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Teacher accused of calling student 'Jew boy' to leave district

March 28, 2012 |  9:32 am

A La Canada High School math teacher accused of calling a student "Jew boy" won't be returning to the district next year, according to the La Canada Valley Sun.

Gabrielle Leko and district officials came to an agreement that protected the district's financial interests and allowed students and staff to move forward, according to a statement issued by the school board. The amount of the settlement was not released.

The statement noted that Leko's conduct violated district policies but that authorities couldn't simply fire her. Instead, the district had to go through an extensive and costly process. The district voted in February to begin that process.

"The board appreciates that any payment amount in a settlement is not immaterial," the statement read. "However, the cost incurred as a result of this settlement would be exceeded by costs and resources that would be devoted to a long-term, adversarial hearing process without guarantee of ultimate success."

The controversy started in June, when then-board member Cindy Wilcox filed a complaint against Leko after she received reports that the teacher called a student "Jew boy" and made other offensive statements. In the fall, the district placed a substitute teacher in Leko's classroom so another adult was present.

The case created an uproar in the district, with some saying the district lagged in firing her and others saying she was the victim of a "witch hunt."

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-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

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