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WTU President: Fired Teachers Deserve More Than Back Pay, Jobs

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DCPS fired teacher Kadesha Bonds holds up her outstanding first year teacher award.
Kavitha Cardoza
DCPS fired teacher Kadesha Bonds holds up her outstanding first year teacher award.

Kadesha Bonds was one of the 75 teachers fired in 2008. She worked for two years at McKinley Technology High School and says she never received a negative evaluation. In fact, just the previous year, she won an award for outstanding first year teacher.

So when she received a letter telling her not to return two weeks before school began,"It was a total surprise and shock," Bonds says, "like wow, what happened here?"

Bonds couldn't find another teaching job and has since worked as a receptionist. An arbitrator ruled in favor of the teachers because DCPS didn't tell them why they were being fired. DCPS has decided to appeal the decision. But if that fails, Bonds says she'd like to teach again.

"I want to go back," she says, "I was there for the kids."

DCPS sent the laid off teachers letters last week with reasons for their firing, which the union says included personal comments about their dress and attitude, not the quality of their teaching.

But DCPS says the reasons these teachers were fired included not showing up, cursing students and playing DVDs. Saunders says he doesn't agree.

"They had to put down something so folks got real creative," Saunders says.

Saunders says they should receive damages for emotional distress. He also says by being labeled "bad teachers" they couldn't find other teaching positions. A decision about the appeal will take several months.

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