PPS Board votes to terminate former middle school teacher
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - The Portland Public School Board of Education voted 5-1 to terminate a former middle school teacher at a contentious board meeting on Tuesday.
The teacher, Bryan Chu, was a social studies teacher at Harriet Tubman Middle School until he was placed on administrative leave last year. Chu had been outspoken against the district, including at previous school board meetings.
Dozens came out to support Chu at Tuesday’s board meeting, many speaking in support of him during public comment.
“I have personally witnesses countless brilliant educators of color leave this district,” said Jackie Dixon. “Friends of mine, colleagues of mine, community members due to untenable working conditions, lack of support, and inconsistent disciplinary action. I believe Bryan Chu represents the underdog in this district. Always raising his voice to stand up for what’s right, despite the fear of being retaliating against.”
“Mr. Chu’s classroom was always the perfect temperature, always had food, always had good vibes, and produced productive, outspoken, compassionate students,” said Deasia Kennedy. “One of Mr. Chu’s well known phrases was ‘How can I help you learn?’”
“To take away Mr. Chu is to take away opportunities away from students,” said Lauren Lockman. “Mr. Chu is more than a teacher, he is like family to us. We count on him and he believes in us. We need teachers who care about us and Mr. Chu was just that.”
The meeting at times got contentious, with members of the audience questioning the board’s decision to potentially terminate Chu among other things.
Ultimately, the board voted 5-1 to fire Chu; Patte Sillivan voted against the termination, Eddie Wang abstained from the vote.
Following the meeting, Chu says he wasn’t surprised with the decision.
“This isn’t over yet, this is where it’s getting started. I didn’t expect them not to fire me. I’m not begging for my job. We’ll see them in arbitration.”
When asked, PPS said it does not comment on personnel matters, but did confirm Chu is seeking arbitration.
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