Dori: Kent School District refuses to fire teacher after racist Tweets

Jan 28, 2020, 6:38 AM
bus, school, dress code, Kent School District...
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

KUOW first reported that a first grade teacher at Meridian Elementary School in the Kent School District named Rafaela Kayryakoff incurred the anger of parents and colleagues by writing a bunch of very problematic tweets.

In one, she allegedly named Mexican culture among the “ridiculous immature vile cruel and extremely evil cultures that need to be genocided!”

You’re teaching in a multi-cultural school district of which nearly a quarter of the student body is Latino — and you’re telling these students that they should be killed? I can’t believe that she stayed on the payroll after that tweet.

She also allegedly called for Jews to leave Christian-majority nations, Tweeting, “I only associate with dignified Christian people & more so focus on white Christian people We are the success in the world!”

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The principal of Meridian went to the Kent School District with this information. How did it get resolved? First, Kayryakoff was assigned to a “roving P.E. teacher position,” according to the KUOW story. Then she was moved to another elementary school, Panther Lake Elementary School.

Well, not anymore. A bunch of Kent parents wrote to me after we talked about this story on Friday and shared an email that went out from the district on Friday afternoon.

On January 23, a local media outlet published an article regarding personnel matters involving one of our staff members. We have heard the concerns of the Panther Lake and Kent School District community.

While there are no new employee investigations beyond what has been shared by the media, a decision has been reached today seeking to address the impact of the information shared in the article on our school community. Rafaela Kayryakoff will be reassigned to a non-school based position beginning Monday, January 27, 2020.

This decision was made with the care and concern of all students, families and staff of the Panther Lake community in mind. We have arranged for a substitute PE teacher for the remainder of the school year. I can assure you that Principal Pogson, Assistant Principal Aulava and staff will take every step necessary to ensure a smooth transition over the upcoming days for our students and Panther Lake community.

I have so many questions. You see, KUOW also reported that this teacher had battery convictions in California. This made her ineligible to get a teaching certificate in California, but in Washington, a teacher is allowed to have two battery convictions. Is that really the kind of person who should be teaching our children?

I just cannot make sense of this. She was hired to be a first grade teacher. It was determined that because of making racist, hateful statements, she should no longer be in a classroom with first graders.

So what happened?

She was just pushed to another school and now she gets a “non-school based” job. What on Earth is a non-school job? Do you just have these non-school jobs laying around in case you determine someone is no longer fit to be in the classroom — yet we the taxpayers have to fund these jobs? The Kent School District won’t comment, of course, because it’s a personnel matter.

Here’s an idea — how about when you determine that someone you hired is no longer fit to teach, you just get rid of that person, instead of making taxpayers continue to pay the salary of someone who sends out horribly racist and inflammatory tweets?

This is another problem with the public schools — it is tough to get rid of the bad teachers. The teachers union — which claims to be all about the children — fights to keep the worst teachers in the schools. That means that we underpay the greatest teachers because we have to pay the same amount to the worst teachers — it’s based on number of years, not merit. It’s socialism. And socialism, as we know, is for losers.

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Dori: Kent School District refuses to fire teacher after racist Tweets