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Parents and staff protest MLK school

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San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said new Principal Natalie Eberhard has made great strides in improving systems and support structures in her first year at MLK.
  • San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said new Principal Natalie Eberhard has made great strides in improving systems and support structures in her first year at MLK.

Teachers, parents and staff at Martin Luther King Academic Middle School are unhappy with the school district’s refusal to give the troubled campus new administrators, even though the district says recent changes meet its expectations.

A complaint filed Monday with the state Public Employment Relations Board alleges violations of rules requiring safe and healthy work environments, said the United Educators of San Francisco union.

San Francisco Unified School District spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said new Principal Natalie Eberhard has made great strides in improving systems and support structures in her first year at MLK.

“With less than 50 percent of their students proficient in math and English language arts, MLK is a school that needs strong leadership, and this includes accountability for teachers,” Blythe said.

Among the complaints are claims the administration has harassed and discriminated against those active in the union, along with asking teachers to forgo planning periods.

“The new administration is not about making it a better place; they’re being retaliatory,” teacher Kyphet Seadar said.

Those upset with the new administration also have publicized as many as 20 incidents of wrongdoing, including transferring vocal teachers and consolidating the counseling department.

Blythe said she could not comment on specific personnel complaints, but did say Eberhard’s decision to restructure the counseling department better serves students.

Two dozen people protested the district and the school Tuesday afternoon. The group also attended the district’s school board meeting later.

“Where’s our support?” parent Eloise Milanes said. “They’re supposed to take care of our kids, but there’s no order here.”

The union and the SFUSD have hit a stalemate in contract negotiations, and teachers could strike if an agreement is not reached. The contract for some 2,000 teachers expires June 30.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com