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Students protest Marshall High teacher removal


About 150 students at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz did not report to their first two periods of class today to protest the removal of a popular teacher.

The instructor, Larry Welch, teaches several honors and Advanced Placement courses and also coaches the school's academic decathlon team. He was removed from his position last week and is being kept out of the classroom pending an investigation, according to Los Angeles Unified School District officials, who declined to disclose the reason for Welch's removal.

Students gathered at the front of the school and chanted "What do we want? Welch!" and said they wanted the investigation to be conducted quickly. Several students said they were concerned that their Advanced Placement English literature course could be canceled because Welch was one of the only instructors credentialed to teach the course. A substitute teacher taught the class for several days, and a permanent, credentialed teacher will take over on Wednesday, according to the school district.

A Times story last spring detailed the district's handling of teachers who are pulled from the classroom. Some cases took years to be completed and several teachers complained that they were removed from school without any explanation.

-- Jason Song reporting from John Marshall High School

Photo: Anastasya Lloyd-Damnjanovic, 17, protests in front of John Marshall High school over the removal of AP English teacher Larry Welch. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (29)

holy crap, i was in academic decathlon years ago when welch and jones were our coaches. i hope everything works out for the best? why did they remove him?

This is an incomplete story. Why isn't there any reporting about why he was removed?

Hi. I'm on the Aca Deca team this year. There are no definite answers to his removal. He literally walked out of the school one day and bid his third period (AP Lit) good luck. He didn't say anything else, just walked out. No one can give us any answers so it's very irritating. It's been a week and the school has been scrambling to get a replacement. Hopefully everything will work out and he will be reassigned to Marshall soon.

Im one of Mr. Welch's students in his AP Literature class and i agree that its absurd to suddenly remove a teacher that is so important to our SLC. He is the coordinator of our SAS program and we really need him back. All our high school lives weve been told that welch was going to be our Senior english teacher, bu then all of a sudden he is taken out and we are all left in wonder of why. Why was he taken away? All we really want is to get our teacher back amd if it called for a protest, well, the students gave them one.

OMG! i saw this wen i came to school this morning. i was like.. i wouldve loved to support it. but i doubt my 1st and second teachers wouldve let me. as a current marshall student, i say.. "What do we want? Welch!"

It is unknown at this point why Welch was removed, but we're trying our best to get him back.
This has really blown out of proportion and they need to just re-admit him.
He is really a great teacher. None of us want to see him leave.
Hope for the best.

Nice picture Anastasya.

fyi, larry welch was once on an episode of the soap opera "bold and beautiful"

look it up! ah, that crazy rascal.

I remember Mr. Welch's classes. He's an extremely skilled teacher and despite occasionally being strict, had a good releationship with many students. I don't know why he was removed, but it certainly had nothing to do with his abilities as a teacher. We are owed an explanation at the very least.

Unless the democratic body at John Marshall High school collectively organizes and demands the return of Larry Welch, he won't be returning to Marshall...ever.

This sounds very unfortunate. I read the Times story on housed teachers, and I have mixed feelings of anger and concern when teachers are housed pending what could be a very long investigation. I do hope that the investigation upholds this teacher, but, as a parent, I am relieved to see that the district is acting. We don't know what is behind all of this and I applaud the district's sense of caution. We can't allow emotion to persuade us to act hastily.

This drastic change has really impacted many students and their curriculum which is why the district needs to bring back Mr. Welch, whose talent holds the key to the student's success.

This drastic change has really impacted many students and their curriculum which is why the district needs to bring back Mr. Welch, whose talent holds the key to the student's success.

It seems irrational for the LAUSD to remove a teacher in the middle of a semester without any real explanation. Not only does it open the path to unprecedented rumors (that apparently get worse as they spread from Track to Track---the magnet should know what i mean); but it makes you doubt just how concerned they are about their students education. As one of Welch's students, and the one who is responsible for overlooking his Humanities class, its become undeniable that Welch was irreplaceable. Hopefully this civil disobedience will pressure the District to accelerate the pace at which this "investigation" is going.

where was this kind of support when chse was removed? chase, who is a far more important to marshall than mr welch, should have had this support if not more. he is the reason why sas is around to begin with and why so many students went on to amazing schools

There's no reason to protest or start petitions in the first place. No one has a clue what's going on. As an 11th grader in JMHS, students don't even know if they're supporting an innocent or bad guy. Average teachers don't get investigated out of nowhere. Wait for the facts before starting a commotion.

Steven DeLaCruz is right. Without any facts the protesting students jumped on the bandwagon. I've had Welch for AP Lit and honestly, when I heard about him being investigated, I was not surprised. I respected him as a teacher but hated him as a person. I admit he may be a good teacher and an academic asset to John Marshall HS, but what do we really know about him aside from what we see at school. This could be something as simple as a school board investigation into a parental or student complaint or a serious criminal investigation. During my time in his AP Lit class, I've seen a few instances where his strictness crossed into verbal abuse.
Furthermore all this complaining by the students about not being given an explanation as to why he was removed just shows how much an 11th grader knows about the real world. If the investigation into Welch is ongoing, then any info given could potentially interfere with the investigation. As to the people wanting to expedite his case, sure that's fine but we live in a bureaucracy and there is an established process for things. It's good to see students support their teachers but Steven is right, "average teachers don't get investigated out of nowhere." I hope everything works out for the best but I hope the students keep in mind that even though they look up to and respect Welch he is still capable of doing wrong and as such he will be held accountable for anything he does like everyone in society.

Clearly, when allegations of abuse against a teacher are made, the teacher must be immediately removed pending an investigation. That is simply a matter of student safety. But these inquiries cannot be open-ended. A year is an unconscionable length of time for an investigation to continue. Such a slow-motion investigation does a disservice both to the accused teacher, to her or his students, and the academic programs and school reputation that depend on them.

If the protests at Marshall are aimed at expediting the investigation process, both the School Board and the Mayor's office should take these complaints seriously, and act to reform LAUSD policy accordingly. Excellent educational assets like Welch and Chase deserve a fair and timely hearing, and should be retained if the charges against them are found to be without merit.

Larry Welsch may have been a good teacher but he did many shady things in the past. I was a victim of one of those incidents where he refused to apologize and left the church without making up for his failures by at least accknoledging his sin. I have no pity for him at all.

I know Larry from previous theatre experience together. All that glitter is not gold. He was a phony and treated people bad.

I knew Larry from church and theatre. He helped my writing career as a playwright but he damaged me as a person. I can't go into the details but being that he was a joint church member he never apologized for what he did and in that stage of his life he was a self absorbed actor. He did not take the high road.

Mr. Welch is a great teacher regardless of all the disparaging and degrading.We all know Mr. Welch was not exactly a people person. However, please keep in mind that we do not want him back at our school because of his personality. We want him back because he is an important asset to John Marshall High School and the School for Advanced Studies.

Jane Hoffman and Julie Martin you too have some recumbent against Mr. Welch and you should shut up because this about him being a great teacher and not some "sin" or the fact you dont like him. Mr. Welch is unique character but as teacher he was alway trying to do what was best for the students. It truly hurts me that the school district has no they have removed one of the best teachers out there. As one of his old students he was an amazing teacher and i truly thank him for letting me enter college better prepared than most students. All of those who protested thank you !!!! and i hope marshall gets him back !!!

I think some of you students are to young to realize that every action we have in life has a consequence. Our lives are not hidden anymore. That is why you should live your life with character and never burn anyone's ass.

To Libby and other single minded people:
Opportunity arises when people of your past crop up and you have to seize the moment and enlighten people. A lot of people have talents and are gifted who are majorly flawed. It is not up to you to judge my motivations. I am using this tool as an opportunity to shed light on his character which you do not know of. In the world of high school fish bowls, maybe you should read Shakespeare to know the depth and breadth of human character.

@ Jane Hoffman: It certainly takes a particular type of character to come out of the woodwork and complain about a person's "sin" when they're in some sort of dilemma of which you have no knowledge, let alone calling it an "opportunity".

I wouldn't call your efforts "enlightening". On the contrary, it's pathetic.

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