Crowell Teachers “Work in Hell and the Devil is Their Boss”

Jonathan McCorkell/TurlockCityNews.com

Crowell Elementary School Teachers delivered a clear message Tuesday night: They want Principal Linda Alaniz removed from her post as head of the school.

Current and former Crowell teachers voiced concerns of alleged mistreatment by Alaniz during the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night.

Dozens of teachers and supporters staged a silent protest prior to the board meeting, lining up on opposite sides of the entryway and quietly staring. The teachers held Character Counts posters as trustees passed between the rows.

The Turlock Teachers Association received seven grievances from teachers who are upset that Alaniz is reassigning at least 12 teachers to new grade levels next school year. Nearly all of the teachers have no experience at their new grade levels.

But the reassignment is just the straw that broke the camel’s back for the teachers, many of whom said they were embarrassed to wear their Crowell t-shirts in public due to incidents at the school this year.

Earlier in the school year, Alaniz came under intense public pressure following an incident where a first grade student stabbed another student with a pencil. Dozens of parents made public complaints about ongoing bullying problems at the school, and a lack of response by Alaniz.

Shortly after the stabbing incident, Alaniz was again in the news. She attempted to discipline a classified employee following a remark made on social media about a student. The remark did not offend the student’s mother or anyone other than Alaniz, apparently.

Those public problems don’t begin to address the private problems teachers face, they said.

One teacher with 15 years of experience, Sally Dickinson, says she has elected to leave TUSD because of working conditions under Alaniz.

“I have worked since I was 14 years old and I understand what it means to have a boss, given directions as an employee and how to work as a team member,” she said. “I have tendered my resignation because in all my years of working, never have I been treated so poorly as an employee, much less a human being. Crowell has become a toxic learning environment I can no longer stand, and I can no longer wait for something to be done about it.”

Turlock Teacher’s Association President Julie Shipman says Alaniz has created a hostile work environment through intimidation, bullying tactics, vendettas, favoritism, dishonesty, and throwing teachers under the bus. The relationship has led teachers to proclaim they “work in hell and the devil is their boss.”

“They go into these jobs to help children, and yet the culture at Crowell is awful,” said Shipman. “Teachers walk around like beaten spouses. If they just keep their head down and keep quiet then everything is fine. They are afraid to speak up.”

Teachers who have filed grievances include Patti Langpaap (32 years teaching, 5th to 6th), Jill Norman (11 years, 4th to 3rd grade), Cindy Schnetzer (30 years, K to 2nd), Donna Feldman (17 years, 1st to 3rd grade), Rhonda Blount (10 years), Lisa Rowe (17 years), and Greta Pearson (16 years, 2nd to 4th grade). Langpaap was the only teacher who would be moved to a grade she had previously taught, 6th grade.

The teachers collectively expressed that Alaniz’s decision to move them will hurt student learning and is not in the best interest of the students, especially given the in-progress implementation of Common Core. All said they want to remain at their current grade level in order to be the most effective teachers.

“It’s insane and there is no logical reason for it,” said Shipman. “All year these teachers have been preparing for the Common Core Implementation. Almost every one of the 12 teachers, which represents one-third of the teachers at Crowell, have zero experience teaching at their newly assigned grade level. How is taking experienced teachers and placing them in a new grade level where they have no experience in the best interest of the students? Don’t kids have a right to knowledgeable teachers?”

A former Crowell teacher and a National Board Certified Teacher, Kathleen Kennedy, who holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Development, also addressed the trustees. She said that, on one occasion, when she asked for several unruly students to be removed from her classroom, Alaniz screamed at her in front of some of her students and told her that the student’s parents hated her.

Kennedy says she retired two years ago after 23 years of teaching because of Alaniz.

And another former Crowell teacher and current owner of PCR Baseball, Lance Boullion, says he also left teaching after dealing with Alaniz. He explained that he left over two years ago because he was moved from his designated grade level.

“When I saw some of the these teachers I used to work with, I asked them how were things at Crowell,” he said. “And all of them looked around before they said anything. That is fear. In history, fear and intimidation only last so long until a revolt happens, and that is what is happening here tonight. How many good teachers are worth one principal?”

The Board of Trustees did not offer any comment following the teachers’ public thrashing of Alaniz’s leadership.

 

Comments 39

  1. Police and school says:

    The Turlock police and school district say you reported a lie and that the student was not stabbed with a pencil but poked. And you made an issue of an ambulance not being called but why would the principal order an ambulance to be called when it was just a poke. This is an attack on the principal just because the police, school district and Turlock Journal pointed out your bad reporting.

    I’m not sure why so many teachers are complaining but I don’t trust the blog to give me the facts.

  2. Something Wrong! says:

    Something is wrong if that many teachers came to the board meeting to risk retaliation from superintendent Sonny Da Marto!!

  3. OMG says:

    This is the same principal who let the boy with a pencil stuck in his neck sit in the office without calling an ambulance just because she was scared of a lawsuit!

    She needs to go!!

  4. Crowell School says:

    How is moving a teacher from one grade level to another going to make anything better? The principal is taking a 5th grade teacher and a 6th grade teacher and forcing them to switch. Kindergarten teachers are being forced to move to a higher grade and higher grader teachers are being moved to Kindergarten. Each grade is so different. I would not want my children placed in a class with a teacher who has no experience at that grade, who doesnt want to be at that grade, and with a principal that forced 11 teachers out of 25 to just switch grade levels because she “wanted to switch things up.”

  5. Revolt says:

    I doubt TCN planned this revolt so get off their backs and accept that these things are happening in our community. Bad things do happen and I like to find out about them so I know.

  6. Devils' Advocate says:

    This is a bad situation but I can only assume the principal had no comment, because you failed to report that side of the story. People do not do crazy (*edited by tcn) for no reason, she may have used flawed logic for moving the teachers around but logic nonetheless. Why did she do it?

  7. A says:

    I’m mean and will leave my position as principal

  8. guest 22 says:

    Are you a moron ?? Did u not see the pictures with the pencil hanging out of that kids neck!? That couldn’t have been a politely poke. Smh. That’s awful if the teachers are so unhappy I can image the tension on the students!!. Action needs to be tooken!!

  9. The teachers are telling the truth. says:

    She had very clear logic in selecting these teachers. All have them have gone over her head and notified to the district office about serious safety concerns and or fraudulent mismanagement issues where Alaniz was responsible. The decision to move the teachers was to punish those teachers and serve as a show of power to the others to discourage them from speaking up.
    At the time when the boy was sitting there with a pencil embedded his neck, no one at any school would be medically qualified to determine if it was a minor poke or serious stab. It is district policy that only principals or asst principals determine when to call 911. So ultimately Alaniz is responsible for not taking action to ensure a students safety. The only reason we are still debating this is because she (and the boy) got lucky and it was a minor injury.

  10. One-sided says:

    And I suppose we can assume the principal had nothing to say about this? Bad journalism.

  11. T B says:

    Half the teachers are being moved? Sounds like the principal is retaliating or making things difficult on purpose. One teacher, maybe two, I can understand, but moving half the staff is only detrimental and undermines the education of the students. For two retired teachers to make the time and effort to speak out against this principal speaks volumes of the etiquette involved. As for the “stabbing” or “poking” incident, either or merits mention. I’d be terribly upset if my child was stabbed/poked by another student in the neck, and I was not informed immediately!

  12. Sara says:

    All I have to say us if this many teachers are having the same issues with the principle then I will not be transferring my child to this school until she is gone! My son right now is at a great school in Ceres which teachers are going through a budget issue but I’d rather drive twice a day to Ceres to take him to school then take him to Crowell which is down the street from me. Until this is solved I’m shocked other parents haven’t started to switch their child out of Crowell….these teachers can only do so much for our kids. And if the principle is not going to back them up for instance with bullying??? That tells you she wants that paycheck and isn’t their for those children. When I was a kid and people would bully the bully was sent home there was a punishment… The fact she doesn’t do anything it gives me as a mother to feel worried for my childs safety.

  13. Minion says:

    Even the devil get his (or her) due!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I would have to agree with the teachers. Linda is MEAN and EVIL! I had an incident with my daughter and the outcome was not good. I ended up taking my daughter out of Crowell because of Linda Alaniz. Crowell School would be a better school without her!!

  15. TID Transparency says:

    Board member Michael Frantz doesn’t want TID night meetings for this very reason. He does not want to hear or answer the employees who would show up. He doesn’t even want to allow them the opportunity. We all have tried to talk to him but he only talks to his fellow board members in closed session. Illegally.

  16. Board comments says:

    The Board of Trustees can’t comment on items not on the agenda. Unless they want to then they will. SMH

  17. Time to resign says:

    When you lose the respect of 1/3 (probably more) of your employees, you are no longer an effective leader. It is time for her to move on, voluntarily or otherwise.

  18. charlotte says:

    Get rid of the (*edited by tcn).

  19. Concerned citizen says:

    Although it may be easy to pick different principals and teachers to blame, the entire district has been suffering for some time now. Find the person at the top. That’s the one to go after.

    *WE LOVE OUR TURLOCK TEACHERS! Time to salute them for standing strong through all this garbage.

  20. Time for new leadership at Crowell says:

    It’s terrible that a Crowell teacher of 24 years with no issues in the first 22 years, is choosing to leave Crowell due to the constant harassment, unfair treatment, and being forced out by the principal who has made her life hell for the last two years. People can only take the demoralizing behavior from a boss for so long before they are fed up with it. No one should have to go through this treatment at a work place environment.

    Now if this was the only teacher that this happened too, then you could say it is a difference of two people. But when this is the fifth known incident of teachers leaving Crowell specifically due to the principals harassment, then you have to know it’s not the five people, but the one principal. Some teachers worked for over 30 years without incident. The principal has been at Crowell for less than 7 years. Time for a change in principals.

  21. Character is supposed to count! says:

    Please find a way to keep Sally Dickinson in the district. She is a fabulous teacher and dedicated her life to our kids and our city. No person should leave on a note like this because of bullying tactics.

  22. guest says:

    Get her out of there! Damage control!!

  23. Tusd worker says:

    Alaniz is a mean, vindictive, person who only has her personal interests at heart. Parents of Crowell school need to DEMAND that she be removed immediately. She is a contractual employee of the district, if enough pressure is put on the board to remove her then they Will replace her. Your children are receiving instruction from some of the best teachers in the district, while they are being led by the worst principal most people have ever seen. Your children deserve better. Demand better. There is some really caring, genuinely good principals and assistant principals at many of the other schools who truly care about the kids. Shouldn’t one of those people be the leader at Crowell school? Parents, teachers, all Crowell staff, come together and demand better!!!

  24. Reply to "Fall From Grace" says:

    [i]In response to the article hear… http://www.turlockjournal.com/archives/8749/
    [/i]
    Yeah she won an award three years ago, and Donald Sterling, L.A. Clippers Owner who got a lifetime ban for racism from the NBA, received not one, but TWO Lifetime Achievement Awards from the NAACP for helping innter-city minorities, and one award was this year.

  25. Fed up says:

    If the district won’t do anything maybe parents and present or former employees can. Contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing at http://www.ctc.ca.gov to report educator misconduct. You can report anything you believe to be unprofessional conduct. Educators are held to a higher standard than most professions. If TUSD won’t take away her job, maybe the CTC will take away her credential.

  26. Another TUSD employee (and parent) says:

    This behavior is not new. It is stereotypical Linda Alaniz. It began when she was Principal at Osborn. Ask the staff and parents who left Osborn under Alaniz’s “reign.”

    “Alaniz has created a hostile work environment through intimidation, bullying tactics, vendettas, favoritism, dishonesty, and throwing teachers under the bus” is very likely why she was removed from her previous job.

    Will the District wait until they lose a lawsuit, then won’t be able to get rid of her for fear of a claim of retribution?

  27. teacher from another district says:

    I have heard of this administrator for a while now. The behavior is unaccpetable. If the board and district can’t get a clue by now (this is by no means new behavior on the part of Alaniz) then it is time to get a NEW board in November who does have the willingness to say enough is enough. Turlock has too many great teachers. Three friends have left this school because of her. Board officials do your job and tell HR enough is enough!

  28. Robin Yáñez says:

    Unfortunately it’s not just the teachers she treats this way. I had such a negative experience with her during my time as a PTA leader that I quit just to get away from her. She even took to retaliating by going after my kids. What kind of adult does that???

  29. Lisa says:

    Both my children and my family have been mistreated by this principle she is awful disrespectful and is ignorant. I am so happy to see people finally speaking up

  30. Rella Morris says:

    I was once an elementary school secretary who worked under a principal such as this one – I called mine, “crazy”. It was so difficult it affected my health, so I took a 5-month leave of absence and returned to the district in a new position. I totally understand the difficulty of working under such a person! I ADMIRE and RESPECT these Turlock teachers (past and present) for TAKING ACTION! NOW it is the Board’s RESPONSIBILITY to not only “take note” but TAKE ACTION! FIRE THIS WOMAN!! Don’t just ask her to resign!!! You certainly don’t want to be responsible for a different school district hiring her, do you? She’ll hurt “staff” AND “kids” EVERYWHERE SHE GOES! STOP HER NOW!

  31. Parent/Guest says:

    Not any different from Medeiros Elementary. The only difference, it’s that at Crowell the families and teachers are finally speaking up. Thank goodness Laura Long(vice-pricipal) has been removed from her position. Now we need Jennifer Yacoob to be removed from her position has Principal. This is a shameful situation! Two principals, different schools, same arrogant attitudes, but finally something it’s staring to be done. This two people needs to stop running this schools as it was their own private dominion. Good luck Medeiros teacher since a lot of you will be moving to a different grade level next year.

  32. A teacher from another district says:

    Simply put…where there is smoke there is fire. The parents of Crowell students should pull their students from the school immediately. Any principle unwilling to put the safety and education of students as their first priority does not deserve to be in an administrative position.
    The Turlock School Board also has the same responsibility as any school administrator and if they do not act expediently then they should and must be removed as well.

  33. Baloney says:

    ^^^^ I doubt if you’re a teacher if you can’t even spell “principal” correctly. ^^^^

  34. Karen says:

    I was once a volunteer at Crowell School and was told to leave and not come back. It all started the first week Linda Alaniz started working at Crowell. She didn’t want me to take my power chair into the classroom said I might run over one of the kids. Yes I am disabled. I also have volunteer at Crowell for the last ten years. She tried all kinds of things to make me quit. But a teacher fought for me and told me not to give up. So I tried to stay away from Alaniz as much as possible. But she always came up with new things like cutting the time I had to copy things. Knowing I volunteered for six teachers. Three years in she kicked me off campus. Teacher fought again for me and got me back on for a very short stay not even a month into the new year and she kicked me off again. But this time she even stopped me from go to the IMC. But the teachers love me and brought work for me to do at home all year. Love those teacher they are the best . I loved Crowell wanted all me grandkids to go there but not now not with her there I know she would be mean to them.

  35. kim says:

    Well I must say that she must be pretty mean cause even her husband left her last year. Guess he couldn’t take her garbage at home. This sounds like a pattern with her.

  36. Bryan says:

    This has been a tough year for Crowell school. I’m surprised it has taken so long to come to a boiling point. I think there is a bigger story here. Crowell School is not the campus it used to be a few years ago. From my experience in other districts I would guess that this is an overflow school. I believe that these students are bused to this school from another side of town. The students do not live in the surrounding neighborhood like other schools in the district. This is no excuse for any administrator but like many others commenting, I’d like to know what the heck is going on with Crowell school?

  37. @kim says:

    That was uncalled for.

  38. kim says:

    Uncalled for or not, It’s the truth. I was just pointing out the pattern. Must be a pride thing. She needs to swallow it.

  39. Allen says:

    She’s a (*edited by tcn)! I hate that lady so damn much. I removed when I was in the 5th grade at Osborn. She would always find a way to suspend me. The kids would hit me and call me a (*edited by tcn) and she never did (*edited by tcn) about it. How mr. ascension would call me a Gaylord and everyone would laugh. She can burn and rot in hell. She’s the anti christ. That homophobic (*edited by tcn).

    I do forgive that skank. I’m living a very happy life in New York City!!

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