SHERMAN OAKS (CBSLA.com) – The controversy swirling around the fate of a Sherman Oaks charter school principal set the stage for a heated school meeting Monday night involving parents and district officials.
Kesia Doucette serves as principal of Riverside Drive Charter Elementary School. Los Angeles Unified School District officials confirmed to CBS2 Monday that she is on what they termed a “self-imposed” leave of absence.
According to both parents and some fellow teachers, at this point Doucette is not facing disciplinary action as far as they know.
Doucette’s supporters say the issue stems from a small group of parents who want her fired for reasons they claim range from pettiness to racism. Doucette is African-American.
“You have a principal who is African-American, who is very ethnic in the sense that she is a beautiful, voluptuous woman, very intelligent, braids in her hair, they don’t like that,” parent Lisa Fields said.
LAUSD officials took questions from parents Monday evening during a packed Q&A session at the school. A majority of those who attended the meeting were in support of the principal. A small group of LAUSD officers were even on hand in case tensions boiled over.
Many parents were demanding answers regarding what the allegations against Doucette were. Were they bad enough for LAUSD to investigate?
“Unfortunately, with confidentiality laws, you cannot let anybody know,” said Dr. Scott Mandel with the teacher’s union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). “Just like when teachers are ever removed from a classroom and parents get upset, ‘why aren’t we told?’ You cannot be told.”
The group that opposed the principal told CBS2 they did not want to speak on camera because they feared for their safety. Many of them were escorted to their cars following the meeting.