Chamblee German Teacher Controversy


Up until just recently, Herr Uwe Neuhaus taught German at Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS). He is arguably one of the most academically effective high school German teachers in the country. According to Kavi Pandian’s open letter to Superintendent Green,

For 17 years, every AP German student has passed the exam. That’s right — out of the 562 students who have taken the AP German exam since 2000, not one has failed. Twice, he has had 100 percent of his students pass the Deutsches Sprachdiplom II, a fluency exam certifying possession of German skills advanced enough to study at a German-language university. He has been recognized by the German government as one of the top German educators in the world.

Herr Neuhaus was just reassigned to the district’s International Welcome Center where he will no longer teach German. Recently, he assigned this in class activity(Assignment Page 1 and page 2) to his students asking them to pantomime various scenes in class.

All Scenes:
* Page 1
* Page 2
Activity Assignment Excerpts
Scene 1: The Pope is standing in the shower asking for divine help. He receives a visit from a young lady who “looks after’ The Pope and satisfies his earthly needs.
Scene 3: A student was coming in after school to take a math test, and the teacher was known to the student body as “die Geile” translation “the horny” as well as for being particularly busty. As the student begins to take the test, the teacher comes from behind, puts her breasts in his face, and distracts him from the test and causes him to sweat. The teacher then massages his neck, kisses it, whispers something in his ear and runs her hands through his hair. The boy jumps up and tries to escape, but the teacher is blocking the doorway. The teacher slowly approaches the student and pushes him against the wall.
Scene 7: A boy regularly tortures animals with sadism in the bathroom of the house. He drowns a cat in a bathtub and laughs menacingly. He then throws the cat out of the window and into the street. The father walks into the bathroom and asks his son what is going on and what he did. The son explains his actions, his father reassures him, and shares that he has the same interest. They laugh and then the father slips on the wet floor and bangs his head against the sons. They both fall into the bathtub and drown.

In Defense of the Skits – Context Is Important
Dave Maxwell is an involved parent at CCHS and a parent of a student in Herr Neuhaus’ class. He echoes the hundreds of emails I have received over the last few weeks saying,

Taken out of context and in isolation, it is difficult to defend the individual skits, as Herr Neuhaus readily acknowledges. However, they were not assigned out of context or in isolation. They were assigned to a high level (beyond college level) class in which each of the students was at least a junior, had Herr Neuhaus for years, and took the class as an elective. And they were assigned the skits as part of a unit purposely designed to be provocative so that humor could be studied critically by these students.


German V Class Email
Superintendent Green was sent this open letter from many students and parents of students in that German class that received the assignment. I’ve reached out to the parents and they asked me to publish the letter as is.

Dear Dr. Green,
We write to you as the students who received the skit assignment in Herr Uwe Neuhaus’s German V class that has received so much attention. Our hope is to provide context on how our class operates and to clarify that we, as the students who actually received the assignment and interacted regularly with Herr Neuhaus, do not feel that Herr Neuhaus had any threatening, malicious, or predatory intent at all when giving us the skit assignment. We do not know what complaints you may have received, or from whom you may have received them.
We simply hope that our take on the situation, as those directly involved and affected, will convince you to immediately return Herr Neuhaus to Chamblee Charter High School, where he has worked for years and positively influenced the lives of so many students.
German V was not a first encounter with Herr Neuhaus for any of us. Most of us were students of his for the two years previous (German III+ and AP German), while the others had him as a teacher for AP German only. Regardless, we will all tell you that a hallmark of Herr Neuhaus’s classes is his creativity and dynamism in creating assignments to help his students master German. Typical activities were presentations, creative writing, and yes, skits. Only rarely was our daily class period filled with monotone grammar drills or multiple choice questions. Instead, Herr Neuhaus always sought to force us to think critically and creatively and to put our knowledge to use in the three dimensional way that true mastery of a language requires. As a result, demonstrations and skits performed for the class are something that we as a class are used to and comfortable with.
That being said, we can concur that the skits that Herr Neuhaus assigned to us on April 21st were more provocative than anything we’d received before, and consequently students expressed their discomfort with the given assignment. But while everyone seems to fixate on the content of some of the skits, we feel that the fact that Herr Neuhaus permitted us to cut or entirely rewrite scenes we were uncomfortable with acting out has been entirely omitted from the narrative. The skits were never for a grade–they were simply another challenge presented to us (in this case taken from the senior German VI class’s unit on humor) by Herr Neuhaus with the intention of improving our German while having fun. Yes, some of the skits were inappropriate.
But the fact that students felt they could tell Herr Neuhaus that they were not comfortable with his assignment, and that he then notified the entire class that it was our choice of how or if we wanted to do the skits, is much more reflective of the nature of our German class and our relationship to him than the content of the skits themselves.
We are the people who were affected by this assignment. We are the ones in the classroom everyday with Herr Neuhaus, and as a result our perspective on these skits is unique from the views of administrators, parents, or even other students of Herr Neuhaus. We are the only ones with a full understanding of the context of our class and of the assignment, and yet, we have not been given any say in how the situation was resolved or how our teacher, an engaging and exceptional educator, has been removed from his classroom. To say that we feel ignored would be an understatement. Being students, rather than parents or teachers or board members,should not diminish the stake we hold in our own education.Yet throughout this entire process, we have watched others who have no idea what our class is like intrude on the discussion with their opinions about how we felt about the situation. For the past two months, we have had no choice but to plead that the administration listen to us and realize that we understand the situation more fully than anyone else.
Hear us, listen to us, believe us.
We never wanted Herr Neuhaus removed from our school. We never felt unsafe in his classroom.
Our hope is that, now that we have provided this clear statement that we want Herr Neuhaus returned to Chamblee immediately, you not only hear us, but listen and act accordingly.
Please do not write this letter off. Please believe what we have to say.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Yours,
The students of German V:
Alice Bai
Alyssa Wu
Sarah Mackey
Diana Haiden
Ellie Furr
Eric Shute
Erica Izaguirre
Hailey Maxwell
Hope Williams
Isabel Bradford
Jadé Foelske
Julia Weil
River Harper
Rohan Misra
Sarah Williams
Sonia Karsan
Theo Hardy
Teresa Maloney
Victoria Lin
Sara Lawrence
Savannah Lawrence
Marley Brock
Sifat Raihan
Giselle Washington
Chase Starks
Note:
We write you this letter as students from German V. We feel that it is important to share our unique perspective and thoughts on the situation as students, and this perspective is not shared fully by anyone. Our parents, however, stand beside us as a group one step removed from the classroom, and they have signed their names below in support of the reinstatement of Herr Neuhaus.
Parents of German V:
Dave Hardy
Jennifer Hardy
Maria Perez
Anastacio Izaguirre
Marco Foelske
Lina Karsan
Hetal Karsan
Sue Weil
Gary Weil
Melanie Furr
Mark Furr
David Maxwell
Terri Maxwell
Rahul Misra
Reena Misra
Pete Maloney
Catherine Maloney
Catherine Springer
Clark Cloyd
Eva Haiden
Karl Haiden
Anne Boyer-Shute
Randy Shute
Tracey Mackey
Bryant Mackey
Jennie Oldfield
Karyn McCrimmon
Chuck Harper
Lourelle Lawrence
Brian Lawrence
Angela Chen
Brian Lin
Jen Brock
Jonathan Brock
Hongying Zhong
Charles Bai
Daqing Wu
Xu Wang
Shefali Khatun
Md. Nazrul Islam
Keisha Starks
Veshi Starks
Blake Bradford

235 responses to “Chamblee German Teacher Controversy

  1. Dr. James McKenzie

    I support the District’s reassignment. The assignment was over the top. I am sure there were other scenarios that could have been given to students.

  2. Paula Caldarella

    As many know, I am a Chamblee High alum. I am watching all of this drama unfold with my alma mater with a lot of angst for its future and disappointment in the behavior of a few of the adults.
    As far as the Herr Neuhaus “situation”, 2 former Chamblee magnet parents contacted me last week. Their children had a far difference experience with Herr Neuhaus than the experience of those students that authored/signed this letter. That’s ok and is expected, not all students view the same teachers in the same light. However, if the information I received is true, and I have no reason to doubt these parents, I don’t believe it’s going out on a limb to say that the Neuhaus re-assignment is a culmination of events and not just the one issue with the assignment for which he was suspended. Just my two cents.
    That said, my goal, as an alum, is to make sure that Chamblee High School has the best possible leadership/teachers and ALL of its students (resident and magnet) are provided the best education. I will use my voice as a long time DCSD parent/stakeholder to do my best to see that that happens.
    It also seems, to me, that in all of this, the voices of the resident parents/students are not being heard and if they are, their thoughts and opinions are immediately invalidated unless they agree with the anti-Braaten group.
    I would hope that at some point, the Chamblee community can drop the pro-Braaten or anti-Braaten mantle and become a combined voice for the pro-Chamblee movement.
    Thank you for your time.

  3. Stan Jester

    I would like to hear more about all the experiences in this class.
    As soon as I get the slide presentation from the state of Chamblee presentation (and some other data) I’ll publish an article about leadership and coaches at CCHS.

  4. Paula Caldarella

    Stan, I believe the presentation is posted on the CCHS website – or at least it was yesterday.

  5. Stan Jester

    Thanks. I was hoping to get my hands on the data supporting some of these slides. I would also like to know more about these principal coach positions. I didn’t know the board approved something like that in the org chart or where in the budget these new positions are being paid from.

  6. I have to say, regardless of the man’s ability to teach German, this assignment is pretty shocking to this old gal. I was a bit confused by your post Stan, as at first, I thought he assigned these skits to the international students! At any rate, I find these scenarios very disturbing and I wouldn’t want my child to think it funny to act out scenes like these.

  7. All that said, Germany has no equivalent of “Saturday Night Live” for a reason.

  8. Cere, I wouldn’t have been happy about the skits either. I would have been quite vocal that the assignment crossed the line. But I would not have demanded effectively ending the teacher’s career.
    I think that is the issue. As I understand it DSCD initially gave the teacher a 3 week suspension. That is pretty severe, and I think it is punishment enough.
    Ending a career is an extreme measure, and an over reaction in my book.

  9. The GA Professional Standards Commission issues teaching licenses and teachers are required and must follow a Code of Ethics. It appears that this teacher chose assignments which were way outside of the conduct and standards of the Teaching Profession.
    Has this case been referred for investigation and review by the PSC? Exposing all the details related to him, his curriculum, his personnel information, involving students and parents in such a public review may muddy the waters for DCS and the teacher. There are procedures for a reason.
    This outstanding teacher, well respected and loved for years WENT TERRIBLY WRONG! It happens and there are professional ways to deal with this. He has rights, and DCS has the responsibility to handle such situations. Out in the public, until the PSC and/or a criminal investigation is completed, doesn’t serve anyone. Even in Germany, he would never have been able to get away with this…even if students opted out of the assignment. Moral Terpitude is part of the Code of Ethics in GA.

  10. Stan Jester

    HHurley, This is obviously a sensitive situation. However, it is being discussed at great lengths publicly already. It’s in most of the papers. I’m getting countless emails daily and haven’t responded to any of them (sorry about that … this is a sensitive situation). I’m trying to bring various parts of the community together, have a discussion and get on the same page.
    Is there any specific information I have released that you are concerned about? The curriculum and homework assignment are subject to Open Records. The statements from the students and parents were released to the public and they gave me explicit approval to post them.

  11. Bill Armstrong

    I had posted elsewhere, directed at DeKalb teachers, but also the leaders & followers of both the “oust Braaten” & “get Neuhaus back” efforts – as they are certainly intertwined. I think I am thinking along similar lines to Paula’s comments above. As it pertains to Nuehaus in particular, I cover in points 3&4.
    Here I think some of my questions could be addressed by Stan as well, from his perspective as a Board Member, but as a parent as well. After the now infamous “State of the School” meeting I put forth:
    It is clear that many teachers have lent not only their thoughts on the climate at CCHS – but also many veterans of the system have put forth their expertise on how things work. So perhaps time to ask them, or them to volunteer:
    1 –How often has the system, after developing & implementing – complete with new staffing assignments, a detailed plan for how an administration will run at an individual school for the upcoming school year, reversed itself after organized efforts from parents & even teachers? Ever? That I’m not aware of it doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, so I’d like to hear from those who are best qualified to know. I’d assume others would too.
    2 – Related – if a decision to redirect the oust Braaten effort is made, then what to do? How about in conjunction with trying to get more details of the expectations of the coming year from the system, primarily Green; instead of developing an impressive list of failures by principal Braaten last year, why not turn it around and develop a list of things you want/expect/demand from her, and the school leadership as a whole, for the coming year, that would satisfy you? And then monitor to see if met, maybe even assist as involved parents. I say this because it’s pretty clear to me and others that it’s coming, like it or not, and if your child is a Chamblee High student, should they be caught up in an all out war – for an entire school year? Or maybe, just maybe, the grown-ups at least try to make it work.
    3 – Teacher reassignment. Q. How often has the system similarly reversed themselves in this area as well, based on organized efforts by parents, former students & fellow teachers? Has it ever worked? Veteran teachers of DeKalb – I’d like to hear from you. Of course, what I think few people would know is exactly what criteria/information/evidence on which a private personnel decision be based, but I think someone could answer at least this – to your own personal knowledge, has it ever worked?
    4 – And to that point – the HR decision, on this case, is it possible that there are previously reported allegations/incidents involving Herr Neuhaus, even if not anything the general public is aware, part of the historical personnel record that could be a factor here? Perhaps some thing(s) that even if admitted/confirmed, resulted in only minor, or no discipline at the time, but at this point became part of the entirety of evidence considered after this last one? I’m not alleging anything myself, but is it possible? To me that could hold true – for anyone.

  12. This is shocking and very disturbing that this teacher was not fired immediately, but was suspended only. Letting this go means creating a green light for future inappropriate assignments for students. What’s next showing porn videos to students at school?
    Teachers are not only educating, but upbringing children at school! What values and morals does this teacher want to promote? Not to mention that there is no smoke without fire, what is in this teacher’s head? Everybody is going to wait until he does something in this nature?
    I really hope that Dekalb County Schools administrators will take this very seriously and keep the students safe.

  13. Stan, was this case referred to the Professional Standards Commission?
    I understand that the info has been out there for a while. Hard to control it with social media & the press. That was my point.
    PSC should be investigating this in detail. However, Chamblee Charter is a charter school, and depending on their written charter, they may not have to follow the standards or certification requirements by the State of GA, that Real Public Schools do.
    Who is in charge of protecting the students in this case.
    Defending his unprofessional assignments is not defendable.
    It’s a MESS!

  14. Hey Bill –
    Too funny that you’re willing to give Braaten another year when there is a laundry list of things she has mismanaged (to say the least) but you’re willing to lead the pitchforks against a teacher who made one mistake. Oh wait in number 4 you’re suggesting there were other things. Trying to get a rumor started, huh Bill?
    You’ve been vocal on all of these boards including NextDoor about how you have kids in resident and magnet, yet you’re doing everything possible to make this magnet vs. resident (I believe you said if this had happened in spanish that there would have never been a question of the person being fired). In another of your posts, you asked for transparency. Why not tell us your goals Bill? What is your real agenda?
    Like they say, people who say the most often have the least to say. Seems to fit your comments to a T.

  15. Terri Maxwell

    My children are rising CCHS 10th and 12th graders whose lives have been tremendously enriched by Uwe Neuhaus — one of the most exceptional teachers we’ve ever encountered. I am heartbroken that their educations — along with many others’ — will suffer as a result of his needless reassignment.
    If you haven’t done already so please read it — the letter is exceedingly well written, and the students’ voices deserve to be heard. Please also note that it has been signed by every single one of the 25 of the students in the class (including my rising 12th grader) and at least 40 of their parents – the signature list above is incomplete.
    I urge anyone who is interested in this matter to also read the following:
    1. Maureen Downey’s AJC article (6/29) (including a testimonial from former student Kavi Pandian): https://www.myajc.com/blog/get-schooled/top-chamblee-grad-bring-back-teacher-who-made-love-learning/53sAJvw21vCezjQVCzsQoN/
    2. The following petition that has been signed by almost 1000 people (and still counting): https://www.change.org/p/dr-stephen-green-reinstate-herr-uwe-neuhaus-to-cchs
    Among other things these materials detail the extraordinary accomplishments of Herr Neuhaus and the positive impact he has had on so many students. It may help people understand why so many of us who have encountered him feel so impassioned about reinstating him.
    This extraordinarily caring, dedicated and effective teacher deserves a chance to overcome this. Current and future students deserve the benefit of his classes.
    Nothing is more important to me than my children and their safety. If I had any concerns whatsoever about Herr Neuhaus continuing as their teacher, I would not be posting here.
    I will continue to implore Dr. Green and the DCSD to reinstate Herr Neuhaus.

  16. River Harper

    Stan, I am a student in this class. Herr Neuhaus is the best teacher I have ever had in my life, and it is not even close. At any level. These skits are being blown way out of proportion. There are 25 of us in the class, and every single one of us has signed the letter and supports him 100%. Nobody ever did any of these racy skits written above; a student emailed him and shared their concerns, and he emailed all of us immediately thereafter and said that if anybody was even remotely uncomfortable, then they wouldn’t have to do anything (the assignment was not even for a grade in the first place). This situation is being blown out of proportion on a massive scale. I am extremely disturbed by the many people coming on this site who have never met Herr Neuhaus, don’t have a child in one of his classes or even at Chamblee at all, yet feel that they know enough about the situation to support the district ruining his life by taking away his passion for the past 25+ years, as well as ruining my education by taking away the only teacher that I’ve looked forward to seeing every day for the past three years. When a sensitive issue like this comes up, it is important to consider how the students were impacted and whether the students felt safe, as many have already mentioned here. I am here to tell you that all 25 of us felt extremely safe, and that I personally trust this man more than most of my family members. I have leaned on Herr Neuhaus for personal advice, even sensitive issues dealing with problems thatI had with a friend, and he was always extremely caring and always made sure that I was doing okay. Also, I have read many comments about people assuming that there must be something more than meets the eye regarding this situation; the truth is that this was an isolated incident and he never did anything else even remotely questionable. That is why I, along with the other 24 students in this class, as well has Herr Neuhaus’ 100+ students as a whole, implore the county to bring him back and not listen to the ignorant parents who are afraid that Herr Neuhaus will somehow cause irreparable harm to their child without him even being at the same school as them. If anybody would like to talk to me and gain more first-hand knowledge about the situation from the perspective of someone who was actually there, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for addressing this issue Stan.
    River Harper

  17. At this time, because this teacher has nurtured hundreds of students through the years, students perceived his dedication and care toward them as glowing signs of an outstanding teacher of German…his introduction to assignments of Porn created red flags for some students and parents, but many students responded to his academic mission of developing skits about Porn. These students were used and manipulated by a man who IS SOOOOOOOO WRONG, and DANGEROUS to students in DCS.
    Educational goals for this lesson? Can’t think of one!
    Porn in German/Deutsch is PORN!
    PORN ist nicht für Lehrer oder Studenten in der Schule, im Klassenzimmer, nicht in Deutschland oder in den Staaten!
    This has signs of PEDAPHELIA written all over it!
    These students are confusing dedication with…we’ll write about anything this teacher asks us to do. Giving students an option to Opt-Out is irrelevant. Damage is done!
    Parents, talk to your students, esp. those who signed the petition. Brain washing! Sick man!

  18. River Harper

    The parents have all signed the petition too…. what are they going to say? The parents are behind him as well. Should he have given us the assignment? In retrospect, maybe not. That doesn’t mean that he should have been removed from his position. He was given a three week suspension, which he accepted immediately, and the first thing that the tried to do was coordinate with the substitute for lesson plans and such, only to be repeatedly ignored by the principal leading up to his reassignment. The suspension was more than enough. My classmates and I are not a bunch of zombies that would anything that he told us to do, we are not brainwashed, and we were not used or manipulated. If the only people complaining about him are in the peanut gallery, and not a single student or parent in this class has come out against him, then what does that say about the opinions of the people that actually matter, the people that are in his class actually interacting with him?

  19. Stan Jester

    Thanks for your comments River. You bring up some interesting questions. Is Neuhaus’ academic effectiveness part of this equation? Do different teachers have a different code of conduct? Do we have a sliding scale for teachers depending on how good of a teacher they are?

  20. dekalbteacher

    Stan,
    I don’t understand how Dekalb’s leaders are trained, supported, and evaluated. You didn’t know that the district is using and paying for principal coaches.
    The state requires new teachers with fewer than three years teaching experience be evaluated more than experienced teachers. In our district, teachers with fewer years in a school or in the school system may be evaluated more frequently.
    What is Dekalb’s process for evaluating its school administrators? Many of Dekalb’s high school principals and assistant principals are inexperienced. Dunwoody, Druid Hills, Tucker, and Lakeside have first-year or second-year principals. Like Chamblee’s principal, some of these principals are also new to the school district.
    In Dekalb, teachers no longer complete evaluations of administrators. I know of no meetings or focus groups asking for feedback from teachers, other staff, or parent groups. The climate survey includes no questions that ask only about the school principal or the assistant principals.
    Can you please tell us what the board and the superintendent use to determine principal and assistant principal effectiveness?

  21. River Harper

    I’d like to expand on your question to include administrators, because if a teacher at Chamblee can get reassigned for simply sending his students an email with suggestive content (some of which might have been lost in translation), then why is the principal at the same school still there after threatening teachers, pushing for removal of an assistant principal because of differing opinions, and mismanaging the budget and master schedule? I don’t even know if I’m going to have all of my classes next year, especially since DeKalb won’t be able to find some brilliant German teacher just sitting on the couch collecting unemployment that they can give a job to. Just by reading what I just wrote Stan, which one of those two groups of actions seems to be worse? There’s a reason that only one of those people got booed off the stage on June 27th! Clearly the county has a double standard for discipline depending on whether that person serves the interests of the county (Braaten) or those of the parents/students (Neuhaus). Not to mention that keeping Braaten and getting rid of Neuhaus is a very expensive decision for taxpayers. Who is paying for the salaries of those two retired principals who watched Braaten get booed off of her own stage?

  22. If 100% of the students and their parents support this teacher and the steps that were taken already, I have to wonder.. what is the point of further punishment?
    It seems to me that further punishment actually hurts the students and parents that we are supposedly trying to protect, all to pacify unrelated people who simply want to pass swift judgement and move on to the next outrage as a little boost of excitement.

  23. @ Stan to answer your question YES. We have a principal that got very unflattering scores by parents and teachers and we have a popular teacher in Herr Neuhaus that everyone looks ups and admires. So he got the one the and done treatment. Unlike a teacher who mental abuses kids in their classroom every day calling them “Lazy, stupid, and will be worthless” in front of other students and in front of the parents during a parent-teacher conference. The abuse was so bad that the student contemplated suicide because the students figured out that “Hey if a teacher can do this, we can do”.
    This ultimately lead to the student getting hit in the head with a golf club on a field trip. A hit so hard that the student was not able to finish the rest of the school year with their peers. Also, no follow up from the school to check on my son’s major concussion.
    How can I speak about this…. Because it was me and the system did nothing to this teacher or the administration for allowing this to continue for two years. This teacher is still there bullying kids. I owe my son’s life to Herr Neuhaus because he listened to my concerns about this teacher and he got me in touch with a tutor that has fosters my son’s love of German and have faith in teachers again.
    So I ask this… What’s more important… An assignment that the students are taking a college-level course by then and the teacher emailed them offering a different/alternate assignment or a teacher who mental demoralizes students daily in a classroom and nothing is done about this teacher even though many parents have complained?

  24. Stan Jester

    DeKalb Teacher,
    The principal coaches at CCHS seem to be different than other programs. I thought we used this model at Tucker, but I was wrong. You can ask your principal or regional superintendent about the tools and process for evaluating principals. The Board is prevented from involvement in personnel issues by state law.
    River,
    Braaten didn’t ask the teachers to do what Neuhaus asked his students to do.

  25. Hailey Maxwell

    As another student in the german class that received this assignment, I would like to say a few things. First, the skit examples posted above are only three of the eleven scenes that were given to the class. And these three are not indicative of the content of the rest. The other eight skits, while bizarre, were in no way inappropriate and made no students even slightly uncomfortable. Any of the skits that students did not feel comfortable acting in front of the class were also NOT performed! A student in the class who was unsure about the assignment emailed Herr Neuhaus about it and he responded (over the weekend) in less than 24 hours giving the whole class permission to edit or entirely omit scenes that they did not want to perform. Second, this assignment was not for any kind of grade. It was simply an introduction to German humor. No student was penalized in any way for changing or not performing their skit

  26. River Harper

    Neuhaus did not ask me or anybody else to do anything. He simply proposed an idea to us and now people that don’t even know him want him crucified. If you got to know me or any of my classmates, the first thing you would notice is that we are a strong-minded group people who would not do something we didn’t feel comfortable doing, no matter who told us to do it. Braaten indeed did not ask teachers to do anything, as you said, instead she FORCED them to do things they did not want to do. One current teacher I have had contact with at Chamblee said that this is the worst situation they’ve ever been in in 20+ years teaching and 15+at Chamblee, and there are a plethora of other teachers who agree with this person, as evident by the teacher survey, which Braaten conveniently declined to address at the meeting.

  27. A pervert teacher is grooming students by asking to act out his sick fantasies and some parents defending the teacher saying that he teaches German well and “enriches students lives”! Stop this planet!
    Police MUST investigate this and PROBE him! He MUST be forbidden to approach students! Those teachers and administrators trying to “sweep everything under the carpet” and let it go must loose their positions as well!

  28. Bill Armstrong

    @DaveSmith
    Thanks for asking, and using your real name. I wished more would.
    Well, here is my response.
    “ Too funny that you’re willing to give Braaten another year when there is a laundry list of things she has mismanaged (to say the least) but you’re willing to lead the pitchforks against a teacher who made one mistake. Oh wait in number 4 you’re suggesting there were other things. Trying to get a rumor started, huh Bill?”
    You’ve read me elsewhere. Good . Maybe over the years? Maybe not. But on this issue, to paraphrase myself – I don’t think I ever said “give her another year” – until the Superintendent did. And then it is more along the lines of strategy (as submitted on NextDoor) – thinking back to my many efforts dealing with the system going back 13 years: “Now that you’ve got a decision from Green/Johnson – now what?” Keep fighting (I don’t think the decision will be reversed – until she succeeds or fails – by their criteria – and I say get that – they should set it out – now) or maybe try to work with all involved? And maybe establish criteria for the parent group moving forward.
    I’ve asked – is it worthwhile to keep pushing when school will be starting so soon? To me efforts should be made to keep it from being an all-out war. Others may disagree, or say it’s too late. I don’t think so. I know others in Chamblee who agree with me. Many that have put in years of service to their schools as I know many of the other parents have. I’ve been part of parent efforts that have pivoted as we moved forward given the realities of the situation. Maybe it should be considered.
    “Lead the pitchforks against him?” I don’t think I have. Not too long ago I did ask “why not at least release the assignment?” Eventually it was. But I do know the moderators on the Facebook page expressly forbid it, under penalty of removal. Why? I did read it, have had parents make detailed arguments that 1 – it was a mistake &/or 2 – it was no big deal. I personally think – 1 – not an excuse, and 2 – given it’s in High School, regardless of how mature & advanced the students are, not cool. Do they see worse elsewhere? – sure, for many daily. Including my own. Does it belong in school? To me – nope.
    And maybe I’m not remembering – but not sure I ever advocated he be disciplined beyond what had already happened, my point here & elsewhere is, why continue the fight? Strategically, if for no other reason. It clouds the issue & cannot be separated from the fight to oust Braaten, no matter how hard many try. As well, I’ve asked & still would: has it ever worked? Meaning a similar effort to get the system to reverse a personnel decision? I honestly don’t know, but I do wonder if it is the most effective, and appropriate, use of the time of these parents & students – especially without ever knowing the full reason behind the decision – could it be the assignment wasn’t the only factor? I do know this – they’re never going to tell you. I also think there might be only one person who can – him. Do I think he should be asked? No. To me, no teacher should.
    So I asked, not claimed, is there something before this incident that played a role in the decision to reassign him? I have no personal knowledge that there was, but I’m also certain that given the private nature of personnel decisions, others do not know there wasn’t. I do know that at least one former student and a parent of another posted under their real names on the Facebook page that they had experiences in his classroom they felt obligated to bring forth, with some detail. It was essentially presented “metoo” style. Paula says she’s heard similar from 2 other parents.
    1.
    “You’ve been vocal on all of these boards including NextDoor about how you have kids in resident and magnet, yet you’re doing everything possible to make this magnet vs. resident (I believe you said if this had happened in Spanish that there would have never been a question of the person being fired). In another of your posts, you asked for transparency. Why not tell us your goals Bill? What is your real agenda?”
    Well I do have students in both resident & magnet. The resident qualified but didn’t win the lottery. The magnet obviously did, starting in 4th at Kittredge. Does that make me more qualified than any other parent to have an opinion? Nope. Does saying so help provide context as to my perspective? I think so & I say so in the form of “full disclosure.”
    I don’t think I’m trying to make this Magnet vs. Resident, but I am around students and parents from both sides, and yes to me, there are “sides.” At least for many – going both directions. I think anyone who says otherwise, they’re naive – they exist, right or wrong, or in between. I have advocated over the years that the Magnet program continue but I’ve always been bothered by some of the elitism I’ve encountered with it at times. I think there could be changes. And I get the point of people who argue equity – it is a lottery.
    My goals? I think similar to Paula, who I greatly admire, even when we don’t agree. “Is to make sure that Chamblee High School has the best possible leadership/teachers and ALL of its students (resident and magnet) are provided the best education. I will use my voice as a long time DCSD parent/stakeholder to do my best to see that that happens.” DITTO. And even when many disagree with me, that’s what I’ve wanted for the Chamblee schools since my oldest started at Huntley Hills Elementary 14 years ago.
    “Like they say, people who say the most often have the least to say. Seems to fit your comments to a T.”
    You wouldn’t be the first to say that. But I know I’ve had plenty who’ve agreed with me on many of my views and efforts over the years. But not all, at least I hope not. Especially since I’ve changed my views at times.

  29. Sarah Mackey

    As a student from the class in question, I can confirm that we don’t feel unsafe or threatened by Herr Neuhaus. We are intelligent students with functioning brains who can reason and think on our own. We understand that what Herr Neuhaus did was wrong, and that’s why we, as his “brainwashed students”, dealt with the situation in a professional manner by expressing our concerns to him. In spite of the vast amount of information reported in this blog post, people who aren’t in the class simply cannot understand. Quite frankly, my peers and I are sick of repeating the same thing time and time again to people who think they have a better understanding of our class than we do. We are quite aware of the gravity of his actions and agree that punishment is due. We are not defending the assignment — we are simply critical of the decision to relocate him. And we are critical of the volume of the voices of those who are not directly involved. Thank you, Mr. Jester, for including our voices in this post, and we hope now that others will take our perspective into account.

  30. Bill Armstrong

    Oh, I will add this – I greatly admire and respect the students who’ve penned and signed this letter. I do not discount for a moment the sincerity of what they believe and how they’ve expressed it. They are fine examples of the students Chamblee High has long produced. Their parents should be proud. And they don’t need to hear me say that to feel that way. But as a parent, I appreciate hearing it.

  31. River Harper

    Thank you Sarah/Hailey. Agree 100%. Sick and tired of trying to explain to people that we are not brainwashed by him, nor are our parents

  32. Has anyone seen anything in writing that describes the role of the 2 “coaches “that Dr. Green has decided to add to the Chamblee staff?
    If I missed it could someone please post it?
    I think he should have certainly informed the CCHS staff as to the roles of these 2 additions to the “leadership team,” and I think the parents and students deserve the courtesy of at least an introduction.
    I see that Stan says that we should ask the principal or Region 1 Superintendent about this. But it speaks volumes to me that Dr. Green and his staff haven’t communicated first. Do we little people have to beg for information in order to get it?
    Or maybe they are making it up as they go along.
    As far as pivoting when the situation changes or looks dire, I’m glad that the patriots didn’t pivot so much over 200 years ago.

  33. Bill Armstrong

    @River Count yourself among those whose opinions I respect in this situation. I would say two things:
    1 – dismissing some people expressing alternative views as being “ in the peanut gallery” doesn’t necessarily advance your cause;
    2 – yes, you can ask “then what does that say about the opinions of the people that actually matter, the people that are in his class actually interacting with him?” But I’m not sure that this group of students are the only ones with opinions that “actually matter.” There are students coming up in the German program, as well as their parents, that have opinions that matter. They have questions worth answering. And after getting answers from you and others are under no obligation to accept them to reach the same conclusions/opinions.
    Will missing the opportunity to have him teach them be bad? Maybe. Many say yes. But would it at least interest you to know that other students from previous years have publically expressed the opposite opinion of their experiences in his classroom? To the point that they dropped his class?

  34. As a CCHS parent whose child didn’t continue with high level German but is friends with all of these kids who are posting, I am so, so proud of your speaking up, your clear and thoughtful words, and your sense of justice and compassion. I am proud that you have stood up for these bad decisions that impact YOU (and not the peanut gallery). I am sorry there are people who don’t have any context and who read 3 lines of salacious content and think porn videos are being shown to kindergarten classes against their will. I am sorry that those who have the power to make these decisions have made zero effort to come to YOU, the ones in the class, and talk to you and really hear your stories. I am sorry this will so negatively impact your senior year, and I’m sorry that a lesson about how badly this school system is run is being taught to you as you try to figure out your next path in life to college. Thank you for standing strong and representing CCHS so well.

  35. I think there are a few things that are being overlooked in this ongoing drama:
    1st- Braaten does not have the authority to fire a teacher without cause and definitely NOT without the concurrence of DCSD-HR department. (It is my understanding that he was NOT fired but reassigned). And as Paula Caldarella indicated, The GA Professional Standards Commission is in place for a reason. No matter what context those assignments were given they crossed the line. I truly fail to see the humor or need in any capacity for the assignment of “the Pope’s earthly needs being satisfied in the shower, sexual assault & physical assault by a teacher against a student and the torture, mutilation and killing of animals in a bathroom also resulting in two deaths” in any HS class assignment, especially German! Why would ANYONE support that or the person that proposed it??
    2nd-I also find it funny that the majority of the anti-Braaten outspoken parents and community members have not been to one (1) PTSA meeting this past school year or any of the other meetings that she has tried to hold to put forth her vision and the things that she proposed for the future of CCHS. (Trust me, I know, I was there!) There were literally less than 15-20 parents at most. So all of this outcry of the mistakes made and all her misconduct is based on what?
    3rd- Also, regarding Herr Neuhaus, I find it really hard to believe that DCSD would risk losing someone, a teacher supposedly as great as he is based on just the recommendation of a new principal. With all the accolades he has and continue to receive, why would DCSD agree with firing or reassigning him from one of their top performing schools in the district based on Braaten’s recommendation, again a new principal? Maybe, just maybe there is more to this story???
    Braaten, is by no means perfect and without room for improvement. However, what has she done that was so beyond repair? Pushing to ensure teachers and counselors were doing their jobs? Wow, I thought that is what most parents wanted for their students!

  36. River Harper

    Bill,
    I am not dismissing people because they have alternate viewpoints, nor am I “dismissing” people at all. I am simply saying that they do not have access to the required knowledge of the situation to make an informed judgment. It is simply inappropriate for them say things like “I support his reassignment” or “He is showing his kids porn!!!!” without actually knowing the context behind the situation. It just so happens that everyone who actually is in the class and 99% of the people who know Herr Neuhaus respect him and don’t think he should have been removed.
    If he comes back and parents have their reservations, they have every right mohave their child not take his class. I will admit that Neuhaus is not for everyone. He is a difficult teacher. That is part of what makes him so great. There is a reason he only taught the most advanced students. I am acutely aware of the fact that some people didn’t like him, but these people are not in the majority. I empathize with their concerns, but just because not everybody wanted him as a teacher does not mean that what happened to him is acceptable.

  37. Dekalb Inside Out

    River, Don’t get hung up on the name calling. As students in that class, your input is valuable. I’ve talked to a few teachers that tell me Neuhaus talks a lot about sex. What are your thoughts about him talking about sex a lot in class? I’m told he discusses losing his virginity with his students.

  38. River Harper

    Dear Anon,
    Thank you very much for your support! Every student in the class feels strongly about this issue, and we simply want to make our voices heard since they are very valuable, as others have mentioned already.

  39. Show ALL of the assignment, Stan. You only are giving a few of the examples. How about the cannibalism one? The Muslim one? Don’t sugar coat this. The guy was WAY out of line.

  40. Stan Jester

    I put links to all the scenes in the homework assignment in the article. I updated the article to make it a little more obvious.

  41. River Harper

    Hi Dekalb Inside Out,
    I am not name calling, I am simply pointing out that many people commenting on the situation do not have extensive knowledge of what is going on. As for your question, I have not once heard him talk about sex in class. Ever. I’m not saying that just because I want him to return to Chamblee, I truly know that he has not once talked about sex or anything suggestive related to sex in class, nor has he ever talked about losing his virginity. I would testify that under oath if I had to because I know it to be true. As for his conversations with other teachers, I am obviously not familiar with what they talk about behind closed doors, but every teacher I’ve ever talked to says that he is a very caring, brilliant, and wonderful man and he was always a good person to talk to. I would also like to acknowledge that he comes from a culture that is very different from ours, where sex and talking about it is not a taboo topic. There are posters depicting sex toys and the like everywhere in Germany. That doesn’t mean that the assignment was acceptable, but he was trying to introduce German humor as preparation for when we interact with Germans and travel to Germany. That is the goal of the class.

  42. Dekalb Inside Out

    River, Don’t get hung up on people calling you names like “brainwashed”. It’s immaterial. Shake it off.
    Interesting that in the many years you’ve had Neuhaus, you don’t recall him talking about sex. This subject of sex in his class is just out of the blue then. Every teacher I’ve talked to says the same thing, that he’s caring, brilliant and wonderful, but he sure does talk about sex a lot.

  43. River Harper

    Dekalb Inside Out,
    I don’t think there is more to it than the fact that his alleged “sex talk” is attributable to typical German culture. It is better for students like me to prepare for differences in German culture in a controlled environment under Herr Neuhaus than to go to Germany and be blindsided by all of the cultural differences. I am sure that the approximately 75% of my classmates who have already gone to Germany and have been able to communicate in German with native speakers there because of Neuhaus’ exceptional teaching would agree with me.

  44. Dekalb Inside Out

    Pornography is much more prolific in other cultures. I wonder if exposing the class to that part of the German culture was his plan. Neuhaus has an exceptional record.

  45. River Harper

    This was not pornography or pedophilia as someone called it earlier. He was trying to prepare his students for travel to Germany so that we wouldn’t be shell shocked upon seeing something suggestive there. He does have an amazing track record. There are many statistics available that show how successful he is, including in the letter penned by the students that I encourage everyone here to read, but suffice to say that he is an exceptional teacher with an impeccable history of success. What the county is doing to him is appalling, especially in light of all of the principal’s issues at the same school, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  46. NOT a magnet parent

    I’m really tired of hearing the entitled magnet program parents bitch and moan about this. You’re behavior at that CCHS meeting was deplorable. Guess what? I know this may come as a shock to you who have been so coddled by DeKalb County, but you don’t always get your way! I know that you are part of the special magnet program and your babies are so smart and they deserve the best – even at the expense of others, because, after all, you are the magnet. In other words, you are lucky and good at lotteries. But yet the magnet drives every decision made as most of the SPLOST V discussion involved how to not move the precious magnet program. Time to understand how the rest of us get hosed by the county most of the time. Welcome to our world. And yes, my child does qualify for magnet, but doesn’t get picked so we are at our home school, likely without many of the advantages that the magnet kids get. Be thankful for what you have, because some of those kids have the same scores and grades as your kid, but just aren’t very lucky in this outdated, Neanderthal system.

  47. The question for parents/students/stakeholders isn’t “Was this assignment ok?” but is “Was this handled appropriately by the principal?” Like it or not, her opinion of whether the assignment was ok is the final one in that building, not the students or their parents. But I think her handling of that decision was poorly made, and that deserves a deeper look by stakeholders.

  48. Stan Jester

    Given the serious nature and legal implications of the homework assignment, I believe the superintendent and legal have been driving the Neuhaus related decisions for quite some time now.

  49. River Harper

    Jill,
    As one of my classmates Sarah noted earlier, the students collectively acknowledge that there were issues about the assignment. Thank you for bringing that up. The issue here is that he was given a three week suspension, which no one complained about (including Neuhaus and us), and then was all of a sudden reassigned after the case was closed and decided. In addition, the principal repeatedly ignored Neuhaus’ efforts to coordinate lesson plans for the substitutes while he was to be gone. That is what we are upset about.

  50. Again, this isn’t a Magnet vs. Resident issue.
    It’s about how we treat people, no matter what label we place on them.
    It’s especially about how we treat teachers. Choosing the most humiliating, public means of addressing an issue is just plain wrong.
    Dr. Green talks a lot about the “whole child.”
    What about the “whole teacher” too?

  51. River Harper

    It is misleading to call it a homework assignment; it was just an activity that was not for a grade. I personally think that is an important distinction, but to each their own. Stan, is the superintendent aware of the student letter we just wrote, the petitions regarding Braaten and Neuhaus, or the countless emails that students and parents have sent him about Neuhaus/Braaten? Is it at all important to him that we students love our teacher and are disappointed in his/the county’s decision to get rid of him?

  52. Paula Caldarella

    River, I can’t speak from an educational perspective, but I can from a corporate perspective. Whenever an individual is “suspended” from his/her job, they are not allowed any type of communication with their employer/fellow employees, etc. Perhaps this is the reason Herr Neuhaus was not allowed to communicate with the substitute. I don’t know – just a guess on my part as the alternative does not make any sense to me.

  53. River Harper

    Paula,
    That’s certainly a possibility, but I am also sure that he would have been told that by someone at the time of his suspension. For what it’s worth, Braaten is not exactly known for her excellent communication skills, especially replying to people’s emails. I can tell you that from first hand experience.

  54. I have a hard time reading these comments/assignment material and understanding how one can support reinstating this teacher without some severe changes and supervision of assignments. The arguement that this was taken out of context is ridiculous. How could that subject matter be appropriate in any high school level class. Just because students have been taking German since 4th grade, doesn’t make it a college-level class. It is a high-school class with 17 year olds. At what point is suggestive humor needed to navigate a trip to Germany successfully. A huge error in judgement which leads one to wonder what else is happening in that class.
    And River, is it really true that you trust Herr Neuhaus more than most of your family? That is a dangerous statement given his actions. I don’t question your loyalty, but from someone with more years in the world than you, that troubles me as a parent.

  55. Paula Caldarella

    River, I think most will agree that Communication, or lack thereof, is one of the big issues that face not only Braaten, but it is something DCSD as a whole, hasn’t been very good at. That being said, dealing with Human Resources and all of the legal requirements around HR issues can be extremely frustrating. It may seem like nothing is being done, but as Stan indicated, legal departments in all companies, have a huge amount of influence on what others within a company can/will do or say. Not an excuse by any means, but just from someone who has dealt with these issues over many years.

  56. Stan Jester

    “assigned in class activity” … agreed. I’ll change that in my post. I’m certain the Superintendent is aware of the student letter, petition and hundreds personal of emails sent to him and the board.
    The superintendent is very well aware of the affection the students and community at large have for Neuhaus … not to mention his superior academic effectiveness. None of these things are in question.
    You asked the question I asked you earlier. Can we make these things part of the equation? Can we have a different code of conduct for teachers depending on how effective they are and how much they are beloved by the community?

  57. River Harper

    Mark,
    The reason that all 25 of the students (myself included) support reinstating him is not that we agree with the content of the assignment; we don’t. However, each and every one of us feels that him being removed from his classroom against his will in front of students by security and administrators, missing school for about a week or so, and then being suspended without pay for three weeks after that was more than a sufficient punishment for one isolated incident that did not even manifest itself in the classroom.
    I stand by my comment. Herr Neuhaus has been a very influential person in my life, has helped meet and communicate with a significant amount of friends that I am visiting in Germany in about two weeks’ time. Furthermore, Herr Neuhaus has taught all of his students something that every other teacher neglects, chichis public speaking. Because of him, I am now able to articulate myself in English as well as German while giving a presentation, something that’s vexed me and many other kids in the past. That is not a skill that I will learn and forget right after graduating like many other classes with different teachers, but something that will help me throughout my life. I could go into many more examples of how Herr Neuhaus has positively impacted me and many of my classmates and why I and the other 24 students in the class trust him so much, but that is just one example.

  58. River Harper

    Stan,
    I am glad that the superintendent is aware of our concerns, as are you, and I think you’ve done a great job in providing us a forum in which the school board can hear such concerns. Theoretically, we know that a different code of conduct for each teacher depending on how effective they are is unethical. That is why I along with the other parents and students may not have necessarily agreed with the suspension, but we, along with Herr Neuhaus, accepted it.
    What was wrong with the three week suspension? Why did the county hand down the suspension and then seemingly change their mind at the drop of a hat? That is why so many people are upset. Why couldn’t Neuhaus have been suspended to acknowledge his wrongdoing, but been allowed to stay at school for the sake of the students’ education? Why try to find someone to replace him when many students, parents, and teachers believe that he is irreplaceable?
    Just last year, Dr. Green actually met Neuhaus after he was selected as the STAR Teacher. There is a picture of the two of them on the internet standing next to each other smiling. There is no such picture of Green and Braaten, so why is the county so tough on Neuhaus, which is an expensive stance from a taxpayer perspective (because of the money required to find a “suitable replacement”), and so supportive of Braaten, which is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands because of these Executive Coaches?

  59. Cindy Pietkiewicz

    Youth/kids are exposed to so much via mobile phone, tv, internet, even if you try to keep your kids from it. And youth and parents react differently to this content. So no surprise there are many who are not troubled, and some who are…..
    I want to say that it is fair that this type of content should not be in assignments to high school students in the future, and that sexual references in class should be avoided as much as possible, even when kids initiate conversation.
    However, any teacher should have the chance to be given a suspension/commit to a performanc plan, and as long as an investigation does not uncover evidence of anything more troubling than assignment , to go back as Neuhaus was reinstated at CCHS.
    We assume innocence in this country until proven of any guilt. I have not heard of anything that is more than an adult-like content complain but hear people making assumptions that are unfounded.

  60. Cindy Pietkiewicz

    And I want Anonymous in this post who is spewing all kinds of accusations and is the most attacking to come out of the dark themselves. It is just wrong to be spewing this without being named and having any direct evidence.
    If you say porn use leads to more serious assault, then 80% of the men who view porn regularly are all perpetrators. Come on out !!!! I am a conservative by the way, but am cautious of making judgment and try my best not to assume judgment. I also put a lot of trust in the judgement of a large group of 16 and 17 year olds who have obviously put a lot of thought into assessing Neuhaus’ character and who are entrusting their younger siblings to him in the future.

  61. Bill Armstrong

    I know this is a serious matter, but I’m still waiting for someone to say to the other:
    “Your story has become tiresome . . . . would you like to touch my monkey?”*
    Sorry, couldn’t resist. By for now – “Now is ze time on Sprockets vhen ve dance.”
    *disclaimer – referring to a real monkey named Klaus.

  62. Sakshi Sehgal

    I agree with the other German 5 students and parents. I had Herr Neuhaus all four years of high school; even after having skipped a level and finishing the pathway a year early, I found myself yearning to come back to his classroom and did so as a teacher assistant. Sure, we discussed controversial topics (and did so in multiple other advanced classes), but I never once felt uncomfortable in his class, which I believe echoes other student perspectives as well. I applied to so many colleges as a German major because of him! And I agree with Mrs. Pietkiewicz– I would want no other language teacher for my little brother, who has looked forward to having such an influential instructor.

  63. Stan Jester

    Good questions River. I wasn’t part of a group that sat down and made this decision. Given the conversations I have had, I can provide an educated guess as to how and why this went down the way it did. Unfortunately, I’ll have to pick this up later this evening or tomorrow. To be continued …

  64. Dave Maxwell

    The concerns raised by some with the content of the skits are reasonable concerns.
    The concerns raised by the srudents, former students, parents and the community about an overreaction to those skits are reasonable concerns.
    But maybe some perspective and context would also be reasonable. Consider the following:
    1) The questionable skits were never perfomed, the assignment was modified immediately;
    2) The teacher was punished – three weeks without pay, a substantial portion of his 10 month salary;
    3) The teacher acknowledged the infraction and voluntarily accepted the suspension;
    4) The district conducted a full investigation and returned the teacher to the classroom. Only later over the summer was he reassigned without explanation- again after the investigation was completed and after he was returned to the classroom by the county;
    5) Every single student in that class has authored a letter seeking him back. If this community does nothing else to find facts about this matter, read that letter. Their voices matter. They are intelligent and they deserve to be acknowledged, not dismissed as brainwashed.
    From my perspective as a parent of one of the students in that German V class, I agree with many of those who have said the skits were not appropriate. And I agree that disciplinary action (although it should have been handled far better) was appropriate. I strongly disagree, however, that removing him from Chamblee is remotely appropriate. It is a disproportionate response to an assignment that was never undertaken.
    We have a difficult time keeping quality, experienced teachers in Dekalb schools. They are underpaid and underappreciated. And while this assignment was wrong, this teacher’s record of excellence cannot and should not be ignored. Nor should the views of some many current and past students who credit him with transforming their lives; if there was a “danger” it would long ago have been revealed. Let’s not confuse inappropriate with dangerous. I believe discipline was appropriate, and agree with the sentiment expressed by other posters that lesson plans need closer assessment, but it would be a tremendous waste of DeKalb resources to destroy a distinguished career when other more appropriate discipline is available and has been levied. Discipline that enforces Dekalb policy but doesn’t also harm the students. That is what I consider reasonable.

  65. I would like to put some context around German 5 and 6 classes. My student did not take German at CCHS but French at LHS. First I would like to point out that there are no other Dekalb schools that offer a language pathway beyond the Advanced Placement (AP) level. Most take it as a senior when they are turning 18. The Level 5 and 6 classes are taught at a college level. My student was quite advance in french and therefore had the skill set needed to take AP French in 10th grade. The teacher told me flat out that the classroom discussions and assignments were of a mature content and he should wait till he was a senior. I pressed the issue again when he was a junior and she finally agreed. My student then went on to take French 5 and 6 equivalent in dual enrollment at GA State. All that said, the content of his high school AP class included discussions of prostitution, war, death, sexually transmitted disease, subjection of woman by various religions, gang violence (and all that entails – just use your imagination). In my students Level 5 and 6 classes at GA State, they discussed real world events, the good and the bad, but it was all in French as debate and learning experience. The students and parents that choose to take an AP language, whatever it may be, need to understand what they are signing up for. They read the newspaper’s from that country. If the newspapers are talking about Porn, then they talk about it in class. So in closing, the parents and students of German 5 and 6 knew very much what they were signing up for. If for one minute you think your 17-18 year old has not discussed these taboo topics with their peers, you are kidding yourselves.

  66. Anonymous Teacher

    I truly am shocked to read some of these comments. So quick to judge. This is a man’s career. He basically is being fired from teaching German in Dekalb County because of an assignment??? I’m sorry you were offended. He was punished (3 weeks no pay is major for a teacher). You all have put such a high standards on teachers but don’t pay us or respect us when we do well…only bring us down when we make a mistake. What you all don’t realize is the fear we (teachers) face as we go back to work. If the best of the best make a mistake and can lose his job so quickly what if I make a mistake? We don’t try to mess up but we do. We are human (some of you seem to forget that). We all thought that you only get transferred if you do something illegal but now an assignment can destroy you! What used to be a talk with your principal about what you did wrong and how you can fix it to be a better teacher has turned in to losing the classroom you love. This is bigger than Neuhaus and he knows it. ALL teachers are damaged by this decision. We are evaluated but our Principal is not. Why isn’t she walking on eggshells like I am? And I still don’t know my schedule for next year, was never officially told about the coaches (heard it from other teachers) and am dreading going back to the job I adore and am very good at, by the way! And I have to be anonymous because I fear for my job!

  67. Anonymous CCHS Teacher

    I truly am shocked to read some of these comments. So quick to judge. This is a man’s career. He basically is being fired from teaching German in Dekalb County because of an assignment??? I’m sorry you were offended. He was punished (3 weeks no pay is major for a teacher). You all have put such a high standards on teachers but don’t pay us or respect us when we do well…only bring us down when we make a mistake. What you all don’t realize is the fear we (teachers) face as we go back to work. If the best of the best make a mistake and can lose his job so quickly what if I make a mistake? We don’t try to mess up but we do. We are human (some of you seem to forget that). We all thought that you only get transferred if you do something illegal but now an assignment can destroy you! What used to be a talk with your principal about what you did wrong and how you can fix it to be a better teacher has turned in to losing the classroom you love. This is bigger than Neuhaus and he knows it. ALL teachers are damaged by this decision. We are evaluated but our Principal is not. Why isn’t she walking on eggshells like I am? And I still don’t know my schedule for next year, was never officially told about the coaches (heard it from other teachers) and am dreading going back to the job I adore and am very good at, by the way! And I have to be anonymous because I fear for my job!

  68. I am so proud of our students for standing up and expressing themselves. Whether you agree with them or not, the fact that they care enough about school and their teachers to take a (risky, given some of the responses) public position makes me feel good about the future.
    One very important thing that I think has been missing from this conversation is this: whatever YOU think about Herr Neuhaus’s conduct in this instance, DeKalb has expressed, clearly and formally, how seriously they take it, to the tune of a three-week unpaid suspension. Fine, we can argue with that or not.
    But what happened next is nothing to with that. Having already been punished, DeKalb decided to take a second bite at this, and transfer him against his will. For someone who lives for teaching, this is a much more serious thing than the money and missing his classes.
    Of course, if we ask, we won’t be told that this is a punishment. In fact, we will be told nothing, because “DeKalb does not comment on personnel issues.” Which is the same line they have used to avoid addressing (or even allowing discussion of) the principal situation. And contracts are with he district, not the school, so they can send anyone amywhere at will, and not have to count it as “punishment.”
    So we are left wondering what is going on. I can only think of three options:
    (1) They decided that CCHS would be better off without Herr Neuhaus. The outpouring from the school makes it pretty clear that this is a minority opinion.
    (2) They, having punished him once, decided to punish him again, in a way where he had no means of recourse because it wasn’t “punishment.” This sounds like double jeopardy to me…
    (3) This has nothing to do with him, and he is just the poor unfortunate soul who got caught up in an attempt to intimidate and threaten staff into being quiet and knowing their place.
    I would really, really like to know what the reason is. And DeKalb, in not telling us anything, is just leaving people to assume the worst. As a big supporter of our school system, that just…doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

  69. Paige McGaughey

    I am a parent of a student who has had Herr Neuhaus for two years. I am also a veteran teacher. We hold out hope that HN will be reinstated to CCHS so that our son and others can continue their German studies with *him* rather than a subpar “replacement”. The original three-week suspension without pay which he agreed to should have been enough. HN does not need the PSC to revoke his teaching certificate for making a mistake. He also does not deserve reassignment to a desk job in the county. HN should be teaching! We want him back in his classroom. The students want and deserve to have him back with them!
    I have so much admiration for the students who are defending him, and no, “anonymous “ commentators and trolls, these young people are not “brainwashed”. They, like my son, respect Herr Neuhaus and know what a stellar teacher he is. They, along with HN, are being punished for a mistake.
    Herr Neuhaus should be reinstated to CCHS under the original terms agreed to between himself and DCSD. We hope DCSD will act accordingly so that an excellent teacher can return to his classroom and so that our children can receive the education they deserve.

  70. River Harper

    Thank you for all of the time you spent addressing this issue today Stan. We look forward to learning more about this egregious mistake.

  71. River Harper

    Hi BB,
    It is great to know that other schools in DeKalb have had similar situations, and that the parents also supported the French teacher at Lakeside. Thank you for your very candid (and accurate) analysis of why the parents are also behind Neuhaus.
    Thank you Paige, Sakshi, Mr. Maxwell and Andrew for your kind and thoughtful words. Once again, as others have mentioned, Mr. Maxwell and Andrew bring up a good point; nobody was complaining about the situation until he was reassigned, even after he was suspended. The parents and students know that Herr Neuhaus belongs at Chamblee, and I personally cannot imagine Chamblee Charter High School without him.

  72. Marley Brock

    Another German V student here. As my classmates and I have already stated — multiple times, in every forum available to us — we don’t think this assignment was a good idea. We are completely aware that it was a mistake, as shown by the fact that we spoke with Herr Neuhaus ourselves about it. That said, we, the students directly affected, agree that Herr Neuhaus’ relocation was a gross overreaction. The already administered punishment was adequate. And I am telling you nothing that you don’t already know, because we have been saying this over and over and over again since the beginning. We are tired of repeating ourselves. We are tired of listening to others tell us how we feel and what we think. We are not brainwashed; we are not being “used and manipulated”; our teacher is not a pervert or a pedophile. We are intelligent students who simply want our last year with the person who, for many of us, is the best teacher of our lives, and we want the classes after us to be able to learn from him as well.
    And frankly, is posting an anonymous comment calling a group of students “brainwashed” really the best way to prove a point? My parents have talked to me openly about this since it all began, and I know I have their full support. (See also: the list of parent signatures on our letter.)

  73. Sexual conversations and discussions by teachers in GERMANY is ALSO Verboten, just like in this country.
    A teacher must maintain adult/student boundaries. Herr Neuhaus has no leg to stand on, here or in Germany. He crossed a LINE which gives other educators, and possibly police, a window into his judgement, interests, perception & motives while sharing information with students, and assigning Skits explicit with pornography.
    Please do not accept that a fantastic, dedicated, BEST TEACHER EVER, TEACHER OF THE UNIVERSE, can be allowed to do this. He crossed a line, and I bet he knows it & knew it at that time. He backed off immediately after the students expressed their refusal.
    GERMANY has highly trained teachers, rigorous monitoring and vetting of ethical and knowledgeable teachers. Yes, men like Herr Neuhaus will cross lines, and they need to be removed from students and schools immediately!
    He tested the sexual introductions to students, and it appeared he got feedback. However, he went there!
    DCS did the right thing. I don’t know if a police report was made, DFACS contacted and/or if DCS referred his case to the Professional Standards Commission.
    Those are personnel issues kept confidential. Mr. Jester most likely knows the confidential details.
    Herr Neuhaus is WRONG!
    He doesn’t get 2nd chances when introducing such pornographic tasks, discussions and telling students that he may be getting students READY to acclimate when visiting or studying in Germany.
    Do not believe this!
    You will end up in trouble if you follow his advice. Students living in Germany, like in the US, may have all types of sexual experience among their peers, but NEVER WITH A TEACHER.
    There are distinctive boundaries and teacher know them & must uphold them.
    Teachers, as adults, have the responsibility NEVER to blur those lines.
    Teachers know this!
    He was WRONG!
    Very Wrong!!!
    If some of you students end up becoming teachers, too – some day, all this will make sense to you as an adult.
    He was WRONG!
    What a SHAME – a LOSS – he should never go to another classroom, anywhere.

  74. Sexual conversations and discussions by teachers in GERMANY is ALSO Verboten, just like in this country.
    A teacher must maintain adult/student boundaries. Herr Neuhaus has no leg to stand on, here or in Germany. He crossed a LINE which gives other educators, and possibly police, a window into his judgement, interests, perception & motives while sharing information with students, and assigning Skits explicit with pornography.
    Please do not accept that a fantastic, dedicated, BEST TEACHER EVER, TEACHER OF THE UNIVERSE, can be allowed to do this. He crossed a line, and I bet he knows it & knew it at that time. He backed off immediately after the students expressed their refusal.
    GERMANY has highly trained teachers, rigorous monitoring and vetting of ethical and knowledgeable teachers. Yes, men like Herr Neuhaus will cross lines, and they need to be removed from students and schools immediately!
    He tested the sexual introductions to students, and it appeared he got feedback. However, he went there!
    DCS did the right thing. I don’t know if a police report was made, DFACS contacted and/or if DCS referred his case to the Professional Standards Commission.
    Those are personnel issues kept confidential. Mr. Jester most likely knows the confidential details.
    Herr Neuhaus is WRONG!
    He doesn’t get 2nd chances when introducing such pornographic tasks, discussions and telling students that he may be getting students READY to acclimate when visiting or studying in Germany.
    Do not believe this!
    You will end up in trouble if you follow his advice. Students living in Germany, like in the US, may have all types of sexual experience among their peers, but NEVER WITH A TEACHER.
    There are distinctive boundaries and teacher know them & must uphold them.
    Teachers, as adults, have the responsibility NEVER to blur those lines.
    Teachers know this!
    He was WRONG!
    If some of you students end up becoming teachers, too – some day, all this will make sense to you as an adult.
    What a SHAME – a LOSS – he should never go to another classroom, anywhere.

  75. River Harper

    HHurley,
    Nobody here is “accepting” or saying that what our teacher did is acceptable. However, the second Herr Neuhaus saw that we had a concern about the assignment, he completely threw it out the window. After Herr Neuhaus got suspended, not a single person from our class said anything to the county or the principal; we accepted their decision and so did our teacher. Now that he has been reassigned, there has been an outcry of support for him. As you can see from the comments earlier, this entire issue is not actually about the skits (none of which that were performed were pornographic) at all; it is about what the county did after that. The outcry is that the county reassigned him without providing a reason, after they had already given him a three week suspension. If you read the comments on this post, you will not find a single person, be it a student, another teacher, or a parent that has said that there is nothing wrong with the skits. I encourage you to read our letter to learn more. Thank you.

  76. Tanya Myers

    I’m very concerned that people on this blog are now suggesting that DFACs get involved with no evidence whatsoever that there’s an issue here that DFACs should investigate. That goes far beyond the reasonable discussion of this classroom matter. I also don’t agree that this is pornographic. Although I appreciate the discussion, the rhetoric here is getting sufficiently defamatory that I think it should be shut down.

  77. Paige McGaughey

    I agree with Tanya Myers…HHurley has himself/herself(?) crossed a line. Listen to those who know Herr Neuhaus…the parents, the teachers and staff (many of whom have worked with him for 20+ years!), the alumna all over the world who have had the good fortune of having him as a teacher and come out in support of him, and our children. There is nothing perverse going on and to allege such without verifiable evidence is potentially illegal. Please stop.

  78. Bill Armstrong

    OK – supporters of Herr Nuehaus, parents & students alike, have repeated here & elsewhere, to support their argument:
    1 – We agree that the assignment was inappropriate but the punishment is too severe,
    or
    2 – The material really isn’t that big a deal & these students are very advanced & mature, this is high level stuff, these students can handle it.
    Both positions have been posited here in this thread multiple times. So which is it?

  79. Crosby Turner

    Think of the goofy comedians on “Dumb and Dumber” or Steve Martian and Gene Wilder or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis! That was the context in which such skits were intended to be played out in Herr Neuhaus’s German classroom.
    There was nothing racy or sexually stimulating in the skits. If you imagine it to be salacious then you are the one with the sick and dirty mind. If you think it is porn then I am sorry you are an idiot. I wish I could show you the photograph a student laughingly shared with me of himself wearing a completely ridiculous, silly wig for a skit he did in Herr Neuhaus’s German class. It is totally silly. If I could send you the photo you would see there is. nothing pornographic. Was Herr Neuhaus promoting cross-dressing? Are you crazy? While some most parts of the German class are meant to be taken and remembered very seriously- This Was A Comedy People!
    When a student expressed discomfort at the assignment, Herr Neuhaus immediately said then ‘Then don’t do it. Make up one of your own’. When he sat down and reviewed the skits he cancelled them. He immediately realized and said they were inappropriate and in poor taste on the surface and could be misinterpreted and offensive. He admitted his error and is willing do whatever it takes to make amends. He would do anything to make it right for his students and parents and the school he loves. And I believe from talking with him that his true purpose in over 20 years of teaching was only to have his students learn the subject at a high level. And also to ‘learn how to learn’, not just a language but how to learn anything.. And to know another culture in another part of the world. Anything you can dredge up from the past 20 years- over 20 years- I am sure he would work as tirelessly to make sure to make corrections for his students as he always has been conscientious and dedicated to his student’s success.
    How about you? Would you be able to have every thoughtless, insensitive thing you have ever done or said in the past 23 years or rumored to have done printed in the newspaper? Don’t lie and say you have never said or done anything inappropriate or have never offended anyone. It would be much easier to quietly exit or retire and relocate geographically. Could you stand up to the extreme challenge of such situation?
    I have not seen Ms. Braaten or Mr. Spears be able to reflect on their actions or acknowledge any feedback and be dedicated to making things right. Beyond that there has been real damage to the school and faculty. The expert who has prepared the master schedule for many years prepared 3 different versions of the master schedule to have them rejected and criticized. Ms. Braaten is said to have taken over the responsibility herself. That veteran Assistanf Principal resigned and was immediately hired in another county. I am told that our veteran A.P. might be working with the previous successful CCHS principal (but I am not sure). It is said that Ms. Braaten saw the complexity of the master calendar and gave it over to Mr. Spears. Finally DCSD had to ask the expert who resigned to go back in during her final days to try to fix it along with additional personnel from nearby schools. The Chamblee teachers were not even given the courses they were assigned to teach next fall at the end of school. Usually they have those assignments weeks or months before the end of school so they can begin to prepare. Teachers were sent an email in late June on their assigned courses. But they still do not know today if they are going to be General, Inter-related (General with Special Ed.) or Gifted classes. Chamblee teachers today still do not have a daily schedule with times/period of classes and planning periods. This is not a great job on the schedule. This is not merely late, it borders on being chaotic.
    At the State of Chamblee event Ms. Braaten did a very good job of presenting school accomplishments, and presenting data to set goals and a vision. Had she begun that way at the beginning of her first year it would have been good. Instead she told the faculty of one of the best schools in the state “if you play with me I am going to light you up.” And ‘if you don’t like the changes I make then leave.’
    Ms. Braaten stated that in the fall one third of the faculty would have to move everything to a different classroom apparently in the days just before school starts when they have an enormous amount of other requirements to complete. She implied but did not actually say that all of the 9th graders would be moved to one hallway. That is strategy that had been done twice before in previous years at CCHS with poor results. Ms. Braaten said that some important issues could be addressed with a 9th Grade Hallway if it is in her words ‘done well and in the right way’. (I actually agree. That is with the right staffing and coordination.) However there was no time for questions about how it will be done. We had been promised a community meeting with “input”. And what if the 9th Grade hallway is thrown together with teachers moving, trying to figure out the rigorous curriculum requirements for their classes and with not enough counselors to correct inevitable errors in schedules for students? What will that hallway look like during the first week, the first month if it is not ‘done well and in the right way’? Harry Wong an expert educator whose famous “The First Week of School” proven method says it needs to be organized and clear and able to set lasting reliable routines and norms. Who will have to deal with the immediate consequences if it is not? The most vulnerable students. And many students will start behind because of errors in scheduling (some weeks behind) and they have a very hard time ever catching up.
    I do sincerely believe that both Ms. Braaten and Mr. Spears are intelligent, educated and very hard working people. You don’t go into education because it is easy or stress free or to get rich and retire after a few years. Education is said to be a calling or a mission. Professions with a “calling” or sense of mission can attract some interesting personalities. Primarily the path of education is taken most all of the time to make a positive difference in the lives of children and the community. My wish is that they both find a good place and fit for their talents and skill set. They brought previous approaches to a complex, high performing Charter school environment. They tried to insure that meticulous, complicated and time-consuming curriculum and lesson planning methods were implemented asap into crowded classrooms. That is a tall order. It can be done. This was simply not a good fit. Their tough ‘my way or the highway’ did not work. It might have been appropriate in very low performing schools elsewhere. I believe they will approach a new situation differently in the future. Some jobs do not require a lot of planning, collaboration, accountability, inspiration and team building. This one does.
    Herr Neuhaus has been proven to be one of the best and most effective teachers in the United States for well over twenty years! He has done not just good work literally it has been great work. In over 20’years you are going to make mistakes but excellence must outweigh your errors. You can’t just go out and pick up creative and effective teaching techniques and materials and lesson plans from a workshop or a book that have been actually been proven to work in complex classrooms. Herr Neuhaus is willing to face criticism and even humiliation and still get back up determined to do a better job- for the good of the students and parents. You can count on nothing less than excellence.
    Why am I an advocate for Herr Neuhaus? First I am only speaking here as a PARENT. However I will say that I have 3 university degrees plus advanced post-graduate work. I have about 10 or more professional certifications and some years of experience in various levels of education. I have had experience in an excellent ‘Freshman Academy’ (a very tough job). I have ELL/ESOL certification and experience. However here I am simply a Dad. Two years ago I heard complaints everyday during my daughter’s freshman year in German about being put on the spot to answer challenging questions everyday in front of others- completely in German! My daughter was rather reserve and felt pressured. She did not feel appreciated. Students with lower grades than hers got awards. She thought Herr Neuhaus was quirky and had an attitude . (My very strong willed daughter had a bit of an attitude.) That was her first year. I would have written a different letter then.
    This past year (her second year) in AP German she worked very hard and began to understand Herr Neuhaus had methods to bring students out to fully participate in class whether it was speaking spontaneously or playing a game with a team to find the right answers or in skits or by making PowerPoint presentations or studying for national exams. She realized that the students who won awards were the ones that work extremely hard at maximum effort and showed measurable improvement toward greater excellence. She realized that all people are quirky and have attitudes including herself. She needed to learn to work with others who seem very different from her. She learned in depth about a culture and history of a nation different from her own. Her grades were truly excellent. But the the frequent complaints completely transformed into more anecdotes about what happened in class today. She smiled and laughed frequently.
    Near the end of the year she told me about seeing Herr Neuhaus being removed in the middle of her AP German class two days before AP exams. They had been studying and not doing any skits or games. She told me about the controversy many days before about skits. Even though the skits were cancelled and students could make up their own, I was shocked at the words of the assignment. I asked her ‘why didn’t you tell me about this?’ I told her would have personally objected to some of the content she described that had been sent out. (She knows I have directly confronted teachers in the school office before as well as sent letters.)
    She said clearly “Daddy, it was all silly, not real. Herr Neuhaus would never intentionally do any thing to actually hurt or demean anyone. Besides we can all speak up and say what is on our minds in his classes.”
    Crosby Turner (p.s. My daughter made a 5 in AP German and has been saving her money to go study in Germany when she passes the DSD II at C2 level. p.p.s. Sorry for the typos. This is a very small font.)

  80. Unacceptable Teaching

    So River, Cindy and the other defenders of Herr Neuhaus, please tell me how you would handle the following because I’d like to explain to my 11th grader what she might be in for next year.
    1. If she does scene one, how exactly are they to portray the implied oral sex in the classroom?
    2. For scene 2, assuming it’s two boys, how exactly do they need to be rubbing up and down against each other? How is that acted out?
    3. For scene 3, what should they use to enhance “Ms. Hoeny’s breasts?” And how rough should she push the student against the wall?
    4. Scene 5 – should they get plastic thumbs or make a real thumb out of dough so that the girl
    Can actually eat it?
    5. Scene 6 – How should the intoxicated drunk girl be portrayed? Should they get into character by knocking back a few shots before the scene?
    6. Scene 7 – How should the animal torture be handled? Should someone bring stuffed cats before class? How do we get a bathtub full of water so we can actually see them dying?
    7. Scene 8 Is there a certain wild sex dance the teacher has in
    mind?
    This shows the absolute poor taste and unacceptable nature of this assignment. The principal is correct.

  81. River Harper

    Bill,
    That is an interesting question, and I will to answer as succinctly as possible.
    The students in the class, myself included, thought that the assignment was strange and maybe a little inappropriate upon initially receiving it, but most of us did not think much of it except for the people that received the few skits that are receiving the most criticism. Those people emailed Neuhaus with their concerns and he more than accommodated to their concerns, as many of us have already mentioned. After he was removed from the classroom, we were surprised but understood why they would be concerned given how the skits have been interpreted when taken out of context and viewed in a vacuum. However, while we acknowledged why the school and the county would be concerned, they took it too far as evident by their actions since then. Because we are indeed advanced and mature students, we handled the situation in a professional manner by emailing him, but still accepted his suspension regardless as I have mentioned numerous times already. In other words, both of those two arguments you have mentioned are held by the students and parents, and I believe that they are capable of coexisting. I hope I was able to answer your question.

  82. River Harper

    Hi Unacceptable Teaching,
    As we have already mentioned countless times, none of those scenes were performed. The students with one of those skits that you referenced emailed Neuhaus and explained their concerns to him, and he promptly emailed all of us shortly thereafter and told us that we did not have to do them. As many of us have already mentioned, you will be hard pressed to find one of us that supports the assignment; we know that our teacher made a mistake, and all of us accepted the three week suspension that was initially given to him. If Neuhaus comes back, which all 25 of the students in the class are working hard to ensure happens, and you and your daughter do not feel comfortable continuing in high level German, then there are other lower level German teachers that she can have instead. However, as I have already said before, Neuhaus was extremely receptive to our concerns, and nobody has ever done anything that they have felt uncomfortable doing in Herr Neuhaus’ class in the three years that I have had him. I hope that clears up your concerns.

  83. @Anonymous : “What’s next showing porn videos to students at school?” haha … how about back in the day when STUDENTS made and posted a very racy video in chorus class and the TEACHER got fired? Yep. It happened. And many of us recall the days when people fought hard for Wayne Chelf not to be fired from Lakeside. He was fired. Twice. Here are some more DeKalb headlines ripped from the screen; “Students protest racism at Dunwoody High School”, “Ex-DeKalb teacher faces porn-texting charge”, “Substitute teacher under investigation for viewing porn in front of students at Montgomery Elementary”, “Educators involved in brawl caught on video will be terminated”, “DeKalb Schools teacher suspended for vulgar lyrics in homework assignment” (the assignment was to put a positive spin on some real rap lyrics), “DeKalb County elementary teacher arrested in murder of siblings”, “A former DeKalb County Schools teacher accused of letting students have sex in a closet faces new charges.” “DeKalb Schools: Teacher on leave after ‘80s New York rape allegations”, “DeKalb teacher accused of murdering 2 kids a member of Crips gang”, “Seven DeKalb school bus drivers fired for encouraging sickout”, “Cross Keys teachers leave after disputed claims of Trump-inspired threats”, “DeKalb Schools Tribunal: Fire Teacher Accused of Molestation”. Etc. Etc.
    Yes, There’s a whole lotta bad stuff going on in our enormous, unwieldy school district, so you can see why the super has to rule with an iron fist more or less – not a lot of room for flexibility … but always remember we have this bright light that thwarted what could’ve been a national news tragedy, “Antoinette Tuff (school secretary) hailed as ‘true hero’ out of Georgia school shooting”!

  84. ps … check out this story as a comparison to what’s happening at CCHS … “Tucker High School Principal Removed Following Complaints” …
    https://decaturish.com/2017/10/tucker-high-principal-removed-following-complaints/

  85. @River >> FWIW, I have been to Germany several times and although it is a bit patriarchal, people definitely do not sit around talking about sex. Nor is there sexually suggestive material, theater, strip clubs or groups of prostitutes hanging around in the open everywhere (not saying it’s not there, it’s just not in your face like it is here). It’s actually a fairly clean and innocent society compared to the United States. Heck, in Europe, the television shows are nowhere near as sexually explicit or violent as here … and most of the time they don’t subject you to the commercials. (You surely won’t see “Berlin Housewives! Or the German “Bachelor”.) You really should go … you might be shocked to find out it’s not nearly the place you’ve been led to believe.

  86. Paige McGaughey

    Once again, River explains this parent’s stance as well re: Bill and “Unacceptable Teaching”. I will also restate what some others already have…those of you who are so against Herr NEuhaus should step out of the shadows and include your names with your accusatory diatribes. No? It’s easy to write malicious, slanderous assaults with anonymity and a keyboard. If you stand behind your accusations, sign your REAL, full name, or zip it. I know I won’t answer anymore of your queries nor do I think you deserve thoughtful responses from these intelligent students.

  87. River Harper

    Cere,
    I will be there in about two weeks visiting an exchange student in Stuttgart that I was able to communicate with thanks to Herr Neuhaus. I will definitely look out for things like that while I am there. That assertion was made after talking to him, some of his friends that I also talk to very regularly (in German), as well as talking to some of my other 24 classmates that have been there very recently, one of which came back from Germany last week. What adults see in Germany on vacation and what teenagers see when interacting with other German teens there are two different things, and Herr Neuhaus knows that.

  88. DSW2Contributor

    River Harper, you asked “What was wrong with the three week suspension?” I offer these four points:
    (1) Educators are entrusted with much, the education and the lives of children.
    (2) Teachers disclpined for wrongdoing lose that trust, so they must be very closely supervised when they are allowed back into the classroom.
    (3) Administrators must have foreign language skills to closely supervise foreign-language classes.
    (4) CCHS does not have a Principal or AP capable of closely supervising this teacher, so he must be reassigned to a school (the ISS) with administrators capable of closely supervising him.

  89. River, actually, I don’t there on vacation. I work there on occasion and interact with adults mostly. I also stay and interact with the friends I meet through work. I also work with Germans when I work in Spain and England, and I appreciate their understated humor. But, you’re right, maybe teens are doing things I’m not privy to. It’s a beautiful place with very good people. Have a good time!

  90. Unacceptable Teaching

    Paige give Neuhaus a pass and says we’re at fault for pointing out the obvious? Unreal! So your good with the content of borderline sexual harassment but if one calls it out, they are at fault? Really?!

  91. River Harper

    Hi DSW2Contributor,
    I will address each of your four points to help you understand where I am coming from.
    1. As I have stated repeatedly already, all 25 of the students and their parents value being educated by Neuhaus enough to fight for his return. Clearly, we trust him with our education and lives, along with the other classes that he teaches.
    2. An idea has been proposed to one of Stan’s colleagues on the board that Neuhaus come back on a probation agreement. If he were to violate that agreement, he would be fired immediately. What I can tell you, though, is that if and when he does come back, he will not do anything even remotely questionable again to avoid this crisis reoccurring.
    3/4. If the county is willing to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars to find people to monitor Braaten, who 2,500+ parents, teachers and students want gone, there is no reason for them not to have considered allocating resources for a Performance Improvement Plan for Neuhaus, which would have been much cheaper. The International Welcome Center, where he was reassigned, is not really a school. It is a gateway for immigrant families to prepare their children for ESOL classes in DeKalb schools. None of them speak English or German, so Neuhaus’ immense talent is completely wasted by him being there. CCHS does not have a principal capable of supervising anybody at all, for that matter.

  92. River Harper

    As some people have already said, if people would like to bash our teacher and try to crucify him for one mistake, then please own what you say and put your full name on the website. It is very easy to hide behind a screen and keyboard and bash Neuhaus for fun, even if you have no connection to the Chamblee community. Being an internet troll and saying nefarious things online behind an anonymous name are actions typical of young people, yet I have not seen one student or parent defending him hide behind an anonymous name, yet it seems that almost everyone against Neuhaus and in support of the county has decided that they do not want people to know who they are. These people no longer deserve attention from me or any other student/parent until they gain the courage to stop hiding behind anonymous names.

  93. Chuck Harper

    I sat back and read the commentary on this subject. I’m very proud of the way my son, River has acquitted himself on this blog. I see the comments breaking out into two basic factions. Those who are ‘enlightened’ and those who are not. The ones who are not, essentially are coming from “anonymous” or “Unacceptable Teaching”: from my perspective, if you have not had the opportunity to know the gentleman in question, or if you have not had the opportunity to experience the class first hand, and you don’t have the temerity to share your name or your relevant connection to the subject, you deserve no credence for your argument, you deserve no respect for your position. Essentially, you are a “troll” with no perspective, investment in the subject, or credibility.
    To those among you; my son was in the class and received the assignment, I reviewed the assignment. I’m his dad and I have ZERO problem with it. Why? because I am raising an enlightened young man who has a worldly perspective. I met Herr Neuhaus several times in person. I checked his background, I researched his credentials. He also has a son at the school.
    I respect that some actual participants may have found some of the subject ‘uncomfortable’. I respect the manner in which Herr Neuhaus attempted to accommodate those who may have had an issue with the assignment. Many of you who are now objecting to him could definitely use a lesson in tolerance and inclusion he exhibited that day. I appreciated that boundaries of other cultures were being explored in this class. I feel it is appropriate material for a ‘beyond-college’ level class. “Anomynous” wrote that the assignment was basically “porn”. Well, if you are that provincial, no wonder you don’t want to disclose your name. “Unacceptable Teaching” suggested a commentary where the assignment goes well beyond what societal norms would allow. Another good reason not to disclose your name. these “trolls” clearly were not privy to the context of the assignment or it’s intention. Your currency is fear. Your audience is the weak mind. Chamblee is the wrong address for both.
    I respect the comments that are made by the people who were actually there, who are not hiding behind some avatar or moniker. I welcome a dialogue to explore the merits or risks of the assignment and the class with “enlightened” people like that. the rest of you can go pound salt.
    Bottom line, I know the assignment in question – first hand. I know the teacher personally. I had a child who was there. And I support Herr Neuhaus and he can teach my kid any time, any where. He should be reinstated – period. I do NOT consider the assignment a “mistake” as has been charaterized by many participants here. He does not deserve a suspension – period. If it was up to me, he would be superintendent. In the interim, any reasonable person who has read over the latest teacher surveys from Chamblee should be shocked and saddened. Principal Bratten is presiding over a circus. As a lifelong leader, I see how the results speak for themselves. Herr Neuhaus has gotten ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of his students to pass the German fluency exam the past 17 years. Principal Bratten has managed to alienate over 50 percent of the Chamblee faculty to the point where they want to quit teaching forever. Read the surveys for yourselves.
    I’m very proud of my son speaking his mind, it’s a tragic shame it is so difficult to drive common sense into the DeKalb County Board and this school Administration. Frankly, I don’t really care what happens to Ms. Braaten. I only care about the competitive status of the school and how the five AP courses my son is taking can prepare him for a highly selective college program. Also frankly, if you have a problem with Herr Neuhaus and you were not in the class, I encourage you to stay out of it. If you were not assigned the assignment, I encourage you to stay out of it. You will get along just fine being “comfortably numb” with your singular local perspective in Atlanta. So don’t take the class and don’t benefit from Herr Heuhaus’ challenging instruction. Without your interference and sanctimonious un-informed commentary, my son has much bigger plans.
    SIGNED:
    Chuck Harper (River’s Dad), Commander, USN Ret. MBA, LNHA

  94. Bill Armstrong

    Paige & River. Re: Anonymous posters. On that I do agree. As a rule I think using real names is best. Yes – you’ve got something to say, put your name on it. I’ve had plenty of anonymous blog posters wage war with me – gets annoying, especially when they seem to be in Chamblee. So it’s nice to see some real names here. I know who some of you are, I’m pretty sure some of you know who I am. Our kids might know each other too.
    Others from Chamblee, maybe we’ll get to know each other. And there are plenty of other parents I know who while they might not fully agree with you on Nuehaus &/or Braaten, they truly want the same thing – the best for Chamblee students. Even if not always on how to do it.
    And you know plenty of them too, from other parent groups, meetings, emails, over the years. We see each other at soccer fields and the neighborhood pools. Regardless of what happens I do hope common ground can be found to foster constructive parental involvement going forward.
    Oh yeah. I will say there are some anonymous posters here who have been using the same names for years, going back to the DSW1 & 2 blogs, Maureen’s AJC School Watch, as well as here. Some of them do so because they work in the system, others just because that’s their blog identify (I used to be Chamblee Dad). They tend to have informed opinions, so I really don’t have a problem with those like DeKalb Inside Out, RunAmok, Cere, DSW2contributor & others. In fact seeing those names let’s me know where they’re coming from. Stan will tell you that. I do wish Chamblee Getting Screwed would out themselves but that ain’t happening.
    But yes, many of the anonymous posters here, usually on the extremes of any debate, I’m certain they wouldn’t put their real names on the crap they spew. I agree – don’t take the bait.

  95. River Harper

    Thank you Bill.

  96. Bill Armstrong

    Sorry. Maureen Downey’s AJC Blog is “Get Schooled” and as Terri noted above – she had a recent post on Herr Nuehaus.

  97. Paige McGaughey

    “UT”…”you’re” = you are
    That is all.

  98. Concerned parent

    Someone has mentioned that this situation affects incoming families. Yes, it does! And here is what I think as a parent of an incoming student. I have been carefully following this development and I read multiple times that Herr Neuhaus sent this assignment by mistake while hurrying to take his child to a soccer game! Moreover, based on what I have read, he did not even come up with these skits himself but they were coming from educational materials for German as a foreign language. So, it is upsetting that things were taken out of the context.
    It is also important to note that my perspective is that of a parent whose child has never been taught by Herr N and so it is not affected by personal biases. However, I should say that Herr N has been legendary within the Chamblee cluster community. My child has worked very hard in German in order to be able to make it into Herr N’s class. We have been devastated when we learned that he has been reassigned. Rest assured that I would never want my child to be taught by morally inadequate teacher. Please, also rest assured that I have done my homework and I know that Herr N is not only an excellent teacher but also an individual who has touched MANY lives in uplifting and inspiring ways. Just read the testimonies of his former students!
    This is actually an important point: school parents and students usually know what is going on; we know who the good and not so good teachers are. I am a highly educated and involeved parent and I know what’s best for my child. I am confidently saying – in this case, Herr N is definitely the best. I am sick and tired of Anonymous strangers telling me what’s best for my child. Similar to private schools, parents and students within the school need to have a say in who their teachers should be. That’s the reason Decatur schools are better than the rest of DeKalb; that’s the reason Dunwoody parents have been trying for years to make the Dunwoody school system independent from DeKalb. It is painful to see that people with no stake in Chamblee High call for teacher dismissal/investigation, and that based on very limited information. For this reason, I do not believe that placing these skits on this site is a good idea. Taken out of context and without other materials/information they become inflammatory and serve to sensationalize this incident to the detriment of the school community.

  99. Anonymous Teacher1

    Wow! I am so shocked by some of these comments! Especially the judgement by people who are not even a part of our school! I really am so sick of people holding teachers to higher standards than the Pope! People love to bash teachers when they mess up but where is the support for teachers who get paid a little over minimum wage to educate your most precious possessions? We are human and we make mistakes. If the best of the best makes a mistake and basically loses his ability to teach his subject (you all realize he has been fired as a German teacher and now told to do student support-which, if he were so inappropriate would not be the best role to put him in), then who is to say that I won’t lose my job at the drop of a hat? What everyone doesn’t realize is that teachers at Chamblee will be going back to work with fear. Fear of making a mistake and losing our jobs. I did something insensitive in an assignment early in my career. A parent complained. My Principal brought me in and we discussed my mistake. I had no intention, obviously, to hurt anyone. I never did that part of the assignment again and apologized to the parent and student. I learned from my mistake and became a better teacher for it. THOSE DAYS ARE GONE UNDER OUR NEW ADMINISTRATION! Now, we live in fear. You think your students will get the best education from teacher robots, teachers hiding in their classrooms so the admin will leave them alone? His removal hurts all the teachers and students that have nothing to do with German. You are all missing the point. He made a mistake. He didn’t have sex with a student, or show them pornography or do drugs, etc. He made a mistake, fixed it immediately AND took a hefty consequence (by the way 3 weeks no pay hurts a teacher tremendously…take a look at our pay scale if you care). Stop putting teachers on such a high pedestal unless you want to start paying us for this high demand that you are putting on us. So easy for you to judge us. So easy for you to say, “ruin this mans life forever”. Shame on you. I’m sure you have NEVER MADE A MISTAKE EVER, right? And I have to stay anonymous because I fear for my job that I love and am very good at, by the way…

  100. Tongue in cheek

    River Harper;
    In response to your explanation of what the Welcome Center does( where this German teacher has been re-assigned is simply a place where all immigrants and refugees must go to register for school in Dekalb county. The people at this area are instructed to send all students to the International Student center for school. This is done regardless of the students’ English proficiency level. The mandate of the center is to fill up the International Student Center. The parents are not even informed of their rights at this Welcome Center. Parents have the right to waive out going to the Internatal Center and attend their neighborhood schools. The students would still receive ESOL services at their neighborhood schools. If parents were made aware of their civil rights and what their options are, many would opt to go to their neighborhood school where many services are available to them. These services are not available at the International Student Center. A key service not made available is special needs classes.
    In addition the county spends 5 million dollars a year on the InternationStudent Center which has less than 200 full time 7th and 8th gradestudents,

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