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La Cañada teacher accused of 'Jew boy' comment to leave district

March 28, 2012

An embattled La Cañada High School math teacher will leave the district at the end of the school year, bringing to a close a tense six-month chapter in which La Cañada Unified officials were criticized for mishandling concerns about her classroom conduct.

Briefly addressing the subject during a meeting Tuesday, School board President Scott Tracy announced that the board had unanimously approved a settlement with Gabrielle Leko that includes her departure on June 15. In a statement released several hours later, district officials said that the agreement protects students while also shielding the financial interests of the district.

"The board appreciates that any payment amount in a settlement is not immaterial," the statement, available on the board's Facebook page, reads. "However, the cost incurred as a result of this settlement would be exceeded by costs and resources that would be devoted to a long-term, adversarial hearing process without guarentee of ultimate success."

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In a complaint filed in June 2011 and made public in October, then-school board member Cindy Wilcox accused Leko of habitually using abusive language in classroom and addressing a ninth grade geometry student as "Jew boy."

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