LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An instructor at a downtown Los Angeles school believes he was placed in “teacher jail” because of two student-submitted science fair projects.
Greg Schiller, a science teacher at Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts, was suspended in February, the same month the students entered their projects in the competition.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen reported one of the entries was an air cannon and the other was an electromagnetic coil gun, which freshman Asa Ferguson submitted and was later confiscated.
“It has appliances in roller coasters and spaceships. It’s been theorized to be able to launch spaceships in space for cheaper,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson believes the word “gun” caused his project to be pulled.
“I think that if I had said it was an electromagnetic propulsion system it would not have been taken out,” he said.
Asked if the school district has formally told him why he’s in “teacher jail,” Schiller said, “In writing, no. I have not received a formal written note as to why I’m in ‘teacher jail.’”
In a statement, Tom Waldman, the director of media and communication at the Los Angeles Unified School District, said, “There is an ongoing investigation, therefore, we cannot comment. It is the practice of the Los Angeles Unified School District to reassign an employee to a non-classroom setting when there are allegations related to student safety.”
In the meantime, students have planned a silent protest before school Thursday and Friday in support of their beloved teacher.
“We’re going to be wearing duct tape over our mouths and a sign that says, ‘We will not speak until we reinstate Schiller,’” freshman Sara Moran said.