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Reinstated Teacher Stages Protest before Pasadena Unified Board

Published on Friday, February 26, 2016 | 6:13 am

Reinstated Madison Elementary School first grade teacher Patricia Guzman staged a dramatic protest before the Pasadena Unified School District Board Thursday evening.

Removed from her classroom for six months following a dispute with Madison Elementary Principal Juan Ruelas, Guzman was allowed to return Monday morning, February 21, following a meeting with human resources officials, PUSD attorneys, as well as her own attorney.

Guzman had been suspended with pay in September by Superintendent Brian McDonald following an accusation of child abuse by then-newly installed principal Juan Ruelas, himself the subject of numerous complaints by Madison Elementary School teachers since his arrival.

Nine teachers at Madison Elementary have transferred out of the school since September.

An investigation of Guzman by the Pasadena Unified School District as well as the Pasadena Police Department produced no evidence of the charge of child abuse. She spent six months on administrative leave with pay.

Although she said she had been instructed by PUSD Human Resources officials not to discuss the incident with anyone, Guzman spoke exclusively with Pasadena Now before her board appearance.

Guzman said that her students and their parents were happy to see her and that Principal Ruelas also welcomed her back.

“One of my students saw me decorating the classroom, and said, ‘Oh, are you making our classroom happy again?’” said Guzman.

Guzman appeared Thursday evening in front of the school board members with her Attorney Skip Hickambottom and stood silently with an “X” fashioned with black electrical tape over her mouth for two minutes during the public comment portion of the monthly school board meeting.

The school board members showed no visible reaction to her protest.

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