who will help the student achieve the educational goals as well as prepare them to survive in the real world once they're out of school by encouraging rational debate and critical analysis of the material that is presented.

    - A person who can present the material in a balanced fashion but isn't afraid to offer opinion as a perspective provided the opinion is disclosed as such and the students are free to disagree without fear of reprisal.

    - A person who is a real part of the team helping to educate my children (a job my wife and I do not plan on abdicating even when they go to school).

  • NeverSurrender Oct 17, 2007

    "Exactly, they don't allow variance as a matter of law. This is what this moron did, ALTERNATE FROM THE CURRICULUM."


    But did he? From the NC Standard Course of Study for ninth-grade World History:

    "8.02 Compare major Eastern and Western beliefs and practices, including but not limited to Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Shintoism, and locate their regions of predominance."

    Whilst the SCS mandates WHAT must be taught in a given year, it is mostly silent on HOW it is to be taught except in cases like this particular class where the teachers is offered the choice of teaching in order of goal, chronologically, or thematically.

    I think that allowing teachers that flexibility is actually a good thing. If the SCS dictated how to deliver the class, then what do we really need the teachers for other than to be essentially glorified proctors?

    Even though he made a bad choice of speaker in this case, the idea of speakers to accomplish the goal is OK.

  • just laura Oct 17, 2007

    skidkid269, for what it's worth, I took a world religions class taught by a fairly fundamentalist Christian. I was little wary when I heard that, but he did an excellent job of teaching the class in a fair and unbiased manner. So I don't think that it's impossible for someone of one faith to teach about another. It's just that it has to be someone who is there to teach, not preach, and doesn't come into the classroom with a personal agenda.

  • skidkid269 Oct 17, 2007

    Ken D,
    I agree with learning about other religions, but I don't agree with learning about the Muslim faith from a Christian, or the Jewish faith from a Muslim, etc. Teach about your personal faith; don't attack the other faiths. That is NOT teaching!
    As for the feeling that the BOE is using his previous performance as an excuse to let him go for this indiscretion, I believe this latest incident was the straw that broke the camel's back. That's just my opinion.

  • jeebk04 Oct 17, 2007

    Exactly, they don't allow variance as a matter of law. This is what this moron did, ALTERNATE FROM THE CURRICULUM.

  • jeebk04 Oct 17, 2007

    "So tell me how bloody hard can it be to come up with alternative time-lines for a subject when the content is standardised throughout the state."

  • NeverSurrender Oct 17, 2007

    "Never, First up-this ain't Mississippi. Second-we don't need any more alternate stuff in schools. Kids have enough trouble learning the basics. They can alternate all they want in college."


    Uh, OK.

    I'm not suggesting alternative anything and anyway North Carolina does not allow variance from the standard course of study as a matter of law.

    All I was suggesting was that the people who came up with the curriculum could easily come up with the checklists that can be used to measure whether the teacher is flogging the information to the students. Frankly, they know the state-allowed start and end dates of the school year...they could easily develop sample time-lines for the curriculum which individual districts or teachers could tweak based on local circumstances (teacher workdays, weather events, other events).

    It just seems absurd to subject teachers to the drudgery of lesson plans when the curriculum is already set and the only planning is for events the state can't plan for.

  • jeebk04 Oct 17, 2007

    nanny, this ain't about being PC. It is about us wanting our children to learn what they are supposed to in school. You can further educate your child at home and send them to college.

  • jeebk04 Oct 17, 2007

    Sorry got cut off :) I embrace learing basics of other cultures and religions. But what this man was beyond basics. He let his personal religious beliefs interfere and spent more than the appropriate time on the subject. My 8th grade teacher was Catholic, but she did her job and taught us the basics of the main religions. Then, kept it movin..

  • jeebk04 Oct 17, 2007

    Ken, we have all said we don't mind LEARNING ABOUT THE BASICS OF OTHER RELIGIONS.