2005-06 school year.
Ode, a probationary teacher, filed a complaint with the Office for
Civil Rights shortly thereafter, claiming that Principal Dan Diehl
had terminated his employment because Ode disagreed with him about
the district's English-learner standards.
Last week, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission --
which Ode said had taken over the case from the Office for Civil
Rights -- dismissed Ode's complaint, saying that it could not find
enough evidence of discrimination.
The ruling noted, however, that the district may have acted
wrongly and that Ode may file a lawsuit within 90 days.
Ode, a part-time continuing education administrator at Santa Ana
College, said he was considering taking further legal action against
the Newport-Mesa district.
"My future is shot," he stated. "When you go to a new school
district and tell them you've been released, that's a red flag."
Ode's handwritten complaint, mailed to the Office for Civil Rights
in March, takes the form of an extended attack on Diehl, whom he
accuses of being "very aggressive with the teachers" and having a
In January, the principal gave Ode a negative evaluation for
speaking Spanish to his students and deviating from the class
curriculum. According to Ode's statement, Diehl dismissed him in
retaliation for having disputed the remarks.
Diehl declined comment on the matter, calling it a private
In the evaluation, which Ode provided to the Daily Pilot, Diehl
gave the probationary teacher unsatisfactory marks on two teaching
The principal's written comments declare that teachers should
instruct in one language "to prevent students from tuning out English
and waiting for the Spanish translation," and that Ode, during the
time Diehl visited his classroom, was conducting an exercise not
included in the English-learner textbook.
In a response to Diehl, Ode countered that using Spanish was
necessary to translate directions for beginning students and that his