yvette felarci featured
Yvette Felarcia

The Berkeley Unified School District has placed Yvette Felarca, a Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School teacher who is also a controversial anti-racist activist, on administrative leave “pending an investigation into concerns that have been raised.”

Felarca was placed on leave Wednesday, according to Charles Burress, district spokesman, who declined to be more specific because it was a personnel matter.

But Felarca and members of a group in which she serves as a political organizer, BAMN, or By Any Means Necessary, said the investigation is connected to her actions at a counter-protest against white supremacists in Sacramento on June 26. A television station filmed Felarca taunting and hitting a neo-Nazi attending the rally led by the Traditionalist Worker Party, a white nationalist extremist group. Felarca, along with a number of others, was injured in the confrontation. Film clips show her with a head wound.  

A day after the confrontation, which received national news attention, King officials received an anonymous email that said “if certain actions were not taken against the teacher within the week, someone would come to King with the intent to harm students,” according to a statement released at the time by school officials. As a precaution, day campers from groups renting space at King were moved to another location. (No BUSD students were on site). The FBI determined that it was a low-level threat but Berkeley police increased patrols around the school.

The violent video of Felarca hitting a neo-Nazi delighted her supporters, who praised her for fighting against the backlash against immigrants that they believed Donald Trump had encouraged. But it also concerned many parents and community members, some of whom signed a petition calling for Felarca’s ouster. More than 500 people – many outside of Berkeley – signed the petition.

Felarca and BAMN declined to share with Berkeleyside the letter BUSD sent outlining the investigation. However, in comments made before and at a BUSD school board meeting Wednesday night by Felarca and her supporters, it appears BUSD is looking into whether Felarca “indoctrinated” any students with her political views; whether she took excessive time off, perhaps to engage in political activity; and whether she spoke badly of the BUSD administration.

Felarca said she has been ordered to stay off BUSD property. The district also went into her bank account and removed her August paycheck, and indicated it will garnish more funds in the future, she said. District officials also took some of Felarca’s students out of her class on Wednesday to question them, she said, without their parents’ permission.

Felarca said BUSD’s actions are a “witch hunt.”

“I believe the District’s actions against me are politically motivated, capricious and unlawful,” she wrote to Berkeleyside in an email. “This cannot be allowed to stand, or allow the District Administration to set a precedent that would give them the right to conduct political witch-hunts against teachers who challenge the racist, xenophobic politics of Donald Trump and his ilk, and who challenge the increased segregation and growing inequality within the Berkeley Public School System.”

“Management’s disciplines against me are based overwhelmingly on my off-duty political activities and my political affiliation with the national civil rights and immigrant rights organization BAMN. The BFT (Berkeley Federation of Teachers) is filing a grievance on my behalf,” wrote Felarca.

Cathy Campbell, the president of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, confirmed that the union will be filing a grievance on Felarca’s behalf.

Felarca and a number of supporters attended the school board meeting Wednesday night to complain about her suspension. Many King teachers testified that Felarca was a good teacher, one who cared greatly about her students.

“She’s an amazing teacher,” said one woman. “She doesn’t just teach to the middle, to the top. She teaches to all of them. [I traveled to Sacramento with her] “and didn’t hear any indoctrination. I heard a teacher who was deeply caring about her students.”

Felarca said if she is not reinstated, she and her supporters plan to protest again before the school board before their next meeting.

“I promise you, you will not get away with this,” Felarca told members of the school board.

Check out numerous videos of Felarca’s supporters talking to the school board here.

Related:
Petition to fire Berkeley teacher garners 500 signatures (07.14.16)
Anonymous email threats sent after Sacramento rally linked to teacher (06.26.16)

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...

72 replies on “Berkeley school district places teacher Yvette Felarca on administrative leave”

  1. I want this twat out of MY city. I was born in Berkeley, am a property owner in Berkeley and pay taxes to Berkeley and Alameda County. I am fed up with this fvck-tard mentality, especially this bvll-sh1t of by any means necessary. They’ve assisted in ruining a once great city. No wonder Shattuck, Telegraph and University are sh1t-holes. Because of people like Yvette and her minions. By any means necessary can go both ways, Antifa.

  2. What she did last night at Berkley is unexcusable. She needs to be fired. Violence and hate is not a dissenting opinion

  3. Trump is against ILLEGAL immigration… just like he’s against ILLEGAL sex.

    Trump is against illegal sex? He seems to be in favor of illegal sexual assault – as long as he is the one doing it.

  4. How did they take her paycheck out of her bank account? And administrative leave is paid. It’s not a coincidence she didn’t release the letter.

  5. > “Ms. Felarca’s outside activities have no bearing on her pedagogical performance”

    Try being a pimp outside your day job of teaching. See how that flies.

    EVERY enterprise has a “good name” which it protects. There is probably a clause in her contract about not bringing ill-repute to the Berkeley school system.

  6. > “her actions at a counter-protest against white supremacists”

    TWP members were peaceful. They aren’t “supremacists.” They just think white lives matter, too. BAMN goons were the aggressors, encouraged by Ferlaca. She’s a Leftist supremacist Marxist.

    > “A television station filmed Felarca taunting
    and hitting”

    Indeed it did catch her in that act.

    > “Felarca, along with a
    number of others, was injured in the confrontation. Film clips show her with a head wound.”

    That sometimes happens when you start fights. She, however, hit her head when cops pushed her aside. Drama queen that she is, she now tries to play victim. Did she lose the feminist memo that said not only is violence NEVER okay, even words can be violent?

    > “The violent video of Felarca hitting a neo-Nazi delighted her
    supporters, who praised her for fighting against the backlash against
    immigrants that they believed Donald Trump had encouraged.”

    Her supporters are hypocrites and liars. Trump is against ILLEGAL immigration… just like he’s against ILLEGAL sex. Leftists want illegals to rape America, penetrating its borders after being repeatedly told No.

    Now, why no mention of BAMN using knives to attack peaceful protesters, getting stabbed themselves when TWP fought back? Why no praise for TWP members fighting back against SJW attackers?

    > “I believe the District’s actions against me are politically motivated”

    As if her criminal acts weren’t! You can bet that if a male teacher had incited violence and attacked women he’d have been fired ASAP. Yet Yvette pretends to teach non-violence!

    > “political witch-hunts against teachers who challenge the racist, xenophobic politics of Donald Trump and his ilk”

    Right. Demonize Trump, encourage others to attack him, then talk about free speech and tolerance. The racist is Ferlaca. She and HER ilk felt free not just to attack whites, but brag about being violent on camera.

    > “I promise you, you will not get away with this,” Felarca told members of the school board.

    Spoken like a member of Hitler/Hillary Youth! She wants, in the name of comity, to be able to physically assault people with impunity.

  7. I think you missed the point, Felarca is inciting violence and promoting racism against whites..she doesn’t belogng teaching in a class room, she belongs behind bars

  8. Nope, a parent of a kid that was in her class. She is an amazing teacher. If she was convicted fine, fire her, but apparently the police who have more than a short video, felt no crime was convinced.

  9. Let’s talk about the stabbing then. What else do you know about the injured? Why so little public info. released? Were they minors involved with BAMN? Did they punch away reporters?
    I too have noticed that BAMN/Antifa are a SEA of white people prodding young activists of color to the front.

  10. She doesn’t indoctrinate but her public stunts are notorious amongst the students-so she is a representative of BUSD and needs to conduct herself accordingly. On the job or not. Assault is a crime as well. If she shot someone off grounds she would be dismissed. What’s the big deal. It would be hard for even the Union to represent such a polarizing figure.
    She also has a YUGE ego. Her sense of self-importance is amazing. Life goes on without Felarca. #SeeyaFelarca

  11. The video says you are lying. No one was attacking Felarca — SHE did the initial punching and assaulting. You are lying.

  12. My standards for trusting someone to be around my child are different than the legal standard for a terminating the employment of a government employee.

    Also, I don’t know what swimmer you are referring to nor the indecent that you mention.

    The problem with firing teachers that have controversial views is that they should generally be protected but that can lead some to take advantage of that tolerance.

    The question in this case, is she going to be charged with a crime? If so, perhaps putting her on paid leave would not be unreasonable. But if she is not going to be charged with a crime for behavior observed far away from school, as deplorable as some may find it, then I don’t see the legal grounds for firing her. Condemning her socially, that is your prerogative.

  13. Funny how that’s not what other people saw or reported. And, as far as “hate-filled” goes, BAMN is no better than the white supremacists.

  14. shes controlled opposition, a fake, and probably funded by goerge sorros, i would take my kids to another school or out of public schools.

  15. She didn’t start shit! I was there. These hate filled racist ass clowns were literally allowed to show up 30min early, rush in, physically assault, stab, tear gas and pepper spray us before quickly brewing helped to leave by the fucking police. Fuck all of this and especially a neo nazi!

  16. This non-issue never emerges if it isn’t for an alt-right unsupported petition. I’m not influencing anything. The whole issue comes from outside Berkeley. Shoot, the incident itself happened in Sacramento. None of this has to do with job performance. All of it has to do with some white supremacists wanting to exact their pound of flesh.

  17. You are against influence from outside the district? That is pretty funny coming from someone who lives in Detroit, the epicenter of the BAMN cult.

    Anyone who reads Berkeleyside knows that most of the people commenting on this article are regular commenters from Berkeley. They are certainly not members of the alt-right; that statement is a lie worthy of Donald Trump.

    You are the one who is a political extremist, who is not from Berkeley, and who is trying to influence the school board from 2,000 miles outside the district.

  18. Wow, some of those stories by survivors of BAMN indoctrination are pretty intense. Falarca does not come off well from this one.

  19. She started a violent riot. In a frenzy they attacked everyone they thought was politically on right of them, even reporters.

  20. Do we know how much her outside politics influence her teaching? True believers can not turn it off, I would guess she sees everyone in the world through her prism.

    Would you say the same about the people she attacked if they worked at the school.

  21. I take issue only with your Point 3 – violence is not limited to Marxist ideologues. You’ll find this kind of behavior among fanatics of all stripes, right and left, religious and anti-religious.

  22. Self-righteousness knows no political boundaries. The rhetoric of the extreme right and the extreme left sound very similar.

  23. Leading an unprovoked mob attack with the intent of inflicting great bodily harm isn’t “political action”, Craig.

  24. Good. The people whether they are nazis or not had a permit and were going to make speeches. She helped orchestrate an illegal activity and encouraged violence toward another group of people. The group she is a part of constantly does illegal activity in the name of their cause and they’re always beating people up for their own political gain. This is the definition of terrorism.

  25. I don’t think that violence should be a message conveyed to students, either actively through speech or by example, through off-campus, and public demonstrations. This is not an example that the school’s namesake, MLK,Jr would encourage.

  26. presumably not paid leave, since the article says:
    The district also went into her bank account and removed her August
    paycheck, and indicated it will garnish more funds in the future

  27. Well, one problem with video clips is you don’t see what happened before
    and after. None of us are actually in a position to judge those
    circumstances

    Funny how when the alleged victim is a “person of color”, such as a recent police shooting in the news as of late, you lefties can’t wait second before you’re yelling and screaming and demanding “justice” before you even have a CLUE what the facts are. However, when there’s video evidence of one of YOUR ideological fellow travelers instigating a confrontation, you change your tune quite quickly and preaching about how “nobody know the facts”, “who are we to judge?”. etc. Your song and dance is getting quite old…

  28. Well, one problem with video clips is you don’t see what happened before and after. None of us are actually in a position to judge those circumstances: if it was assault, I’m sure the police investigated it. As for firing her because she holds a particular political opinion, people should keep in mind the walk-back UC Berkeley just had to do over cancelling a pro-Palestinian class.

    On a sadder note, this article and the recent articles about the shootings in South Berkeley reveal the Jim Crow elements lurking in Berkeley. Do people really spend their time doing Internet research to “out” high school students for not belonging in racially curated Berkeley? Really? BAMN certainly has some legit issues to protest.

  29. Joe McCarthy has been dead for sixty years, RIP. This is serious legal stuff, the community (and B’side) have already mulled over the politics. The BUSD and the State board have had months to consult, and presumably have reached a consensus on the legal route forward. BFT will probably sue, and we will see what happens.

  30. “Her unprovoked violence will thus receive the tacit approval of a community so convinced of the infallibility of its liberal identity…”

    Dear anposter, who are you talking about? Who will welcome her back to the classroom? Who will give her tacit approval? Who has the power to do such things? The community of Berkeley has the clout to make this happen?
    I have a liberal identity, and so do many of my friends. None of us condone the unprovoked violence visible in the videos. What makes you think you can say that about us? It feels like a cheap shot.
    The people who claim that Felarca was justified in her assault number in the dozens. They don’t have the muscle to make anything happen.

    Look, anposter. You feel that the assault calls for a suspension from classroom teaching. I feel the same. We disagree about the process by which this is done. I would suspend her with pay until she is convicted of assault, after which I would immediately fire her. I can imagine that she “indoctrinated’ her students, but I want to see the evidence first. As for speaking “badly of the BUSD administration”, I’m not sure that should be a firing offense. What part of my stance do you believe forsakes the fundamental principles of liberalism?

  31. Cops can’t shoot people dead because they feel “threatened” by words, or color, or a squirt gun. But you knew that.

  32. Sadly, this woman is fundamentally incapable of discerning right from wrong. She should never return to a position exerting responsibility over the care and welfare of other human beings.

  33. I dislike BAMN and I don’t feel OK about Felarca’s stunt several years ago of taking her class on a field trip to Cal w/o disclosing that the trip was to a militant rally where she was a featured speaker. (The rally morphed into a riot on T’graph)
    OTOH, I have volunteered as a writer coach with her class, and she is in fact a good teacher who really cares about her kids. BUSD should tread carefully.

  34. I don’t approve of her hitting the neoNazi, but I do think that suspending her and taking her paycheck out of her bank account is not okay.

  35. Not singling out the white guy, singling out the Nazi. Plenty of protestors were white, why didn’t she beat them up?

  36. A person of color is an anti-racist activist. She punched (it says) a person exercising “free speech” (insulting people of color.) And yet cops can shoot people dead because they feel “threatened” by words, or color, or a squirt gun…

  37. Long overdue and welcome action to remove a teacher of children who fundamentally misunderstands and disagrees with the concepts of freedom of speech, rule of law, and due process. Bravo, BUSD!

  38. .

    she committed a hate crime, singling out the White Guy

    she should go to jail

    then back to School to learn about the First Amendment

    .

  39. She has also been filmed assaulting random Trump supporters and has been outspoken in organizing “youth” to do the same. You think a 12 or 13 year old student would feel free to engage in debate with that woman or any child that she’s trained?

    And she didn’t challenge neo-nazis.They LOVE her! She’s the best thing to happen to them in years, just as her goons beating people in the streets throughout California might as well be paid by Donald Trump.

  40. LOOK UP THE VIDEO!!!!!!! she needs to be in prison for the race riot/gang fight she started. she sees a white man simply protesting with a sign, minding his own business, not even speaking to her . just because he is white part of an American Workers Union she just runs up to him and repeated punches him in the stomach. he doesn’t even fight back. then her friends join the violent attack. they get him to the ground and stomp him he doesn’t defend himself he cries for help and an officer finally saves his life. LOOK UP THE VIDEO THERE WAS NO KKK THIS IS JUST HER GROUP SPREADING PROPAGANDA PLEASE LOOK IT UP SEE THE ATTACK FOR URSELF!!!!!!! no one deserves to be attacked for the color of their skin! her group is a racist & VERY anti America

  41. I suspect that the issue of her committing unprovoked violence will be supplanted by the straw man argument that she is in trouble because she is just so righteous. She will be welcomed back to the classroom as a victim of Joe McCarthy. Her unprovoked violence will thus receive the tacit approval of a community so convinced of the infallibility of its liberal identity, it is willing to forsake the most fundamental principles of liberalism.

  42. “Challenging” is not the same thing as assaulting with intent to do great bodily harm. Felarca was caught on camera physically attacking a man and pushing him towards waiting accomplices who attempted to curb-stomp his head on the ground. Not ok.

  43. Now she has more of her “own free time” to organize and recruit young people to BAMN using the same rights to free speech enjoyed by everybody else.
    Look at the arrogance of those defending her at the meeting with the message that we live in an ideological echo chamber and that it’s a wonderful thing, as if these dogmatic scolds who aren’t even from here are the true, singular voice of people as diverse and complex as we are.

  44. [I traveled to Sacramento with her] “and didn’t hear any
    indoctrination. I heard a teacher who was deeply caring about her
    students.”

    I think that means she traveled to Sacramento to join in Felarca’s violence. It is obviously not an unbiased testimony.

  45. It’s about time, her students don’t deserve to be exposed to her
    rhetoric. Yes Felarca can have her own opinions but her students don’t
    deserve to have it shoved down their collective throats…

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