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Leko deserves more respect

October 19, 2011

It was with great concern that we read the articles in the Sunday Valley Sun and L.A. Times this week regarding the allegations made of La Cañada High School teacher Gabrielle Leko. We both consider Leko to be one of the finest math teachers at LCHS, and we would be extremely disappointed if she was let go. Her consistently excellent teaching paved the way for both of us to succeed in science, technology, engineering and math, in college and after. Since we feel the article published in local papers expressed predominantly negative views, we would like to address the issues of complaint and to share our own good experiences.

While we cannot speak to the alleged “Jew boy” comment, nicknames in Leko’s class were both frequent and affectionate. Mrs. Leko never used a nickname in order to discriminate against members of her class. She made it very clear how much she cared for her all of her students, encouraging us to do our homework and study for tests that we might do well and succeed, both in her class and in life after high school. She treated all students who respected her with equal respect, and didn’t tolerate behavior that would disrupt the classroom or cause distraction.

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As to the alleged discrimination against girls in Leko’s class, we have to wonder if those who experienced it were in the same classes we were. If anything, Leko strove to encourage girls to pursue careers in math-related disciplines.

Finally, we are disappointed that this issue was not handled more discreetly. We recognize that it is possible not everyone has had the same good experiences we have had, but we feel that Leko deserves more respect than she has been given in this situation.

Annelise Thompson

LCHS Class of ‘09

Allison Thompson Brown

LCHS Class of ‘05

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