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[whitespace] Serious Games

Berryessa--In yet another bizarre twist in the story of the Berryessa School District's problems with fired principal Lorna Manning, another Morrill Middle School teacher has filed a complaint against the district with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), charging that she suffered age, race, and disability discrimination because of her support of Manning.

Twenty-year veteran teacher Felice Feuer says that during the period when Berryessa Superintendent Herbert Wadley was laying the groundwork for Manning's firing, the Superintendent "harassed and intimidated" Feuer while trying to get her to implicate Manning in improper actions.

Feuer believes that in retaliation for her refusal to make statements against Manning, a Morrill School official took some computer games off of the schools computers--games that a neurologist prescribed to Feuer to control constant shaking she suffers, which are caused by Essential Tremor.

Feuer says she played them only before working hours. She says that no-one in the district or the school office admitted removing the games, but they were never placed back on the computer despite her repeated requests. She says that the stress of working conditions at Morrill have become so severe that her condition has worsened, and she is scheduled to undergo brain surgery early next year.

Like Bre'r Rabbit in the Tar Baby fable, the Berryessa Union School District can't seem to get itself unstuck from the Lorna Manning situation.

Manning is the African American educator who was fired from her position as principal at Morrill earlier this year after she filed a racial discrimination complaint with the EEOC against the Berryessa District.

The Berryessa District reached a settlement with Manning in July that included her dropping the EEOC complaint. But shortly after the completion of the settlement, the District filed a "notification of misconduct" against Manning with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, an action which caused several local black organizations supporting Manning to temporarily break off their own working agreements with Berryessa. (See Berryessa Blacklash.)

After a preliminary investigation, the San Jose office of EEOC has determined that "reasonable cause" exists that 20-year veteran teacher Felice Feuer may have been discriminated against. The EEOC has opened a formal investigation into the charges.

Several sources in the Berryessa District described the 61-year-old Feuer as "one of Lorna Manning's strongest supporters" at Morrill at a time when several teachers were mounting a vocal campaign to have Manning removed. (See Principal of the Matter.)

Feuer also charges that throughout the spring of this year, anonymous notes were placed in her mailbox at the school reading such things as "Your [sic] supporting the wrong person," "Now that Lorna is gone, You're Next!" and "You supported Manning, if I were you I'd retire." Feuer says that many teachers at the school have stopped talking to her. As an example, she explains, "I was walking by one teacher and she looked at me and said 'Are you talking to me? Don't.'"

Officials at the Berryessa Union School District office and at Kay & Stevens, the district's legal representatives, did not return phone calls to discuss the Feuer complaint. In the past, Berryessa and Kay & Stevens have declined to comment on ongoing investigations against the school district.
J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

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