HAWTHORNE (CBSLA.com) — A teacher at a local charter school is out of the classroom after writing a multiple choice question on a history exam that mocked the neighboring public high school.
Last Thursday, about 15 students at Da Vinci Science High School saw a test question on an exam that read:
“Little known fact: the early years at Jamestown were characterized by violence, a lack of knowledge and the presence of many women of questionable moral character. A little like modern-day Hawthorne High School.”
A student in the 11th grade classroom took a picture of the passage, which quickly spread via social media to the neighboring high school it bashed.
“You don’t expect to see something like that, especially coming from a teacher,” one Hawthorne student said.
Superintendent Jose Fernandez’s reaction was more than just surprise.
“Outrage,” the Centinela Valley School District superintendent told KCAL9’s Louisa Hodge. “I was really upset about it.”
“It cannot be tolerated. These kind of actions cannot be tolerated because it pits people against each other, neighbors against neighbor,” he said.
“It’s almost a type of elitism” that suggests charter schools are better, Fernandez said.
Fernandez sent a letter through an attorney to the Da Vinci School’s Board of Trustees, referring to the act as “an unequivocal instance of bullying.”
According to the superintendent, the Da Vinci teacher was a former Hawthorne employee.
Matthew Wunder, Executive Director of Da Vinci Schools, immediately sent a letter of apology to Fernandez, saying the school is taking steps to “ensure that this never happens again.”
“We take responsibility and ownership of this and we are deeply apologetic,” Wunder said. “And we are taking this very, very seriously.”
While Wunder said he can’t identify the teacher or disclose the immediate response, he said the Board of Trustees will come to a decision on the matter Thursday.
Carrie Ludman, an 11th grader at Hawthorne High School, said she hopes the teacher will learn a lesson.
“I just really hope that the teacher refrains from degrading the other schools again and apologizes,” she said.