Assistant Superintendent Staci Vesneske Silences Teacher

Last week I blogged about a teacher in Spokane who had been put on leave for passing out lyrics to a Blue Scholars song.  See post.   Since that time, a Facebook site sprung up in his defense.  See here The site announced that teacher Brad Read would be back to work soon, and this is confirmed by a story posted this morning in the Spokesman-Review.  His return to work was heralded by some, but when you read the details, the way the school treated him is pretty discouraging.  In order to be rejoin his students, Brad Read had to forfeit 19 days pay, and sign a “last chance agreement”.   Such an agreement makes it very easy for the school district to get rid of him even for a minor error.  Additionally, Brad Read had to admit wrongdoing, and agree not to make any public statements in his own defense contrary to that admission.  In other words, he had to agree to a gag order. 

I wondered in my earlier blog post who it was exactly that was imposing the discipline.  That question is answered by the disciplinary letter that Shadle Park School District provided to the Spokesman-Review.  The school official is Assistant Superintendent Staci Vesneske.  You can see why Staci Vesneske would have a problem with what Brad Read did.   Look again at the lyrics of the song he distributed.  The song is very critical of the public school system, a system in which  Staci Vesneske has thrived.  When the Spokane school district was under fire for having too many high paid administrators (rather than teachers), Staci Vesneske spoke in defense of the $175,000 salaries.  See source.   Why are the administrators getting paid so much when they are doing such a bad job of keeping kids in school?

When news came out that Brad Read was placed on leave, many people wondered why a teacher would be suspended just for distributing song lyrics that contained the word “fuck”.    People didn’t understand because the same word is in books in the current curriculum such as  “A Separate Peace”.  The truth is that the disciplinary action against Brad Read has less to do with the word fuck, and more to do with the criticism of Staci Vesneske’s school system.  I have never met or spoken to Brad Read, but you have to feel a little bad for a teacher who was forced to choose between the students that he loved and his first amendment rights.

3 Responses to “Assistant Superintendent Staci Vesneske Silences Teacher”

  • Karl:

    That back to work agreement is ridiculous. They made him fess up to everything but the Kennedy assassination in order to keep his job. Sounds like they really but the thumb screws to this guy. These overpaid admin types are real nazis.

  • Norbert Leute:

    This is not new to anyone who knows Spokane School District. IN May 2007, I reported verbal abuse/ degradation and neglect of specila education student in a behavioral classroom where the student attempt to hurt himself. There was no investigation, the disctrict falsified papwrok blaming it on me, they forced me to go a meeting that was disciplinary, they punished me without anything in writing and denied me access to documents that would of exhonrated me. Staci once told me that my military expereince meant crap to teaching and attacked me personally. This is how this district works. You can read my full story on endteacherabuse. In my six year fight, I learned I have no protection under labor laws and the 5th and 14th admendments. That school districts are above the law and can do what the want at their pleasure. No lawyers wants to touch this case. She was rewarded for her bad behavior.

  • Thanks Norbert. I hadn’t heard of that before. I will go check out that website!

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking:
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