Concerned about teacher retaliation, local property values and their own standing in the community, numerous La Cañada Flintridge parents say they are reluctant to openly criticize practices in the La Cañada Unified School District.
The issue — below the surface for years, and perhaps decades, parents and community members say — came to a head last month. It did so after a complaint against La Cañada High math teacher Gabrielle Leko, filed by La Cañada Unified School Board Member Cindy Wilcox, became public.
Wilcox filed the complaint in June, alleging that Leko addressed a ninth-grade geometry student as “Jew boy” during the 2010-11 school year. Wilcox said she based her allegations on complaints from numerous students, all of whom claimed that Leko regularly made derogatory remarks. Wilcox had to make the complaint personally, she said, because many victims and witnesses were afraid to do so.