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.
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
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. Concerned Parent, you don’t think it’s a good idea to provide information and be transparent? Why try to hide the assignment? I think we can all discuss the assignment and discuss context, etc. The assignment was already made public and it isn’t something the school district can hide. I think you aren’t pleased with everyone’s opinions. People are going to have different opinions and that’s ok. At least we can talk about it here. I think this is a complicated and painful issue. There are valid points on both sides. It’s a difficult call.

  2. DSW2Contributor

    River Harper, regarding your 11:07 PM post:
    (1) Parents and students *cannot* possibly know if a particular teacher is trustworthy. Disciplinary investigations are not made public, nor are they circulated internally within the school system. Only Dr. Green and a handful of administrators are able to see the full picture.
    Federal and state law require that employee records remain confidential, so Dr. Green cannot explain to you why DCSD makes the personnel decisions it makes.
    (2) The teacher *may* already be under a probationary agreement — you are not in a position to know. Nor can you guarantee how any adult will behave in the future (“he will not do anything even remotely questionable again”.)
    (3) Principal Braaten’s performance is irrelevant — two wrongs don’t make a right!
    I do not know anything about what the teacher did, but the punishment you say he accepted suggests that there was much more wrongdoing than what you are aware of. It also looks to me like Dr. Green and DCSD are trying to make the best of an awful situation.
    Read my posting history and you will see that I am not a fan of Dr. Green.

  3. @Concerned parent >> What you mention is key – and is what I have advocated for for years — splitting up this massive school district. The headlines I quoted above show what the superintendent has to deal with … and when you have so much crime and dysfunction, small crimes and misdemeanors get rolled in and treated more harshly, simply because they have to. In addition, the pathway to the decision-maker is not transparent as the super is not a member of the community and has to make daily decisions district-wide. The system definitely needs to be broken into at least 5 separate systems with separate superintendents. People say this would cost more, but it would not … we already pay a handsome salary to 5 area superintendents (not sure what they even do) … as well as a massive central office staff, many of whom have been ‘moved’ to schoolhouses to make it look as if the CO is not so massive. If not a city, some unincorporated areas could bond together as a district. The 1948 law prohibiting new school districts in Georgia has already been challenged and will soon be found irrelevant today. Our school district has an irreparable bad reputation. The only way to make them better is to break them up and give smaller districts more power over the way things are handled in their schools.

  4. River Harper

    1. He has been teaching for over 25 years. If he were not trustworthy, then we would have found out by now. The fact that every single one of his current students trusts him speaks volumes. It is hard to keep things like that a secret. If he had done something wrong in the past, we would’ve heard about it by now, especially seeing how someone from the county was happy to leak the skits to The Champion.
    2. I have extreme doubts that he was under some sort of agreement already. This wasn’t just some person that we saw for an hour each day and forgot about once we got home; we actually knew him extremely well. When I say that he would never do anything questionable again upon returning from this fiasco, I am not just making a guess. You can ask all 25 students and all 40+ parents and they’ll tell youth same thing. Some parents have even had contact with him.
    If you said that you do not know anything about what the teacher did, then please do some research before making such assertions. The letter to Dr. Green that we wrote is a good start.

  5. holly lombardo

    I am surprised that you would send out a public blog on Herr Neuhaus based on one single article you read.
    With a public position such as yours, it is your responsibility to speak after understanding the full story.
    Now you have parents forming opinions without the full context.
    He was suspended and reinstated at the end of the year. I would assume that an acknowledgment was made and penalty was served.
    Suddenly he is now removed from his long held position at CCHS without explanation.
    (Which I’m not all together sure this was not some sort of punishment to parents who spoke out during the June parent BOE meeting)
    We are simply told by the BOE that the reassignment of Herr Neuhaus is a private matter.
    This is a public school. There is no such thing as a private matter.
    I am a Chamblee magnet parent and my son is his student. Our family is in full support of Herr Neuhaus and we are devastated by the loss at CCHS.
    My son has told me he no longer wants to take AP German as a Sophomore because it will not be with Herr Neuhaus. 5 years of German now gone.
    He has also told me that his English has improved as a result of his time in Neuhaus’ class. More so than his instruction from his Freshman English teacher.
    Stan, I’ve always been reassured by your guidance through the years.
    However in this case I’m extremely disappointed in the carelessness and the negative consequence of your blog on Neuhaus.
    He deserves better. Parents and students deserve better. District 1 deserves better.

  6. Stan Jester

    I’m just using that one article as the source for the assignment. I don’t even reference the article itself. I talked about how academically effective Neuhaus was, shower the assignment and gave it context. I don’t understand why you would say this article is based on that one champion article.
    Also note there are some things I can’t talk about and some things I’m not privy to since this is an HR related issue. State law is very explicit about the boundaries. However, everyone is already talking about it in various corners. I’m trying to bring everyone together to have a conversation.

  7. Amy Trocchi

    My child is at CCHS and his primary interest was not German, so he did not have Herr Neuhaus. He had two of the other German teachers, and he and his classmates knew from the first minute in those classes that they were only going to learn a fraction of what Herr N’s students do. So, my first point is that Herr N’s teaching skills are leagues ahead of other German instructors. He will be impossible to replace if the goal is to have a nationally-renowned German program at CCHS (which I could argue is not DCSD’s goal).
    Even without having had a child in his class, though, what his program does for its students is ubiquitous across the school. I have vacationed with German students who came over here on the exchange program Herr N built. I have hosted and traveled with multiple students who traveled to Germany on multiple exchanges over the years. I have driven carpool for years with students who have been in his classes. I have known the young adults who are speaking up here since they were in 4th grade. I have seen their growth and maturity, and I am very proud of how they are articulating their thoughts in this space and at live meetings. I have seen how their participation in Herr N’s program has propelled them to be confident public speakers, international travelers, gracious hosts, and good citizens.
    I am horrified at the DFACs comment and trying to tell these young adults they are brainwashed. If you haven’t ever been around this group of students and their parents, you have no right to speak to them this way. River’s comments alone are about 10 academic levels above some of these other commenters while still being very respectful despite it being HIS academic career that is impacted at such a critical time.
    I also cannot understand how someone supports the destruction of this man’s entire career over one assignment that was pulled while supporting the hiring of two coaches for another employee whose tenure is 1/25th of Herr N’s and has lost CCHS 50+ years of counseling and AP experience. There are hundreds of former students speaking up, from around the world, in support of Herr N. I bet there’s only a handful of teachers in DeKalb who could garner this much support worldwide, if that many. Did he turn off students in his time? Yes, but so did my child’s math teacher, who pushed him to a 5 on his most recent AP exam. These highest level teachers aren’t for everyone. Tough teachers whose courses are college-level are going to be that way, just like it was when I was in college.
    I am also supremely frustrated that the voices that matter the most in this situation – those students who were in the class and their parents – have been ignored by the administration, hidden behind the excuse of “personnel matters”. If someone robs my house, do I want the police to talk to me or talk to my neighbor 4 doors down? My guess is that DCSD administration is so used to subpar teaching, teachers who have sex with their students, teachers who sleep through class, teachers who hock their books and motivational speaking gigs during class, and teachers who spend all of their time on their phones that they have no idea what to do with a college-level, successful instructor. They cannot comprehend a teacher who teaches their students to such a level that, when they get to college and take German placement tests, the college only has one course in all of German studies that will meet that student’s needs.
    DCSD is not about success. It is about lowering the ceiling instead of raising the floor. It is about pitting neighbor against neighbor and hiding friends and family paper pushers in the central office and paying them $150,000 of our tax dollars. It is about having our children going to school with bathrooms without doors while installing granite countertops in the bathrooms at the central office. It is about providing cars to administrators while PTAs raise money for toner. When my oldest child started in DCSD schools, the BOE meetings were held at schools around the county in cafeterias and gyms. I first spoke about reinstating recess at an old, filthy south DeKalb high school cafeteria, and the BOE members were down on our level at folding tables. And you know what? They listened because there they were, on our level, only a few feet away from us. The optics of where we are now, with our administrators sitting high up, in a very expensive building with police guards and metal detectors while schools around them are jam packed and crumbling are horrible and telling.
    A three-week unpaid suspension followed by a career-ending reassignment are bully tactics and are meant to send a signal to CCHS parents and teachers that insubordination will result in your career ending. The teachers who stay at CCHS after this will live in fear of police bursting into their classroom at any minute. And that is not an exaggeration – police and resource officers were brought in for three teacher incidents this year. What a frightening message being sent to teachers and students.
    If I were someone on here not at CCHS, I would worry less about Herr N’s assignment and more about when these bully tactics would reach your school, your home, and your student’s academic career.

  8. River Harper

    Thank you for being one of the few people on here that has used their real name…..
    As a student of Neuhaus’ class with the skits, I totally empathize with your son’s position and would probably feel the same way about it if I were entering AP German. The fact of the matter is that the other two German teachers are not even remotely capable of teaching AP German, coming from someone who took the exam with Neuhaus. But I am sure that you and your son already knew that. My English speaking and writing skills have also vastly improved since Started taking Neuhaus’ class, so I agree with him on that also.
    However, I’m not sure it is appropriate to blame Stan here. I’ve been interviewed by the media multiple times in an effort to provide people with context about the situation, but there are still multiple articles out on the internet painting Neuhaus in a bad light, which is just appalling. Stan was not the person from the county who leaked the skits to the media, something that was not only extremely unethical and illegal to do, but serves no purpose other than to make people angry.
    That being said, if your son does end up taking AP German, I (and likely many other of my classmates) are more than willing to volunteer our time to tutor students and help them with the AP exam. Most of us are only a phone call or email away, myself included.

  9. River Harper

    Thank you Amy for taking the time to support the students in the class, myself included. I agree 100% with every word.

  10. dekalbteacher

    Like Holly, I think the post is misleading. Is it really a controversy? Seems more like a discussion of Dekalb’s mismanagement.
    You asked River if teachers should be treated differently? Teachers, assistant principals, and assistant principals are all educators bound to the same code of ethics. Do you know what happened to the investigation of the principal if she did, in fact, interfere with the teacher of the year voting and make false allegations?
    DSW2 contributor,
    I don’t understand your suggestion that the German teacher must have committed other egregious acts. The content of the skits is bad. If the school district had any other damaging information, it would seem the teacher would no longer be employed. The district has put the teacher in a position in which he will be interacting with Dekalb students and parents. What am I missing?

  11. River Harper


  12. Bill Armstrong

    Holly. I’m confused by your criticism of Stan & this post. “I am surprised that you would send out a public blog on Herr Neuhaus based on one single article you read.”
    Have you read the post all the way thru to the comments, complete with the links as well. He published the full assignments yes, but also the complete student letter & the Kavi Pandian’s open letter to Superintendent Green, by way of link to Maureen’s Downey’s Get Schooled blog post. He also posted Dave Maxwell’s comments regarding the significance of context.
    “Now you have parents forming opinions without the full context.”. Really? I would say he has posted both raw facts & plenty of contextual information from supporters of Herr Neuhaus. Combined with the comments, some to me are helpful, others self serving or inaccurate – but that’s only my opinion. Readers & posters are free to engage each other, ask & answer questions, as River & others have done (hers thoughtfully constructed, to me, I might add) & form their own opinions.
    But then it is up to the critical thought of your fellow readers. You can’t insist they agree, well I guess you can, but that’s how going to work.
    I’m sure this idea of critical thought & decision making is exactly the type of thing great teachers such as Herr Neuhaus seek to foster & teach.
    In contrast, when it comes to full disclosure I am aware that the posting of the Assignment is verboten on the High Positive Learning Culture Facebook page, under penalty of removal. Why? To me that prevents other members of the page the opportunity to form fully informed opinions. There is plenty of context & explanation there – but those without full knowledge of the assignment – many non-magnet parents – are left to other sources, like the Champion story & this post by Stan – to get the information.
    “This is a public school. There is no such thing as a private matter.” When it comes to personnel matters, yes there is.
    I can assure of this, Stan & I often disagree, on matters of Chamblee & the System as a whole, but this post, as presented, I take no issue. Especially as it applies to providing the students to present an opportunity to disiminate their strongly held beliefs to a larger audience. So your criticism – again I’m at a loss as to where it’s coming from, to me it’s very misplaced.

  13. Stan Jester

    I asked numerous supporters of Neuhaus to write this article for me on numerous occasions. Generally the feedback was to just post the student letter or the petition. I was going to post both, but that was going to make this article too long.
    Please let me know what edits you would like to see. I have already obliged a number of people who have commented here requesting edits.

  14. 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.

  15. Please don’t blame Stan. This posting has helped me see this issue from the side of students.
    In my opinion any teacher, would be proud to have a student like River. This has provided a venue for the students to speak.
    This information had already been made public.
    But without the thoughtful insight of the students.
    If you agree or disagree, you have to be impressed by the way they have expressed themselves. I believe part of the hurt and confusion is that does DeKalb treat all offenses the same? Stan, if the educators are honest I think we all know of situations where one person was forgiven and another suffered a harsh penalty.

  16. NOT a magnet parent

    Sorry magnet parents. The facts are the facts. Innthis day of #metoo and school violence, any teacher that develops an assignment like this should be removed from the classroom end of story. Did the guy not even consider that it might be inappropriate? The principal did the right thing l.

  17. NOT a magnet parent

    And yet another magnet parent boohooing over a teacher who teaches a class that many of our kids will not be able to take because they never won the lottery and have stayed at our home schools.. The fact of the matter is giving the #metoo movement, violence that is occurring in our schools, this was the incredibly tone deaf and incredibly inappropriate. Did this guy not think through how this might be interpreted? The principal was absolutely correct.

  18. G. Bassett

    There is something that needs to be recognized in all the leadership positions in DCSD. THERE HAVE BEEN 5 SUPERINTENDENTS IN 9 YEARS. So, to simply all this ‘chatter’ that’s going on basically the central office of DCSD changes so much no one within the school gets ANY support whatsoever. Policy changes so much the Board doesn’t even know what DCSD policy is and that is a problem. Board members and parents are so quick to judge and second guess decisions and automatically ‘reassign’ if the voices are loud enough to draw attention instead of supporting the people who are doing the most work and having the most impact. People need to consider that ‘rumor’ is NOT fact. The Board and DCSD should really stop ruining careers because the District gets some bad press. Accusations that are made on the news 90% of the time are NOT true. The school nor anyone in the school are allowed to comment. The only people who can comment are in the central office and what do they do? They NEVER stand behind ANY employee. So if we want to discuss how to fix the issues of DCSD, it should begin with the BOE actually doing their job and then look at the Superintendent. People are concentrating on the school leadership when that is not the leadership that should be questioned.

  19. Chuck Harper

    Here is a take regarding Herr Neuhaus for Mr. Stan Jester:
    Note to “unacceptable Teaching” and all the other anonymous posters: there is no way to take your commentary seriously if you are not willing to stand by your opinions with your identity. For all we know, you’re the janitor.
    I can refute the position of “Unacceptable Teaching” with simple facts (assuming facts still matter):
    1) Every single student in the classroom at the time of the assignment has put their name forward supporting Herr Neuhaus’ return.
    2) Every single adult who had a child in the classroom at the time of the assignment and who has elected to be heard, has put their name forward in support of Herr Neuhaus’ return.
    3) Every other adult or student who has supported Herr Neuhaus’ return has had direct interaction with him at some point – and has put their name forward in support of his return.
    4) Every single poster who has objected and claims they are against Herr Neuhaus’ return was NOT in the class, does NOT have a student in the class, and has NOT made their name known. They remain unknown, uninformed and unable to support their argument with facts.
    So, to Mr. Jester: how come all the people supporting Herr Neuhaus are willing to identify themselves and all the people against him are not?
    Oh yeah: My name is Chuck Harper – River’s Dad……

  20. Eva Haiden

    Dear Stan Jester,
    Today I heard that Mr. Anderson (the only German teacher left at Chamblee Charter High School) asked for a grant for an AP German training course.
    I strongly believe that if Mr. Anderson teaches the AP German class this coming school year, the student’s skills will not improve whatsoever, and may even get worse!
    Please rehire Herr Neuhaus and thereby allow students to receive the best education possible! If we settle for worse educators, the US won’t be able to compete with the well educated students in other countries.

  21. This is completely surreal to me! PARENTS, what are your defending here???If this teacher lacked intellectual capacity to judge that these assignments were WRONG, you want such teacher back in class?
    If this teacher knew what he was doing by giving such assignments you want your kids to be around this man?
    How can one say that these skits are appropriate? At work, if someone would approach you with such pantomimes, you would bring him or her to court for sexual harassment. You ALL know that these pantomimes are inappropriate, and you say that it’s OK that students are exposed to such things at school???
    READ what your kids are writing, defending this man: “assignments are a little too much” (means in general it’s OK?) “this is German humor…” (they are already excepting these situations as humorous, are you OK with it?)”this is part of German culture” (are you OK with your kids perceiving German culture this way?) “these 3 assignments were out of 11″ (so, read that 3 such assignments out of 11 are OK?) ” the assignment was not for grade”(so, if for grade it would be wrong, if not for grade it’s OK?) “the students were not mandated to complete the assignments” (so, just giving them out is OK?).
    This teacher has already polluted your kids’ minds and hearts with this pornographic junk and made them except the situations as normal! Do you want this for your kids? Do you want them to be taught at school this way?? Someone wrote that assignments were for advanced AP students…so, advanced AP students can be taught this way? What are you talking about here saying that you want this teacher back? What future is await for the society if PARENTS are backing such horrible things at school? Someone wrote about presumption of innocence… are you kidding me here? so, you are going to sit and wait until something happens? Your presumption of innocence leads to shootings at schools and horrible crimes (only after the fact, they “can see the red flags” ! This teacher’s behavior is OUT OF THE ORDINARY, WRONG in all possible ways, he CROSSED ALL ETHICAL PROTOCOLS at school. What presumption of innocence here are you talking about? Some say that he was teaching for a while, SO WHAT??? Is it an excuse for such assignments??? Are we talking about the number of such assignments already? First one is OK??? The second one will not be OK??? Oh, how many will not be OK??? You already excepting the fact that such assignments should be at school? What’s going on here?

  22. And… the reply To Chuck Harper, who is calling names and saying that all people, who find unnecessary to reveal their names, are janitors. Chuck, I don’t feel comfortable to reveal my name just for this reason: if adults, like you, calling names and bullying the posts, their students are going to do the same thing at school or doing it already. So, Chuck, I will appreciate the apology for calling me a janitor, and respect my choice of not revealing my name for the reason I stated above.

  23. Stan Jester

    Security & Spam Filters – I just noticed that my security and spam systems were hiding some comments from me. I just found them and published them. Please email me at if you have any problems with your comments.
    Anonymous Posting – This subject comes up from time to time. I appreciate but do not require real names. I also don’t confirm the names people use. Somebody could just as easily say they are George Washington. That being said, putting your name in there does indicate how passionate you are about what you are saying. I think we can still have quality conversations with anonymous posters. 2 + 2 is 4 whether it was posted with a name or anonymously.
    River – I still owe you a comment

  24. River Harper

    Thank you Stan. You’re doing great. Don’t let people slam you for posting about something that was already on the internet.

  25. After seeing the inappropriate behavior by the Chamblee parents at the principal’s meetings and some of their responses to some very legitimate concerns voiced by some on this board, I can see why some don’t want to use their name and remain anonymous. Would you want to be subjected to that kind of hate?
    It appears there might be more to the story than what is out there both for and against the teacher. We don’t know the personnel situation and while some have speculated, no one really knows for sure. So to try to make broad conclusions based on limited information is shortsighted at best.

  26. Bill Armstrong

    Chuck, you’ve got a sharp girl in River.
    Anonymous posters. I’m not – but while I’m not advocating his return or Braaten’s ouster – then maybe I am perceived as being the opposite. My connection to, & positions on, these situations are fairly detailed above. And I’ll gladly engage anyone who wishes to, named or anonymous.

  27. River Harper

    I am a boy, Bill. Thanks

  28. DSW2Contributor

    dekalbteacher, this is my response to the question you asked in your July 7 12:33 pm post.
    In the comments above and under Maureen’s Get Schooled post, parents and students have posted that the teacher was (1) suspended for three weeks without pay and (2) this punishment was for the inappropriate skits.
    Those posts are a problem. Students and parents are not supposed to know how teachers are disciplined because IT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!
    DSCD keeps disciplinary actions confidential for a good reason — releasing details of how an employee was disciplined would cause the disciplined employee to file an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against DCSD!
    So how did the parents and students find out about the punishment and reason for it? I doubt that DCSD told them — Dr. Green and the few administrators with access to disciplinary records are not stupid enough to release that information.
    The only other possibility I can think of is that the teacher told parent(s) and/or student(s) about the discipline himself.

  29. Stan Jester

    Complete Personnel Situation – I was given a debrief of the Neuhaus assignment investigation. I don’t believe there is anything substantial that the public is not aware of. The only noteworthy point of interest is that Neuhaus communicated this assignment via his personal email address. I’m told by IT administrators the school district’s IT system detects stuff like this. I’m not sure if the detection systems are multi lingual. I’m also told by many parents that Neuhaus preferred to communicate with his students via his personal email address because of technical problems with his work email.

  30. River Harper

    Nobody heard about the discipline from Neuhaus. That is completely false.

  31. River Harper

    That is correct. But I’m not sure that matters because everything I had ever received from him was always in German. I doubt that this could’ve been detected by any system the county has; after all, there’s only a couple people working in the county that even speak German. But I never thought that was relevant at all to be quite honest with you. He wouldn’t ever try to hide something from the county, which I know many people are going to say now.

  32. DSW2Contributor

    For those of you defending the teacher, please reread the “Activity Assignment” excerpts that Stan posted above and then refer to Georgia 505-6-.01 THE CODE OF ETHICS FOR EDUCATORS:
    Specifically this section on page 2:
    Standard 2: Conduct with Students – An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and outside the classroom. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to:
    1.committing any act of child abuse, including physical and verbal abuse;
    2.committing any act of cruelty to children or any act of child endangerment;
    3.committing any sexual act with a student or soliciting such from a student
    4.engaging in or permitting harassment of or misconduct toward a student that would violate a state or federal law;
    5.soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal,
    electronic,or physical relationship with a student;
    6.furnishing tobacco, alcohol, or illegal/unauthorized drugs to any student; or
    7. failing to prevent the use of alcohol or illegal or unauthorized drugs by students
    under the educator’s supervision (including but not limited to at the educator’s residence or any other private setting).
    Asking students to perform the “Scene 3” activity was a clear violation of #3 and #4.

  33. Bill Armstrong

    River. So sorry for my assumption – take nothing from it other than mid 50s old dude. Although you would think that River Phoenix, close to my generation, would have caused me not to assume.
    Again – sorry.
    Chuck – you’ve got a sharp son.

  34. River Harper

    No worries Bill. Appreciate the compliments.

  35. River Harper

    Number 3 would mean that Neuhaus actually had sex with student or had participated in the skits himself. None of the skits were supposed to have Neuhaus actually participate in them. You have misinterpreted the assignment. Furthermore, no assignment with sexual content was ever performed, nor was any student ever preparing in any way to perform it. That is something totally different from what is going on here. Number 4 is dependent on a student being harassed. None of us were harassed. If you had read our letter, you would have known that. None of us felt uncomfortable/harassed in any way, shape or form throughout this entire ordeal. The only people being harassed at Chamblee are the teachers being harassed by Braaten.

  36. Anonymous Teacher1

    Lots of teachers set up school Gmail accounts so we can actually use all of the Google platforms. So much easier for teachers and students. Him using a personal email has no relevance. Most teachers do it because almost everyone uses google in the classroom!

  37. River Harper

    I’m confused as to why the board feels it is relevant that he used a personal email. Does that make them think he was trying to hide something? Neuhaus is not an idiot. If he or any other teacher would ever want to hide something from the board’s IT department (which I know no teacher would want to do), there is a very easy way to do that: giving it to students on paper. Him using personal email is purely about convenience. That is the biggest nothing burger I’ve ever seen.

  38. Tracey Mackey

    I am the mother of one of the German V students in the class in which the skits were assigned. I am so proud of these students. They have a much beloved teacher who has taught many of them for three years already. The course is a year beyond AP and runs very much like a college course. The students often do presentations and debates, tackling controversial subjects like the death penalty, economic policy, and immigration. They are learning German and so much more. The fact that Herr Neuhaus assigned these particular skit topics was inappropriate. But the students dealt with it directly. When one or two told him they were uncomfortable, he immediately told the whole class to adjust the skits however they chose. These are smart, motivated students who felt fully empowered to speak up and say no. When he realized his mistake, he withdrew the assignment immediately — over the weekend, before the assignments were to be completed. He received fair disciplinary action for his lapse in judgment, including a significant financial hit from his unpaid suspension. This is a man who loves to teach, and students who love to learn from him,, and there is tremendous educational richness in that setting . Barring him from the classroom deprives these students of the rarest of opportunities, to take German VI in high school with a teacher they love and trust, and to take the DSD II exam they’ve been preparing for for the past two years. Please restore him to the classroom where he can continue fostering the love of learning and the confidence in themselves that such an environment instills. You heard from 100% of the students: this is what they want. As the mother of a student in the class, this is what I want for them too.

  39. Stan Jester

    Google Classroom – I’m a HUGE fan of Google Classroom. In the past, all teacher school district accounts were granted access to Google Classroom. Last year the district has disconnected teacher credentials from Google Classroom, blocked Google classroom in every way possible and are asking teachers to use VERGE. I’m very disappointed the school district has taken that route and I wrote this article:
    Google Classroom Vs VERGE
    Personal Email – In accordance with the Code Of Ethics, it is important that “An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students”. I realize teachers have a thousand different ways to communicate with their students. I have 3 kids in school. I never get emails from school district employees regarding my kids or their school from the employee’s personal email address.
    Do teachers regularly use their personal email address to email their students? How prolific is this at CCHS?

  40. River Harper

    “An educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all students”
    Neuhaus never emailed his students anything unless it was directly related to what we were doing in class. He always maintained a professional relationship. Whenever I got an email from him, it was usually something like “Our test will be next Tuesday and it’ll have a speaking part, a listening part, and a writing part”. Things like that. It was always very professional. He didn’t just email us random stuff that popped into his head or anything that could even be considered as remotely unprofessional. At Chamblee, lots of teachers like use an app called Remind. It basically allows them to send en masse messages to all their students by signing up via text, and most announcements are something like “bring your textbook to class” and things like that. It also allows students to reply with questions directly from the texting app on their phone, and the teacher can reply 1 on 1, but it uses a phone number from Remind and not their actual phone number. I am sure at least one of your kids has had a teacher who has used it before. However, Neuhaus did not use it.

  41. Anonymous Teacher1

    Stan-Most teachers don’t email students that often. We use apps like Remind. Teachers are way ahead of where Dekalb is. We communicate with students the way students communicate. Some teachers use Verge and that’s great. Many use their own Google classroom and some use class Facebook pages. We have many tools. We don’t do one sized fits all. I know that I sometimes email parents from my phone which doesn’t allow me to reply with my school email (it used to and our tech person said it no longer can do that) so I reply with my school made gmail account. We aren’t trying to sneak around. We are trying to teach children and communicate with parents whenever we have a chance especially in an age of technology. You know that students can hack every firewall that Dekalb has ever made if they want to. The IT department needs to pilot everything through a bunch of high school kids before it ever makes anything for the schools. These kids are brilliant! The teachers just try and keep up and they help us all the time because they love us too!

  42. Bill Armstrong

    @Holly, my reply to your comment criticizing Stan for this Post appears to still be hung up. So while Stan pretty much covered the content & purpose of his post, thus no need for me “defend him” he doesn’t need it, I’ve got a few more thoughts to put forth.
    “Now you have parents forming opinions without the full context.”. Really? I would say he has posted both raw facts & plenty of contextual information from supporters of Herr Neuhaus. Combined with the comments, some to me are helpful, others self serving or inaccurate – but that’s only my opinion. Readers & posters are free to engage each other, ask & answer questions, as River & others have done (his thoughtfully constructed, to me, I might add) & form their own opinions.
    But then it is up to the critical thought of your fellow readers. You can’t insist they agree, well I guess you can, but that’s how going to work.
    I’m sure this idea of critical thought & decision making is exactly the type of thing great teachers such as Herr Neuhaus seek to foster & teach.
    In contrast, when it comes to full disclosure I am aware that the posting of the Assignment is verboten on the High Positive Learning Culture Facebook page, under penalty of removal. Why? To me that prevents other members of the page the opportunity to form fully informed opinions. There is plenty of context & explanation there – but those without full knowledge of the assignment itself – many non-magnet parents – are left to other sources, like the Champion story & this post by Stan – to get the information.
    And as for allowing for contrary opinions, there had been some back & forth on the Positive Learning Page as to whether to even permit it. When someone posts questions not fully in synch with the company line (which is rare – who can blame tgem) they usually are greeted with less than diplomatic responses, some to the point of being mocked. The consensus seems to be “anyone reading all the information & positions presented & then does not fully agree must be lacking in the ability to comprehend it.” In fact someone here essentially posted that & then closed by saying “it is best you remove yourself as a member.” Ouch.
    So here, even if anonymous – people are having an exchange – sometimes rude, perhaps carry biases that you find outright wrong, but I do know that many have been posting here & on other blogs like DSW 1&2 – for years, on all things regarding DeKalb Schools – more often anti-system administration, and while we’ve disagreed on many DeKalb school topics – I say post away.
    And I can say that when it comes to be accepting of alternative positions, a couple of my posts here have been essentially copy & pastes from “Nextdoor.” And I happened to notice that at least one of the parent signers of this student letter felt the need to report those posts for removal. And since I’m a lead there I am aware no one reported any “pro Oust Braaten” posts. I’ve never reported anyone. Again, post away.
    I’m pretty sure Stan is glad posts here can’t be reported with a couple of clicks – he’d never get anything done.

  43. Chuck Harper

    To Anonymous:
    You see: it’s really hard to take you seriously on so, so many levels:
    First – you’re ANONYMOUS. No one knows what your stake in the conversation is. We only know your completely detached opinion.
    Second – You were not there. You and/or your child did not receive the assignment. But yet you claim your opinion should be valid.
    Third – You never met Herr Neuhaus, but yet you are so adamant on what he deserves.
    So please, please do us a favor: When Herr Neuhaus returns, and I guarantee he will because those that support him will not rest until he does, PLEASE don’t put your kid in his class. Please, just stay out of the way of my son so he can continue to be culturally enriched and enlightened and advance to his capabilities in school.
    If you can do all of us supporters that little favor, we can live with your opinion.
    Signed (not hiding my identity) Chuck Harper

  44. Bill Armstrong

    @Chuck. Just trying to be sure.
    Is it only the students in the class & their parents who are allowed to have “valid opinions?” Perhaps his fellow teachers? Because it that’s the case then you’ve got over 965 signers of the Dr. Stephen Green: Reinstate Herr Uwe Neuhaus to CCHS” petition, obviously some without valid opinions have signed. Or is it that only people swayed by your position when presented to them & then pledge agreement in their name ( & not anonymously) have opinions that count as well?
    Also 505 members on the Families for Herr Nuehaus page, someone might want to go thru that member list – currently closed of course.
    Signed (not hiding my identity – but haven’t yet signed the petition – why should I if my opinion isn’t valid?) Bill Armstrong

  45. To Chuck:
    1) I did state why I’ve chosen to be anonymous. You were very rude in your comments and yet made a choice to ignore the apology.
    2) My and many other parents viewing of the assignment as inappropriate IS valid. The teacher broke THE CODE OF ETHICS FOR EDUCATORS!
    3) Never EVER my child is going to be in this teacher’s class.
    So please, please do us a favor too: BE RESPECTFUL of other people’s opinions, don’t call names. Is this the way you teach your son to interact with people?

  46. Catherine Maloney

    As a parent of one of the German V students and a rising Freshman to CCHS, my family will be doubly impacted by the reassignment of Herr Neuhaus and retaining of principal Braaten. As the students on this blog, those in German V class and preceding students have highlighted, Herr Neuhaus is a tough, talented, inspiring and challenging teacher. Meaning not for everyone , but respectful of those who do not appreciate this rigor, full immersion or advanced learning. His ability to push students to master the German language and culture fosters all areas of academic excellence and professional growth.
    Our schools are intended to challenge and push for creativity beyond the status quo which is exactly what employers expect out of their workforce. Mrs. Braaten and DCSD’s actions do not support differing opinions, creativity nor pushing students beyond what they expect for themselves.
    The students of German V, their parents and supportive community members should be applauded for speaking out against inappropriate punishment with Herr Neuhaus’s reassignment, bullying environment for the teachers and lowering of academic standards in a proven magnet program at CCHS. For those who have indicated that this is a Magnet vs. Resident issue, be aware that which foreign language a student selects to study is voluntary and the German classes have resident students even at the highest level.
    I understand and support not discussing specific HR issues, but as taxpayers, we are owed the timeframe for use of the executive coaches. These coaches are an unplanned and unbudgeted expense with no transparent criteria to evaluate effectiveness or measurement time periods.

  47. Some of the excuses are downright laughable. One of the best is “but it’s a college class!” Uh, it may be a class taught at the college level, but it is definitely not a college class. College students are adults. The students taking these class are not adults. They are minors. They are minors being exposed to a number of sexual references and borderline harassment. That is VERY different from a class in which the students are 19, 20, 21, etc. We are talking about 15, 16, 17 year olds here who are still living at home as minors with their parents/guardians. Someone needs to take responsibility and ensure that these children are not exposed to areas that their parents/guardians may not want them exposed to. If some of you all can’t see that, I can’t help you.

  48. DSW2Contributor

    “The Code of Ethics for Educators” is from the Rules and Regulations for the State of Georgia, specifically Chapter 505-6 Professional Practices. The full text of section 505-6 is posted on the Secretary of State’s website:
    (You’ll need to enter your name and answer a simple math problem before the page loads.)
    Also relevant to this discussion are the reporting requirements in 505-6:
    Failure to make a required report of a violation of one or more standards of the Code of Ethics for educators of which they have personal knowledge as soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner; and
    Educators are required to report a breach of one or more of the Standards in the Code of Ethics for Educators as soon as possible but no later than ninety (90) days from the date the educator became aware of an alleged breach unless the law or local procedures require reporting sooner. Educators should be aware of legal requirements and local policies and procedures for reporting unethical conduct. Complaints filed with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission must be in writing and must be signed by the complainant (parent, educator, or other LUA/school district employee, etc.).

  49. FormerDCSD

    Tongue in Cheek: some of your information on the International Welcome Center and International Student Center are incorrect. All students that are immigrants/refugees aren’t automatically thrown into the International Student Center. Students are tested using the W-APT and if they qualify for ESOL services then one of two things happen: 1) students that are 3rd grade and above, but fall below a cut off score: they qualify for the International Student Center for intensive English instruction. 2) students below 3rd grade automatically go to their home school, regardless of their English proficiency. Students in 3rd grade and above that qualify for ESOL services, but are above the intensive English program cut off go to their home school. I’m not sure where you are getting that the International Student Center only has 7th-8th graders, but they serve students from grades 3-12. Here’s the link to the school website

  50. Herr Neuhaus obviously was an excellent teacher of German for decades, however, he made HUGE mistakes, spread wrong and damaging information about Germany & German culture, groomed students to participate in gross, raunchy, disturbing & sexual assignments – doesn’t matter if for a grade or not required (after student response), writing students in German on personal emails (Google Translate will translate it instantly), etc. There is a trend, severity and longevity to his conduct – finally, he got caught!
    AP classes & their students are still minors, DCS students, intellectual functioning has absolutely nothing to do with whether sexual & highly disturbing content is appropriate for those students.
    His assignments were Rubbish!
    FYI, colleges and universities have standards of conducts, too, and courses taught by professors must meet specific criteria. Sexually explicit, pornographic, disturbing, raunchy assignments can result in the reprimands, tribunals, or firing of faculty.
    AP level students, college level content, still cannot contain the content outlined in Herr Neuhaus’ skits. That was TOTAL SEXUALLY EXPLICIT & MORBID GARBAGE!
    What if a student had written and handed in an assignment of those same sexually explicit details of groping, sex with the Pope, etc., etc., etc., (see Assignments for details- above), educators would have responded to it, referred that for review within the school, or further referral outside of school.
    Students & parents, you can’t defend any of his violations.
    HN was very wrong and got caught.
    He violated the students, the parents, CHCS, DCS and hurt the teaching profession.
    He should have respected everyone!
    I am surprised he’s still working for DCS at this point.
    What is his latest status?
    I assume that DCS had no choice but to refer his case to the PSC. DCS May have an in-system educator tribunal. It would have been the right thing to do. PSC investigate, research, interview, search computers, refer to other agencies if necessary…and ultimately, rule on the case. A teacher’s case can be dismissed, a teacher can have a teaching license suspended or revoked permanently. At times, an educator’s violations have to be referred to the police, if warranted. Superintendents and school boards know what they are required to do.
    Herr Neuhaus let everyone down!

  51. dekalbteacher

    I’m not sure why the German teacher was using his personal email to communicate assignments on his personal time, but the email thing raises an interesting point. The district may promote technology use, but how much does it actually train teachers? What are the district’s policies when it comes to tech use?
    Is Dekalb issuing district cellphones to all coaches and sponsors? You might discover that many are using their own phones to text players and organization members.
    Does Dekalb encourage its administrators to use texting as a “professional” mode of communication in the school building. That’s what some administrators have advised or required of teachers.
    Check out teachers’ and even administrators’ twitter feeds or email handles and then ask your question about professionalism.

  52. Amy Trocchi

    I just want to add that I have read school-assigned Bible passages with my son that were 5 levels above this German assignment in explicit, sexual, and inappropriate content. “No, son, I’m not sure why God would tell this dude he needs to sleep with his son’s wife or tell his other son to spill his seed on the ground to let the other son impregnate his wife. Let’s move on to the passage where two daughters have sex with their dad. ” I’d type it all out verbatim here, but it wouldn’t pass a filter, and it would probably ignite the eyes of the pearl clutchers here. Yes, I was momentarily taken aback. I did not freak out. I did not turn the teacher in. I do not think the teacher was a perv or is dangerous. And I didn’t call the Bible or the assignment pornography.
    Ditto for Shakespeare, the plots and lyrics for many Broadway shows, advanced American literature, any modern art class (Mapplethorpe, anyone?), and, um, even “Modern Family” and “Grown-ish”. 4th graders are singing every lyric to Hamilton, middle schoolers binge-watch “Thirteen Reasons Why”, and my oldest child’s friend were watching “Game of Thrones” as freshmen, and these are your top-of-the-GPA kids.
    The “children” in Herr N’s German 5 class are juniors; they are 16 years old minimum. They and their parents have spoken loud and clear that they don’t need uninformed people’s protection from a world-class teacher. If you weren’t in the class, you are, by definition, uninformed as compared to students who were directly impacted. If you are speaking out against Herr N but have no personal knowledge of him or his class, do you matter as a human being? Yes. Are you able to provide a truly valid opinion on this teacher as compared to his current students by reading some very badly written newspaper articles and questionably translated assignments? No.
    I spend my time being more offended at DeKalb teachers who don’t teach, at administrators who are allowed to call the police on teachers for no reason, at teachers who don’t have a grasp of the English language, at principals who allow elementary school students to go without recess, at paying a school superintendent more than a Supreme Court Justice, and for a school system that has a one billion dollar budget and still can’t clear a school of 30 trailers.

  53. Bill Armstrong

    Amy. I asked Chuck above this question, while I’m waiting for his answer I’ll ask you: “Is it only the students in the class & their parents who are allowed to have “valid opinions?”
    Seems clear the answer from you is “no.”
    That makes me wonder why any students & parents, that think as you do, are even posting here. Why bother if the opinions of the great unwashed don’t matter? Is it simply to put forth your case, have everyone else say “well, you’ve convinced me, where do I sign?”
    Outside the safe place of the Positive Learning Facebook Page, that’s not how things work. You want a confirmation bias feedback loop – go there. No debate – just cheerleading & atta boys. And a strange level of paranoia.

  54. Eva Haiden

    Since 2012 I have been a parent of 3 students at Chamblee Charter High School that have been attending German classes of Mr. Neuhaus.
    Mr. Neuhaus has been an exceptional asset of Chamblee Charter High School for over 20 years. With his lead, the CCHS German program has become one of the best German programs in the country. In fact, every year his AP German class achieves outstanding scores on the exam. For example:
    In 2017, 32 of the 36 students who took the AP German exam received a 5 (88.9%). 4 students got a 4.
    Mr. Neuhaus also took it upon himself to provide the opportunity for students to take the German Language Diploma Exam (DSD II), which gives students of Chamblee Charter High School the opportunity to study at Universities in Germany, Austria or Switzerland (in most cases for free).
    Additionally, students in Mr. Neuhaus’ classes make presentations, write essays, read newspaper articles of respected German newspapers, all the while only speaking in German. He introduces them to German literature and they learn to write argumentative essays like students in a High School in Germany would learn.
    Mr. Neuhaus develops all of his teaching materials himself and has them available for the students to download on his website. After taking German 3+ to 6, every student has a nice portfolio of German grammar and vocabulary.
    I have talked to students of Mr. Neuhaus who took German 6 and they are almost on a “native” speaker level. I am very impressed by the study material he creates and the content he teaches to my children.
    My daughter was in the class that had the assignment that led to the suspension of Mr. Neuhaus. Although, the assignment may not have been appropriate, all the good things that Mr. Neuhaus has done in the past 20+ years should outweigh it.
    It would be a big loss for Chamblee Charter High School and my family to see Mr. Neuhaus go. My children, my husband and I want Mr. Neuhaus to continue teaching at Chamblee Charter High School.

  55. As a parent of children in the Chamblee cluster (still a many years away from HS) this situation, and how DCSD deals with it, is of interest to me. DCSD has decided to remove a teacher who has inspired a passion for learning among his students and is leaving in place a person who seems to be doing the exact opposite of that. I find that very troubling. What’s also troubling is that there doesn’t seem to be a viable path for parents to push for change, even at their local school. I thought the Governing Board was suppose to be that pathway, but I guess not.
    I hope the leadership coaches DCSD hired can make an impact. From my personal experience it’s a mixed bag. If those coaches have the ear of the person doing the hiring and firing they can temporarily change behavior. But things tend to revert back once the coaches leave.

  56. If all students & all parents were OK with the way HN conducted himself, any unusual conduct was explained and overlooked because of his brilliance, how did his unprofessional assignments get out, see the light of day, alert those who have the responsibility to step in and intervene?
    Did he just slip this ONE time?
    Was this a pattern?
    Everyone believe that these topics were in line with German proficiency?
    There was no one in the DCS who could evaluate World Language instruction and educational content?
    Did they involve German university professors to advise DCS?
    HN isolation as the ONLY ONE in DCS, in GA, 20 year history, personal communications in German, perfection, highest AP scores for years, students & parents adored him…… that is why an objective agency -PSC, needs to investigate and rule on this.
    No more secrets!

  57. I am so very sorry for this incident. I do not know the teacher, but I am sure that this has been a painful experience for him and his family. It has also been very hurtful for the students. The students have been very articulate in supporting him. From his comments, River seems like an amazing young man.
    It seems as if this man, really loves teaching. Even teachers make mistakes. I am not trying to support the assignment. The teacher even gave the students other options.
    But at what point does the punishment for a mistake end?
    I may be incorrect in this information. But it seems that DeKalb suspended Mr. Neuhaus for three weeks without pay. He then was allowed to return to Chamblee High School after an investigation. If it was deemed that he shouldn’t be in the classroom, why was he allowed to return?
    Wasn’t the three weeks without pay his penalty? Then he was allowed to return to Chamblee. After the investigation and suspension, why wasn’t this the end?
    For someone who loves teaching, being reassigned to another job is an additional punishment. How frequently will he be able to use his skills as a German teacher at the International Center? I didn’t say as a teacher, but as a German teacher.
    I do not know Mr. Neuhas, but I do know a principal who was suspended. Before he returned to his school, he was informed of the conduct of behavior that he would have to follow in the future.
    I would imagine the same thing occured with Mr. Neuhas. During the three weeks that he was gone, didn’t the school system have time to make a decision and then abide by that decision.
    A quote from the AJC article stated:
    ‘Uwe Neuhaus, a German language instructor, was teaching at Chamblee Charter High School as of Monday afternoon, a district spokesman said.’

  58. Bill Armstrong

    OK. Many here have taken issue with the anonymous posters that are not agreeing with their arguments that Herr Heuhaus should be reinstated. Although Stan & I have responded as to why some post that way (and many for years on all issues regarding DeKalb Schools), and at least one has explained why for themselves, I understand why some would by frustrated by that, and question what stake they have in the game, etc. I don’t take issue with it in general – but everyone is entitled to their opinions.
    Or are they? I’ve posted here under my own name. I’ve made it clear I have a stake – at least to me – a rising 9th grade Magnet & German student. I know some of you Chamblee parents know who I am. I’ve been involved in this cluster as an engaged parent – serving on school councils and the like, & participated in multiple “campaigns” over the last 13 years.
    I’ve posted my positions, I am not asking for reinstatement of Neuhaus, or the ouster of Braaten – at this time, anyway. And I’ve asked questions & made comments directed at the named people advocating the opposite. In general I’ve asked who do you feel can have a valid opinion, as well as commented on the methods/tactics of at least some on this threads that are very active in your efforts. I think many would result in answers and/or responses. You’ve made plenty directed at the anonymous ones.
    But so far only River has answered any that I can see. While I might not agree to all of it, I’ll take it at face value, and I do understand why he and his fellow classmates want their voices heard. I also hope they understand that no matter how artfully presented that not everyone will be swayed.
    I did get a set of comments & questions from Dave Smith, he clearly wasn’t pleased with much of what I had to say – as is his right. And I tried to answer each question & respond to each comment. Perhaps he was satisfied & thus made no further comments. I do see he’s not a signer of the letter, but to me he has a right to his opinion.
    But from the other self-identified “reinstate” posters, especially my fellow Chamblee parents (and I count at least 12) – nothing. Crickets. Hey, maybe a student can give me the German equivalent for “deafening silence to my question.”
    Perhaps you’re now busy preparing for tonight’s board meeting. I wish you luck, at least to the extent you feel you are having your voices heard. Not clear how many of your comments will address the Neuhaus reinstatement effort as opposed to oust Braaten, I’d assume both. I won’t be there but I’m pretty certain I’ll know how it goes rather quickly.
    But if you’ve got the time, I’d welcome anything you’re inclined to post in response to my comments &/or questions. And your thoughts will obviously inform our fellow posters, pro, con & neutral.

  59. River Harper

    This is from an article about the incident in The Champion newspaper:
    “An email obtained by The Champion from the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) legal department contained descriptions of the skits”
    Somebody from the county leaked them. Without context.

  60. River Harper

    The harsh reality is that if Neuhaus does not come back, the German program at Chamblee will crumble, and the academic status of the school will go with it. Last year, CCHS had 9 students get accepted into Governor Honor’s Program. 7 of those 9 were for German under Herr Neuhaus. My class in 2017 had 90% of us make a 5 on the AP German exam as sophomores, a test usually given to seniors. The other 10% got a 4. The national average of people to get a 5 was only 23% if I recall correctly. These accomplishments not only make Chamblee look better, but they make the whole county look better. If Neuhaus doesn’t come back, none of those 7 people would have gotten into GHP (How do I know that? Because they were my classmates). Chamblee’s AP score average would immediately take a nosedive, as would the amount of students taking AP German. 90% of 5s on the exam is the best rate of any class in the school and likely even in the entire county out of any class. These accomplishments, which Dr. Green likes to say correlate with DeKalb’s amazing vision for students or whatever, would vanish immediately. I am not sure how much your daughter has liked German up through middle school, but there will be no German teachers even remotely competent enough to teach her if Neuhaus is gone.

  61. Kind_educator

    @Tongue in cheek,
    You should get more information regarding the International Student Center.
    Besides the 7th and 8th grades you mentioned, the school also serves the Intensive English students, which at any give time could be up to 800 aditional students.
    In regards to the waiver, less than 10% of the parents will use that option, since they prefer for their kids to not only learn English before transitioning to their home schools, but also have a general idea of the “American school culture”.

  62. Stan Jester

    Everything I post is available to the public. Curriculum, homework, class work and work product from school employees are all subject to open records.

  63. River Harper

    The only thing relevant about the International Welcome Center to this conversation, quite frankly, is that Herr Neuhaus has no reason to be there. If people think that Herr Neuhaus should not be trusted around Chamblee’s students because we are seeing “porn” and practicing “pedophilia”, as so many people have outrageously asserted, then why is he going to interact with students at the IWS? Aren’t they just as valuable to the county as the students at Chamblee? I thought the county viewed all students equally, Stan.

  64. dekalbteacher

    As unfortunate as this situation is for all involved, this discussion reveals how little anyone knows about the school district’s pedagogy, policies, and evaluations.
    The district’s new curriculum includes a “rigorous” and engaging dating show scenario. Another”engaging” scenario asks sophomores to consider modernizing a previously unknown African community. I believe this world literature unit requires teachers to find their own materials. Google African tribes and see what you find. Now give these tenth graders this scenario and a chromebook. I’m not suggesting that the content of the German teacher’s skit was appropriate nor am I saying the school district’s curriculum isn’t, but I’m not sure the district’s decision makers have any real understanding of what is required of meaningful and responsible instruction in this age of technology.
    If the German teacher was assigning such material year after year, then someone wasn’t doing his or her job. Seems unlikely that hundreds of students and parents have been so brainwashed that anything the teacher provided was acceptable no matter how inappropriate.
    As a previous poster mentioned, Dekalb has had so many changes in leadership. When new principals and assistant principals arrive at a school, how much do they really learn about the school and its teaching? What are the qualifications and proven effectiveness of those people now evaluating teachers and impacting or harming instruction? What about those in charge of writing and mandating curricular materials and required tests?

  65. Bill Armstrong

    River. I have never made a single statement minimizing the accomplishments of CCHS students under Herr Neuhaus, nor his teaching talents. I take the proclamations of his impact on people’s lives at face value. I’m not sure I will fully come on board that his absence will destroy the German program. And I’ve posted elsewhere – if it does, talk about having no backup. What if he had to leave with little for other reasons, medical, tragic accident, family crisis, etc?
    Would the program still be destroyed? If so, that’s a lot of reliance on a single man. Would he agree? “I’m gone the entire program goes with me.” I won’t even try to put words in his mouth. Just seems like a lot – for a teacher to be that irreplaceable. Surely other teachers, somewhere in this country, could be found who would be thrilled at joining such a prestigious program, and perhaps very qualified, if not equal. I’m not so sure that other schools that CCHS ranks alongside in the national rankings would so sorely miss a single teacher. But maybe he’s the Lebron James of German teachers. And now CCHS is the Cleveland Cavs?
    But I have more faith in our school. I think many do.
    As for my Magnet kid – he’s my son, I’d say he’s pretty solid in German, overall better in some subjects than others (as are we all), his HS career still open to much in the way of possibilities – in all subjects and paths. My daughter, she’s a rising 11th grader. Resident, she didn’t win the lottery, but again, she’s making her own path academically. I’m equally proud.
    Again, thanks for directing something my way. But as for the CCHS German parents on here, maybe you can give me the German equivalent of “crickets” – I assume it’s not just the word for the insect?

  66. Bill Armstrong

    Stan. “Everything I post is available to the public. Curriculum, homework, class work and work product from school employees are all subject to open records.”
    Indeed. I saw a copy of the assignment email 3 days before the Champion paper ran. It was in the same format as published. It wasn’t from a leaker, or a German student, or German parent. It was obtained by another parent, who I took to be curious as to the “big secret,” via an Open Records request.
    No leaks.

  67. River Harper

    Neuhaus is most certainly LeBron and Chamblee’s German program is the Cavs. I agree 100% with the analogy. Neuhaus is not an arrogant person at all, so I don’t think he’d just say things like that. Yes, if he had had to leave for any other reason, the German program would crumble. You can ask all 25 students and their parents and they’d agree with me. Most parents are either busy or do not have the time to be on this blog. Some of them are preparing for today’s meeting. The fact that all of their names are on the class letter speaks volumes. They don’t need to repeat the fact that they support him 100%. If I had to guess, he probably would have tried to get somebody to replace him and groom them to take his job once approaching retirement. But the only other German teacher at Chamblee isn’t even German, he’s from Pennsylvania. American as apple pie. If you had decided to come to the meeting and asked the parents there, they would definitely tell youth same thing I am. And by the way, the only reason there aren’t more students/teachers involved in trying touring him back is that some of them are participating in GHP right now.

  68. Dekalb County Schools Stink

    You all really slap the other German teachers in the face, including those in the middle school, when you say that the German program would “fall apart” if Neuhaus isn’t part of it. I’d be quite offended If I taught German at either the middle or high school. Is this the brainwashing that was being spoken of earlier?

  69. Bill Armstrong

    River. No thanks on the meeting. I’ve been to way too many over the years, spoken at them as well. I’m sure I would get more of the same I’ve read on the Positive Learning Facebook page, Nextdoor & in person. And here. I’ve asked for more. Not getting it.
    I do know this, if the parents present themselves with the same disruptive behavior tonight as they did at the “State of the School” meeting, which I did attend, they will be asked to leave & likely escorted out. I can assure you neither myself, nor any of the very involved Chamblee parents who have spoken alongside me going back 13 years, or attended in support, ever behaved like that in a board meeting. I suspect they won’t, but that last meeting, wow. And if he’s how almost all describe, I’m pretty sure Herr Neuhaus wouldn’t want anyone behaving like that on his behalf.
    You’re right, not expected more in the way of answers here today. I’ll be watching the news. Seems like Ch. 2 is all over it. But maybe some parents will post more after they’re back. To all, have a great rest of your day and evening

  70. River Harper

    The descriptions of the skits published were written/translated by the students, for the most part. My exact words that I wrote describing the skit are on the internet. I’m not too happy about that quite frankly.

  71. Hailey Maxwell

    To “dekalb county schools stink”,
    First, I take massive offense to, once again, being called brainwashed. I am old enough and mature enough to know when I am being manipulated and when I am being taught. Herr Neuhaus teaches; he does not in ANY way manipulate his students. I would think this would be evident from the fact that students emailed him when they did not want to participate in the skit assignment in question. He has taught us to stand up for ourselves and given us such confidence to do so, that we can stand up to him if we need to.
    Second, the german teachers at the middle school are fantastic. They take students who understand little to no german and advance them quickly through German 1 and 2. However, that being said, German 2 mastery is not even German proficiency. High school instruction is ccrucial for students who want to learn german. Herr Neuhaus is the only german teacher at the high school who is capable of upper-level german instruction. If that statement means that I’m “slapping the other german teachers in the face”, then I’m sorry if their feelings are hurt, but it does not at all diminish the truth.

  72. Bill Armstrong

    River. Are you saying the Champion email version is a match of what the students wrote/translated?
    If so – who’d you give it to? And when?
    Were you aware they were being submitted to the system for review by HR & legal depts?
    As I know that was what they reviewed internally & what they provided in response to the open records request. And the same is what is available to anyone, and I mean anyone, who submits a proper request. Open records.
    And that’s what Stan said.

  73. River Harper

    The administrators forced us to write incident reports about what happened. Almost everyone wrote on there that they thought Herr Neuhaus had handled it well himself. I guess they didn’t care.

  74. Emma Axelson

    Regarding the person commenting on how many people in support of Herr Neuhaus have been silent: Many people have been away or not on this specific post, whether because of travel plans, summer activities, or because it’s exhausting to argue with people who repeatedly give the same tired arguments. I, for one, have been away in Europe, where I used my German skills to speak to a person in Austria for several minutes before they realized that I’m not from Germany and I’m not a native speaker of German at all, and they were amazed when I told them that I learned in school.

  75. Bill Armstrong

    Emma. My posts are directed specifically at those who are here, by name, & have spent virtually all their efforts engaging with anonymous posters with whom they generally take extreme issue with, but do it nonetheless. Those battles do tend to go round & round & I suspect that in many instances – but not all, there is little reading of all of what the other is saying, instead portions are latched onto & things get snippy – to be polite.
    Myself, I’m not anonymous – I’ve detailed my connection to CCHS, and my interest in the topic. I’ve tried to ask specific questions not answered here, or elsewhere that I’m aware, and made comments/observations regarding the efforts to reinstate Neuhaus &/or oust Braaten, that I think would warrant answers/responses. But I get none. I’ve directed my queries to specific comments by specific posters, but get nothing. I’ve presented others to the leaders of the reinstate Neuhaus effort who have posted here, of which I know are a few – by name. Nothing.
    There seems to be great pride that most are identifying themselves, fine. I am too. But by & large all comments are directed at anonymous posters, who as they’ve pointed out – can’t be known for sure if they have any connection to CCHS. I do.
    And while some of what I’ve stated can be seen as arguing, I think much of it is asking for answers that I’m not getting answers to.
    Oh, one good thing – my worry on the behavior of Chamblee parents tonight. I know that the CCHS people have been reminded by one of their leaders to behave tonight: “No speaking out or shouting.” Because, as you know, that’s what you have to remind grown ups to do when you go to a meeting like this.

  76. River Harper

    I am glad to report that the crowd, over 50% Chamblee students/parents, was very well behaved tonight, as I knew they would be. I’m sure Stan agrees

  77. Bill Armstrong

    Good to hear – not surprising really. I’ll have to catch up later, I am curious as to how much was directed at “reinstate Neuhaus” &/or “oust Braaten.” I know it’s hard to say what you wish in 2 minutes (used to be 3) – we always got a roster of speakers signed up & then divided the workload. That way much less repeating. I bet the Chamblee group did tonight.

  78. River Harper

    Still three minutes, Bill. Some people talked about brazen, some about Neuhaus. Hopefully you get a chance to watch it once they post it at some point. We had a lot of speakers from Chamblee, including me. I’m grateful for everybody else who helped coordinate the speeches and make sure we got our message across to the board. Thank you if you were one of those people reading this.

  79. Mr. Armstrong, I appreciate everything that you have been saying. I too am watching and amazed that your valid points are not being addressed. Mr. Jester also asked if teachers should be held to different professional standards based on how effective parents/students viewed the teaching abilities of the instructor. I don’t think that anyone has been brave enough to tackle that question either.
    The reason people post anonymously is that they still have kids in the school and with all the diatribe of teachers here and on other forums, we know that our kids will take the brunt of any retribution since the teachers can’t actually go after the parents. Teachers are blaming the complaints against HN on parents who are upset because kids are not performing well in the class. Seriously? I’m having second thoughts now on putting my child in any teacher’s class that is saying things like that.
    I don’t care how you interpret the assignment, but HN circulated an email from teachers calling for the ouster of Braaten after he got in trouble for the assignment. Attribute his demise to his own arrogance, stupidity, or insubordination. He should have been laying low if he really valued his job at Chamblee.

  80. Glad to hear that Chamblee parents were actually behaved. I’m shocked actually based on what I saw the other evening. It was embarrassing and hurt the Chamblee cause IMO.

  81. River Harper

    If the teachers are afraid to speak out about poor leadership, or you think that teachers should “lay low” because they should be afraid getting fired/reassigned, then Braaten will get to do whatever she wants as if she were a dictator. Right now, that is sadly the case. Neuhaus never publicly said anything bad about Braaten, and over 30 teachers were brave enough tossing a letter asking for her removal. If that doesn’t show you how dire hesitation at Chambleeis, then I don’t know what does.
    It is also interesting that you bring up “parents who are upset kids are not performing well in the class”. The reality, however, is that all of his students and their parents support Herr Neuhaus. If a kid had a bad grade in his class, that was a situation entirely of their creation. Neuhaus is a difficult teacher. He is not for everybody. However, he was always fair. That is part of what makes him so great.

  82. River,
    You do get held accountable for insubordination in the real world of employment. Make sure that you keep this in mind before you rail against any of your future bosses. Maybe not as much in the liberal land of DeKalb, but you do in most places. They probably don’t call it insubordination anymore. They probably call it not being a team player, but the result will be the same. You will lose your job.
    HN did forward an email. Whether he helped compose or just forwarded is irrelevant. It was anti-Braaten. I know that he did because I received it. The other teachers who chose to compose or forward the email were never in the same predicament as HN because they weren’t already in administrative trouble. You cannot give the assignment that he gave and then come out and attack the administration for dealing with it in whatever way they felt was appropriate.
    The fact that teachers think that this could happen to them because it happened to HN is unbelievable to me. Don’t ask my kid to pretend-perform *elatio on a Pope or any other sexual act and we’ll be good. I don’t care what my kid has seen on TV or discussed with their friends. I can’t even wrap my brain around all the “explanations” for why the assignment was given. To have it given to them by an authority figure puts it in an entirely different realm.
    And yes, both of my kids have had HN and agree that he is an exceptional (and difficult) instructor.

  83. River Harper

    Once again, nobody is trying to defend the assignment. The students understand that people need to be held accountable for their actions. That is why nobody complained after he was suspended for three weeks. I thought that was a severe penalty, as did many other classmates, but whatever. The district giving him a suspension was somewhat appropriate. Reassigning him? Definitely not. This has nothing to do with whether Neuhaus liked the principal or not, and nothing to do with whether he did/forwarded something about it. Nobody asked anybody to perform sodomy. If you had read the class letter, you would know that the students stood up for themselves, as Herr Neuhaus taught them to always do, and Neuhaus handled it in the most professional way he could. But if all you do is read the assignment and think he is a pervert or whatever other ridiculous things people have been saying, you will be bashing your head into the wall. The assignment is not why people showed up to the meeting; it is about what the county (not the principal!) did about it and how they egregiously mishandled the situation.

  84. dekalbteacher

    There is no mechanism for teachers who see how poor leadership affects a school and, inevitably, your children.
    You’re right about insubordination. Unfortunately, that often means that teachers remain silent as your children suffer or receive less than they should.
    No parent should assume that because they didn’t hear teachers complaining that there weren’t any problems.

  85. Amy Trocchi

    Bill, please understand that some of us have things to do other than respond to your questions on this comment page. I myself have driven 500ish miles over the past 3 days taking care of an injured relative, so maybe you could relax on making it seem like someone’s silence with respect to your questions is anything other than people having a life outside this page. Some of the people you’ve said “crickets” to have been spending hours every day organizing efforts to ensure CCHS is ready for all of our kids in 4 weeks, in addition to their full-time jobs, so if they don’t have time to sift through all of these comments for your questions, it doesn’t mean they don’t have good answers or intentions.
    And you can chill out on your implications that everyone in a Chamblee Facebook group with 1800 members all think the same way. There are plenty of people on there I don’t agree with and some things on that page embarrass me, but that is what happens in a Facebook group with 1800+ people. There’s no master guiding force; it’s gotten way too big for that. That 1800+ people is comprised of Braaten haters, DCSD moles, genuinely good people, weirdos, etc. So things that are posted on that page are not wholly representative of the people seeking change at CCHS. Postings on that page are not proof of anything except what the poster said.
    Interestingly, my own perspective at CCHS is almost the same as yours. I have a child at CCHS and one about to enter. With respect to Herr N’s situation, none of my children have ever had him. I am completely content with saying the opinions of Catherine Maloney, Hailey Maxwell, River Harper, and others who were directly impacted are more valid than mine with respect to this situation. There is no way I know more than they do about how these classes run, how Herr N is to work with on a daily basis, and the true facts of the assignment at the core of this issue and the discussions the students and parents had at the time of the assignment and then again 3 weeks later when a teacher who has harmed other teachers with questionable behavior overheard students discussing it (not freaking out about it) and turned Herr N in. And because I respect and trust these students and their parents, I tend to believe them over other people who weren’t directly impacted. My opinion. Doesn’t need to be justified any further than that.
    Likewise with the Braaten situation, I have personally had nothing but pleasant and professional encounters with her on a weekly basis. But I could not ignore the fears and concerns of teachers I know and love despite my own bubble of pleasant interactions. The way I think is that it wasn’t fair to ignore the suffering of others despite the fact that I personally hadn’t been negatively impacted.
    Finally, I am not suspicious about how all of our eggs were in one basket with Herr N and German, and I think it’s entirely plausible that the success of the entire German program depends on him without attaching any other motives or implications to that fact. First, this is DeKalb. Everything teeters on the edge of disaster here anyway, esp. in the school system. Second, German isn’t a super popular language to teach – having skills concentrated to a small number of teachers in this program isn’t shocking. Third, if one teacher can handle the fraction of students who even make it to German 5 and 6, why would there need to be another one?
    It’s the same situation in math at Chamblee. There isn’t anyone who is qualified to teach Multivariable (one class beyond AP Calc BC) outside of Tulchinsky. That isn’t an insult to other teachers that they, as high school teachers, aren’t qualified to teach college-level courses. I don’t wax poetic about CCHS. I believe there’s a level of very highly qualified and talented teachers, and then I think there’s a very steep dropoff to the next level. That’s why we can’t lose any of them.
    It also doesn’t surprise me at all that we don’t have a line of public school teachers who are skilled and willing to work for DeKalb teaching high school students in college-level classes. DeKalb has a shortage of everything except central office employees – of course they have a shortage of high quality teachers for the highest level courses in the county. This isn’t suspicious or surprising to me.
    I’ll wrap up by saying that the DeKalb BOE was saturated with personnel issues tonight, at CCHS and Cedar Grove. It is obvious there is a big problem with DCSD’s ability to properly manage a school system of this size and be able to make these critical personnel decisions that have much larger impacts than they apparently realize.

  86. Bill Armstrong

    So. Everyone behaved, did a nice job articulating their points, but it seems that Dr. Green is firm in things as they stand following his own review of the situation, making a decision & putting in place a plan. What to do now?
    Well, to paraphrase many of my previous posts “the beginning of school is almost upon us, perhaps we should decide to work together with our fellow parents, teachers, the administration, to have our great CCHS move forward into this year.” Such a plan would require open & civil lines of communication as a key component. And it will need to include the administration, including Principal Braaten.
    Parents I know have expressed similar thoughts, somewhat quietly given the current climate where anything less than full allegiance to the cause of Braaten’s removal are greeted with less than open arms (ands minds). And now I’ve seen others voice similar concerns & ideas on the High Positive Learning FB Page. Just this evening, reflecting on the current state, and not entirely blown off now – a good sign.
    So what’s the plan of the group’s leadership? Openly consider broaching the subject with a wider audience of CCHS parents? Ask for input on how to at least get a read on how the CCHS community sees this? Commit to working with anyone who wants a great school, and find a common ground?
    No. Apparently the plan seems to be: support as strongly as possible the teachers. At the same time, wage all out war against the Principal, which by necessity means her administration. How, you ask?
    Compiling the greatest hits of all the articulately-worded positions of the various members of the coalition to get rid of Braaten into a book, AND present it to her in a book asking her to resign.
    Let that soak in.
    Today I’ve made it clear I’m not satisfied by the lack on answers I’m getting from other CCHS parent leaders & supporters of removing Braaten, obviously interwoven with the reinstate Neuhaus effort. So, at this point, as I’ve said for awhile now those 2 decisions aren’t going to be reversed any time soon. But school is starting soon.
    So people want to open the doors with “we are here to work with all the wonderful teachers, except you Principal Braaten. You read this book a group of parents spent the summer working on, and then please . . . quit.”
    So my question? Parent leaders, including many on here, that’s your plan?
    CCHS parents, are y’all on board with that?
    And at this point I promise there are more CCHS parents who feel a different approach is appropriate now than you might realize.

  87. Amy Trocchi

    Bill, what is fueling some of the “keep going” attitude is that Tucker High School parents fought a similar battle this past school year, and the principal was eventually removed and replaced with a leader who is turning out to be a much better fit for the school.

  88. Bill Armstrong

    OK Amy, some good points. So for now I’ll drop them & just go with what I just posted. And while the Facebook page might have some variety of positions, are you telling me the main posters, the leaders of the group, aren’t the driving force of most communication & actions by a significant group of supporting fellow parents?
    Because I say they are. They’re the faces of the group. The play-callers of action plans.
    I’d love to see a more open discussion of all alternative opinions at this point. Maybe it will start now.
    So for now, forget anything else I’ve asked earlier. Anyone from CCHS, including yourself, please tell me your thoughts on this plan, and if you are aware of others being considered, perhaps by yourself, please share them.
    Because a “Please Quit Book” – I’d hope that’s not something many are ready to rally around.

  89. River Harper

    If the board would decide to do the right thing, there’d be no need for a book.

  90. There are quite a few sub-groups who are trying to handle this situation from different angles in addition to the people on the largest Facebook group. There are a few other much smaller Facebook groups. There are some taking more of a legal angle; others are looking at ethics complaints. Parents enlist other parents who think similarly to pursue a specific angle. I’m sure you’ve received invitations to some of these groups.
    Unfortunately I don’t think it’s realistic to hope for one merged group; CCHS is just too large and with so many really diverse sub-groups. And within a group, there are always those with pitchforks and those who catch their flies with honey. There can be a majority looking for the same end result, but they won’t go about it the same way.
    And in this situation, some feel desperation to the point that they will throw anything and everything to the wall in the hopes that one particular thing will stick or resonate.
    The Cedar Grove speakers were adamant about not giving up their fight on behalf of a band teacher who was replaced – they promise a fight to the end. So persistence in the face of a stoic DCSD isn’t unique to CCHS.
    My wish is that DCSD would just own up to whatever their master plan is and communicate clearly with the CCHS community. Is Braaten the leader they stand behind for the future of CCHS? What is the future they envision? Are they willing to address the possibility of relocating the magnet to the future CKHS replacement HS? Do they think Braaten is the right person to lead CCHS through the very tumultuous upcoming years of construction and redistricting? Are they willing to accept a years-long degradation of the high school German program with Herr N gone? Do they have a plan for the expected exodus of teachers who cannot work under Braaten? What are the metrics they are going to use to judge Braaten’s success under the coaches? Do they envision letting the governing board operate according to their charter, or do they support Braaten not working with the governing board as in the charter?
    If DCSD would open up and give CCHS parents ANYTHING, they might get some cooperation in response, but, as it stands now, they are like talking to a brick wall, so they can expect that parents will keep throwing things at them.

  91. DSW2Contributor

    TWE’s 8:32 post includes this line: “HN circulated an email from teachers calling for the ouster of Braaten after he got in trouble for the assignment.”
    I have not seen that email and have no idea what is in it, so the rest of this comment is about a *hypothetical* situation.
    Suppose a Principal directs a teacher to change something about their teaching. The teacher decides not to follow the Principal’s directive. The teacher also decides to document his refusal in a email:
    Dear Principal: During our discussion, you asked me to [change something] in my classes. I will continue [doing that something exactly as I have always done] in my classes for [list of reasons].
    In this hypothetical situation, the teacher has committed insubordination and documented his insubordination in writing. Unfortunately for him, insubordination is #2 on the list of eight grounds for terminating or suspending teachers per state law §20-2-940:
    If the teacher only sends his email to his Principal, she can decide to counsel him, explaining that he does not really want to disobey her since it would be insubordination, he could be suspended or fired for it, yada-yada. Ideally, the teacher quickly recognizes his error, apologizes and the Principal lets it drop after giving him a warning.
    Another possiblity is that the teacher circulates his insubordination email to other teachers. If he does that, he screws himself over. Since he is encouraging others to commit Insubordination, the Principal cannot simply counsel him. She has to recommend termination in accordance with state law.
    If the teacher has been exceptional and never been in trouble before, the Palace might go for a compromise: suspend and reassign him instead of terminating him.

  92. River Harper

    That never happened (just clarifying since you did say it was a hypothetical situation). But HN’s interactions with Braaten are not relevant to the situation we have here, in my opinion.

  93. Stan Jester

    Can I get a copy of Neuhaus’ email?

  94. River,
    Credibility is one of those things that need to be treasured–there are careers that rely on a person’s credibility. You should never speak of that which you do not know lest you lose your credibility. HN did send an email. I have it right in front of me. It was sent to parents and your father was one of the original recipients. The parents, of course, forwarded the email to others.
    It was the letter from concerned teachers to parents. I had no problem with the letter and I believe teachers have a right to voice their concerns in a respectful manner, but they were most definitely calling for the ouster of Braaten. I received the letter from many different people, but it struck me as odd that HN would send it out especially since it referenced his situation. It was very clear (to me at least) that HN was never going to be a team player as long as Braaten was the captain. One of them had to go and the county chose HN to go.
    I’m not sure that his forwarding of the email to parents would technically be considered as “insubordination” but it definitely would be considered disruptive to the school community.
    DeKalbteacher–I complain to and about my boss all the time. He is quick to point out my deficiencies too. We value each others’ opinions and are respectful of each other so our conversations are usually productive. If I sent out a letter about my boss to all my co-workers with the tone that the teacher letter had, my boss would stuff me in a dark corner somewhere and give me all the projects that no one else wanted. Not only would I have lost his trust, but if there was anything inaccurate in the letter or a story not told in it’s entirety, I would have lost credibility too.

  95. Paula Caldarella

    It was the letter from concerned teachers to parents. I had no problem with the letter and I believe teachers have a right to voice their concerns in a respectful manner, but they were most definitely calling for the ouster of Braaten.
    So very interesting. So, River’s father and the other parents failed to disclose this letter calling for the ouster of Braaten in all of the discussions on this blog and the Facebook page? Why? What other information has not been brought forward? As TWE stated, there does not seem to be a problem with the letter. From my own experience as a parent in DCSD, teachers have tried to affect change in leadership that they feel is failing their school. I trust teachers’ judgements. However, in my experience, those teachers have gone the route of working with the School Council on this issue – not trying to induce their students’ parents in doing the dirty-work – i.e. attempting to bully the Principal from her job – which is what appears is going on now from a small group of CCHS parents. Did these teachers approach the Governance Council in a formal manner with their concerns about Braaten at any point? Or was the Teacher survey the first the Governance Council realized it was a massive problem at CCHS?
    I can assure you in the Corporate world if a group of employees was attempting to circumvent standard HR procedures in order to bring about the ouster of their manager, said employees would be FIRED – No suspension, no re-assignment.
    I feel confident in saying, there is still pertinent information to be revealed about this situation.

  96. Megan Woo (German 3+)

    “Hear us, listen to us, believe us.” These are a few of the words in the letter that the entire German V class (and their parents) signed. The controversy surrounding the skits involved that class, which supports Neuhaus 100%.
    As a German 3+ student, I also support Herr Neuhaus, and I can confirm that he is truly a one of a kind teacher. Herr Neuhaus is hands down the most dedicated teacher I have ever had.  He writes his own standards and curriculum and makes a 30 page “UE Dokument” for each unit, which is basically a textbook and workbook he created.  He is the only teacher I have ever had to frequently send out class emails with instructions he forgot to mention in class. Only Herr Neuhaus would be thinking of his sixth period class at 6 am on a Saturday morning enough to send a “fun” math problem to practice some extra German or a German riddle for extra credit.
    Herr Neuhaus strove to make sure class was engaging and the things we learned would be applicable not only to the German language but also to life in general.  Lively discussions about ethics and controversies honed our speaking and comprehension. (Should students be allowed to have their phones? Are grades a positive or negative thing? What constitutes happy? What does religion do for people? Is honesty always the best policy? Are the means always justified by the ends? What could be the solution to all the school shootings? Can you, as a student, truly make a difference?)  These discussions were always spontaneous and would naturally progress into new topics, further developing our vocabulary.
    On top of his extreme work ethic and dedication, he also genuinely cares for his students.  He made sure the two sophomores in our class knew the rest of us freshmen and would periodically quiz each other on birth dates and other “fun facts.”  If someone looked downcast, he would immediately notice and check in to ask how (s)he was doing. It is truly incredible that Herr Neuhaus is able to create an atmosphere in room 4117 that is relaxed and fun, but also allows students to learn so much. It is a rarity and something that will be bitterly missed if Herr Neuhaus is not brought back to Chamblee. Personally, I will be devastated, because although history is my favorite subject, Herr Neuhaus made German my favorite class.
    Quite frankly, Herr Neuhaus’ gift of teaching would be wasted at the DeKalb County Welcome Center.  He worked 28 years to build this incredibly successful German program, and he can’t just be replaced. Unfortunately, even a “good” teacher would never be the same. Herr Neuhaus’ dedication, work ethic, unique teaching style, and genuine care for students can’t be matched by anyone else.  By forcing Herr Neuhaus to leave CCHS, our German program will never have the same kind of success again. Herr Neuhaus belongs at Chamblee, and we need him back.
    Megan Woo (German 3+)

  97. I am a parent with 2 children who had the privilege and benefit of being in Herr Neuhaus’ classes (one of whom spent 4 years with him). I have lost faith in DeKalb County’s ability to provide a good education for our kids. How can a few people who never sat in Neuhaus’ class, and have never had personal interaction with him on an academic level, deem him unfit to teach when hundreds of students who actually have sat in his classes and have direct knowledge of the situation all stand up for him? Nearly 1000 people have signed the petition to reinstate Neuhaus. It is the opposite of the Me Too movement: those who were supposedly the “victims” are the ones most vociferously speaking out on the teacher’s behalf. Yet the DeKalb County leadership refuses to listen to these and other students/parents/teachers, blinded by their power to do what they think is right, even when all the facts show that they are wrong. It is not Neuhaus who has threatened our children’s mental or physical health; it is the callous and unjust actions of the DeKalb County leadership that has caused our kids to suffer sadness, frustration, anger, and anxiety at the loss of one of their most beloved and highly regarded teachers.

  98. If more info comes out later on showing that he circumvented HR procedures to bring about change, then I think his path for getting back to CCHS becomes a lot more difficult. We now know that approach doesn’t work.
    What about the many other teachers who are unhappy with the current environment and colluded with him? What’s the best path for them now? I’m assuming they don’t have a lot of experience dealing situations such as this, so more mistakes might be made going forward. If continuing to work with the existing councils and boards is the way to go, then I hope they take that route. I don’t want them to leave, get reassigned, or get fired. I want them to teach my kids when they get to HS.
    But if I were in their shoes, I would leave if a clear path forward isn’t available.

  99. Paula Caldarella

    Thai, my opinion only….I believe the “coaches” brought in to assist Principal Braaten will determine rather quickly if she is amenable to change or capable of changing her management style. I don’t think the coaches will let the situation get too far down the road if they deem the situation with Principal Braaten is unworkable for CCHS. At that point, I would think a change in leadership would be recommended. As far as the teachers, I’m sure they will continue their excellent work with the students and be open to discussing their issues with the coaches and the Governance Council. Again, just my two cents.

  100. Thai, I think this situation has shown that DSCD doesn’t have a good way for teachers to get concerns addressed, especially when their concerns are about how their principal is making big decisions with no teacher input and not treating them with professional courtesy.
    The survey by the Governing Board seems to be the only vehicle that teachers had.
    It’s concerning that the only reaction from DSCD to the teacher and parent surveys, which revealed a toxic management style, is to hire 2 coaches to ‘do something’ at CCHS next year.
    No stakeholders know what the coaches will do, or for how long, or whether their role will include any interaction with the Governing Board or parents or teachers.
    If the principal refuses to listen, or creates such a threatening atmosphere where teachers can’t speak openly, and if DSCD places little value on these concerns when finally they are made public, then what comes next?
    It’s just so sad to watch this train wreck unfold.