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. River Harper

    I know he sent an email. I was aware of the email before he even got in trouble. I am simply saying it doesn’t matter. That has nothing to do with credibility. I never said he didn’t write one. HN loves Chamblee and he loves his students. He would’ve put up with Kim Jong Un as the principal if that meant he could still teach his students.

  2. River Harper

    Nobody tried to circumvent HR to get Braaten fired. Like I just said, Neuhaus cared about his students first and foremost. Everything else at the school came second. The Governing Board recommended that the county get rid of Braaten, but the county didn’t listen, as usual. The reason nobody said anything about the letter is that it is not a factor into why he got reassigned. Totally irrelevant to the conversation. There is no pertinent information regarding the situation. This letter is just like HN’s use of his own email account: a nothing burger that people are trying to use against him.

  3. Paula Caldarella

    River, I know you’re young, but the letter and the possible actions surrounding it are very much relevant.

  4. River Harper

    I do not appreciate the attempt to patronize, as others have done by calling students brainwashed. The fact of the matter is that because they were there, the brilliant students of Herr Neuhaus, who became brilliant thanks to him, are the only people, including parents, who can contribute first hand knowledge to his situation. People like you who don’t have a kid in the class or weren’t in the class themselves sadly have to go out on a limb and use their best judgment as to what might have happened with HN, and some people are better than others at doing that. However, the reason HN has been removed by the county is because of the skits. And as you just said, “there does not seem to be a problem” with the letter. This leads me to wonder what piques your interest regarding Herr Neuhaus and how the county has handled this situation in a disappointing way. Do you have a child at Chamblee? If so, is he/she in one of his classes? If not, then I would encourage you to evaluate why you are using your time to talk about a letter that you have not even read. If Braaten wanted to get rid of every single teacher at Chamblee who committed some sort of insubordination, do you know how many teachers would be left? She would have to teach all seven classes of all the 1,700+ students herself. Coming from someone who has actually read the letter, it is simply ridiculous for people to say that he or any other teacher tried to “get parents to do the dirty work” of getting rid of Braaten. That is insane. The hundreds of parents and students who were at the State of Chamblee meeting were not brainwashed or told anything by teachers. Brainwashed people don’t get that angry about their cause.

  5. Paula Caldarella

    River, I am not being patronizing – I’m sorry if that is how you took my comment. I admire your spirit and determination, but as an much older adult, I am offering you my experience of the world. I don’t believe that is patronizing. It’s just offering you words based on my own life’s journey.
    Also, I have never once used the term “brainwashed”. I reject that sentiment. I remember very well what it’s like to have a beloved teacher and mentor. I do feel the pain for you and your fellow students.
    I do not have children at Chamblee, I am alum. I want the best for my high school. I did sign the petition for the re-assignment of Principal Braaten. However, the county has chosen a different path, as is their right. Whether that is the right path remains to be seen and will be seen very quickly. I wouldn’t doubt there is a backup plan in place if Principal Braaten’s performance does not change.
    There are 2 situations going on here, in my view. An overall disappointment and disillusionment with Principal Braaten’s performance. The 2nd is the Herr Neuhaus situation. I reject that they are one in the same.

  6. Paula, I agree that the teachers who remain will keep doing their best for the students.
    I think the teachers did that all last year too. They concentrated on their students. That’s why so many folks were surprised by the survey results at the end of the year. It’s amazing that the teachers were able to do so much while under such stress.
    But people can only endure this for so long. Some have left. Some have been removed.
    The District hasn’t given those who might stay much reason to think that the coming year will be any different. I hope you are correct in thinking that the use of coaches can quickly change this awful situation.
    But I don’t know that I would bet my livelihood and well being on it. But as a Chamblee stakeholder I will bake and write notes and buy gift cards to show love to the teachers. I want them to stay.

  7. River Harper

    I agree. They are not the same issue. Stan, please make sure that you and the other board members know that they cannot lump these two issues together, and that they have to listen to parents, students, and teachers on both. I appreciate you signing the petition. It is good to see that alumni still care.

  8. Paula Caldarella

    Anonymous, you can believe that I will also do what I can to support CCHS. I do that now through my donations to the Blue and Gold Foundation, and if asked would do much more.
    River, I care very much what happens to CCHS – I will always care. Some of my most meaningful memories take me back to my high school days.

  9. River Harper

    Agree 100%. I had no inkling that the teachers were upset with Braaten until I read the survey results. I was shocked. Every now and then I had heard small grumblings about the administration, but nothing like this. I am grateful that Chamblee has some of the best teachers in the county, in my opinion. I would need more than two hands to count all of the teachers that would sadden me if they left because they are so good.

  10. River, This is a human resources issue. The Board of Education is the official policy making body for the DeKalb County School District. The BOE has one and only one employee, the Superintendent. It is against state law for the Board of Education to get involved in human resources. Board involvement in human resources could also jeopardize accreditation.

  11. River Harper

    I understand. I hope Dr. Green heard all of us at the meeting yesterday. Hopefully some effective change comes about.

  12. River Harper

    Thank you Megan! That was great!!!!

  13. DSW2Contributor

    TWE at July 10, 2018 at 7:35 AM – “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.”
    Teaching contracts are with the school *district*, not specific schools, so DCSD can move a teacher to a different school whenever it needs to.
    Moves are not usually disciplinary (but can be!)

  14. DSW2Contributor

    An article in the Columbus newspaper about Principal Braaten, titled “Former MCSD official accused of ruling school with ‘an iron fist.’ Now parents want her out:”

  15. I have two children that will be at CCHS next year (rising 9th/12th graders). My daughter was in that German V class, and my son was hoping to take German 3+ with Herr Neuhaus next year. I have said very little about this matter, mainly because I don’t even know where to begin. I am stunned by some of the parent comments directed toward these 25 students in the German V class. The kids and their parents all agree that the assignment was not appropriate and that the three week suspension was warranted. However, the way it was handled by the administration afterward was very unprofessional. To not give HN the benefit of the doubt after 25+ years of a stellar teaching reputation at CCHS is frankly shocking. I know many of the kids in this class and to say that they are “brainwashed” is quite insulting to both them and their parents. They are a close knit group of kids who spoke up, good for them. They should not be defending their actions, instead they should be proud that they did the right thing. Has anyone thought of the impact it has on these kids? They are going into their senior year unsure of their German class (after taking it for 8 years) as well as many of their other AP courses (because of the lack of a master schedule). Instead of having to defend themselves, they should be doing college tours, studying for ACT/SAT/Subject Tests and writing their college essays (if my daughter is reading this, that’s what you should be doing!). There’s a reason that many of Herr Neuhaus’s former students haven spoken up in defense of him. Bottom line is that he is an excellent teacher that has opened the world for so many students.
    I think the bigger issue is that we are 4 weeks away from the beginning of the school year and there are so many uncertainties that have not been addressed by Dekalb County. We have no information about the status of the following: Master Schedule, AP courses, AP Capstone program, Freshman Academy, etc. We do not know which teachers will stay and which courses they will be teaching. I didn’t realize this, but without a master schedule, MOWR students cannot select their college courses. We had a very knowledgeable counselor last year who is no longer at CCHS due to discontent with the administration. Who do we go to for college advisement and how/why are we in this position at the beginning of senior year? This is not a magnet/resident issue, it affects all students, teachers, and parents at CCHS.

  16. dekalbteacher

    TWE and Paula,
    If the teacher did send or forward the email, he was foolish.
    However, the norms and practices of the corporate world don’t seem to apply to this billion dollar publicly funded organization. Would a corporation keep a manager that needs such managerial help while so many shareholders speak out? Did the principal follow the district’s HR policies and act in accordance of the code of ethics in interfering with the teacher of the year voting or calling the police on staff? Consider what Starbucks did when its manager inappropriately called the police. I assume open records would confirm that the principal did call the police.
    Look at Stan’s responses to questions about administration evaluations. Do you know of any teachers who have successfully worked with HR in dealing with leadership issues? If teachers have concerns, they have to share those with the people wielding enormous power in retaliatory evaluations and work schedules. In Dekalb County it seems that as long as there is no way to communicate problems, then there are no problems.
    At this point, all schools have new administrations and, as Stan noted in an earlier discussion, school council governance has changed. The mechanisms that may have worked in the past no longer exist.

  17. Paula Caldarella

    @dekalbteacher, your points are well taken. These were a few of the reasons I signed the petition to request her re-assignment. I did not sign the petition based on the Herr Neuhaus situation.
    I’ll also comment that there are parents/students who wish to see Bratten stay. Should not their voices be heard by Dr. Green as well?

  18. River Harper

    With regards to Braaten, I believe everyone should have their voices be heard. However, I know exactly one student who thinks she should stay. I know at least 100 that think she needs to be fired/reassigned. I don’t think she should stay just because less than 1% of the student population thinks she should stay because she bribed the students by letting them use their cell phones during the day. And I know that the vast majority of parents do not support her either, and I have talked to many, many parents. The petition speaks for itself. The signatures aren’t fake.

  19. dekalbteacher

    Dekalb employs more than 6,000 teachers. I understand why the board can’t interfere with HR practices. I don’t understand why the board doesn’t consider the largest group of employees in its policy-making. Doesn’t seem that that the district knows or wants to know what teachers think about administration effectiveness.

  20. Parents, advocating for Neuhaus, let’s take the name of this teacher out of the scope, if someone else gave your students similar assignments, would you be OK with them?
    If not, so, you are saying that should be a certain caste of teachers above school rules and regulations, breaking ethical protocols, using personal emails for work, etc… Teachers with 25 years of experience can do that? Right?
    If some parents believe that Neuhaus did nothing wrong, why are you so against unbiased investigation, some even mentioned that it’s a classroom issue, that only parents and students in the class have valid opinions, etc…
    Do parents of students, where Neuhaus was reassigned, know a what teacher their kids get?

  21. River Harper

    I can see by what you just wrote that you have not read previous comments. So I will keep it short. Nobody is defending the assignment given. The students spoke up, Neuhaus immediately let the students change the assignment to something we were more comfortable with. He handled it like a pro, just like how he handled everything when there was something we wanted him to change/do in the class. If they wanted to give him a suspension, fine. We all understood that. Reassigning him is too far and will negatively impact Chamblee, DeKalb’s academic standing, and his students for a mistake that was immediately rectified.

  22. Anonymous:
    As stated by River, the German V parents are not defending the assignment. However, we are very much concerned about how the situation was handled and his subsequent reassignment.
    If we take the name out of this, then this could have been one my kids’ coaches/teachers in Band, Tennis Team, Reading Bowl, Quiz Bowl, Math Team, Science Team, etc. I have known each of these individuals for many years and know they are good people, so yes I would react in the same manner.

  23. Bill Armstrong

    No “Pro-Braaten” posters here? How about some trying to post things along a “middle ground” – not even pro, more “at this point let’s try to work together.” I’ve tried. Generally I get no takers. No engagement. An exercise in futility? Maybe. But I’m going to try. Others are as well.
    So in all sincerity, I’ll ask again: anyone else interesting in working on that instead of more “get rid of her” meetings, “we’ll never give up the fight” – a “Please Resign Book” as a back to school greeting? on & on. Green’s not going to change his mind before school starts, or as Paula C. says (and I agree) , for at least some time during that Fall this solution he put into place will be allowed to run – how long? Who knows?
    So do we want to open the doors with “we love you teachers” while also “you suck – go away?”
    I don’t. Shouldn’t we at least try, what have you got to lose? What if it actually works?

  24. Amy Trocchi

    Bill, that same Facebook group you have referenced has separate threads going for an expanded Teacher Appreciation-type effort to let teachers know the parents support them regardless of anything else going on, it has teachers sharing information about how they are going about planning when they aren’t sure about their classes, it has teachers from other schools stepping in and offering to help, etc. I don’t think the comments section of this blog is going to be the place where you are going to see tons of Chamblee parents commenting about plans on how to help their school be ready for opening day. The Facebook groups and email lists are going to do that – this is a blog open to anyone. The people needing to mobilize CCHS parents to do things for CCHS are not going to use this forum for that.

  25. Chamblee going downhill fast

    Let’s face facts. The high school has been on a pretty rampant decline over the last few years and I don’t see that changing unless everyone works together. We used to be in the top 10 of the State. Now we aren’t. CCHS used to be a destination school. Not anymore.

  26. Bill Armstrong

    Amy. Point taken. I’d say part of my reason for posting here is because I have been off & on for a pretty long time. Most Chamblee parents here the past few days are not here that often. They want to hammer every one disagreeing like whack a mole. Some of my posts are to make clear to those inside & out of Chamblee that not all is as black & white as it seems, more gray than some are willing to admit, or even consider. And not all parents are in line with full on “Reinstate Nuehaus” or “Oust Braaten” – myself included.
    And I do consider myself well informed about these issues, and over the years many things DeKalb Schools. And I do know this nothing I’ve seen on Facebook makes me think that’s an avenue I see as an opportunity to work with parents & the school & system administrators. Teacher appreciation – much looks covered. If I was a teacher I’d feel covered – parents have my back. But bringing all parties to the table including the principal – I don’t see it happening. So I was throwing it out there. Trust me – other parents aren’t trying to come at this the same way. And some of those efforts will involve some parents that might feel overlooked in much of this.
    Will they make different headway? Don’t know yet – but we’re not calling for heads. Some doors might be open or even just crack open a bit.
    And email lists? I’m not on as many these days – maybe add me on a few if you want to talk along these lines. But I’m not going to put on a blue shirt & pick up a pitchfork. Maybe we’ll try to touch base with some others not currently on the emails I do see. Goes both ways.
    Go Dawgs!

  27. So, this dance is OK … but we’re getting upset about the German skits?

  28. This dance is appalling. If this really is Redan High School, then we know that DSCD employees approved the dance and supervised practices and performances of it.
    Our tax dollars probably paid for the tiny outfits.
    Why is this “cultural expression” ok, when the Chamblee German teacher skits were never performed?
    Why is this Ok?

  29. Crosby Turner

    Stan, I have spent 2 and a half hours crafting specific responses on this blog with my cell phone. This software is very difficult to use . The space and fonts are way too small. Slight movements shift the pace back to the google search. These comments make up an important part of peoplle’s engagement with your blog. Please consider finding software that works more like texting or email on smart phones which is how the majority of people access the internet these days (exception: work computers)
    Stan, you are still my favorite Republican.
    Bill Armstrong: please see my very long post a couple of weeks ago . I referred to a small part of why the ‘State of Chamblee” meeting got so loud. There are many important issues that needed discussion and answers: the master calendar, schedules, teachers courses and schedules, 30 teachers having to move,loss of counselors and A.P.s., and the damage that will befall seniors applying fo colleges and the very vulnerable 9th graders. Also Bill someone yelled out “liar” when Ms. Braaten said “ You don’t have anything to worry about when you are doing your job.” CCHS loaf a beloved and respected Assistant Principal who had just gotten a satisfactory review the day before.
    DSW 2 sit down with a lawyer or someone knowledgeable with the ethical standards of education. You are misreading and misinterpreting standards 3, 4 and 5. There is no sexual nor inappropriate relationship nor electronic media for those purposes by this teacher.
    I also doubt that your student was ever in rhis teachers class nor on track to be. Correct me if I am wrong. Otherwise please do not pretend to be saving your child from any danger in his class. We parents with children who were in his classes have spent an enormous amount of time researching this situation and there is no danger to our beloved girls or boys. We would never put our children in harm’s way. They have in fact suffered no harm or detriment to their moral values or behaviors. We in fact communicate much more openly with our kids now after this controversy..
    It was a mistake with wording that can and did upset some people. Over 25 years he has changed student lives for the better. Some people aimply see this a section taken out of context in an assignment that was about humor. Others se it as a very poor choice of an assignment. There are some subjects that I have become extremely careful about over the years. However we have all at some time said or sent something that we realize now we shouldn’t have. Be honest. If he would be allowed by his attorneys to make a statement I believe he would deeply and sincerely apologize for offending anyone’s personal feelings or values. It has been a painful lesson with huge consequences that overlook 25 years of extraordinary service to his students.

    Those people who call someone a pervert or describe them in terms of a sexual predator “grooming” child for abuse are committing nothing short of professional slander plain and simple. This teacher is none of those things. You are not a Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist with specialized training and certification in diagnosing those disorders. How do I know? Because they are ethical bound to not make such judgements at a distance simply on a piece of paper or electronic document.
    This is not at all even remotely related to the #metoo issues. There is absolutely no evidence of that in this situation. So don’t pretend to be qualified to determine if someone is fit to be a round children or not.
    It’a a free country. However the uae of such language shows where the actual “dirty” thoughts and use of words really are.
    But if you really want to see some salacious behaviors that are sexually stimulating and can over time with repeated exposure probably undermine students values over time then please examine the dance teams who who are taught, allowed and encouraged to move like strippers. What school faculty do you think need to be fired. Reassigned and kept away from childrennkw? Also check the lyrics to rap songs played at pep rallies. There again you will get into issues of culture differences. But to me it is pretty weird.
    I heard one very incensed person say “it is unforgivable! Unforgivable!” I think this was primarily in reference to the Pope skit which they found extremely offensive. I am a pretty good observer of people and cultures. I am fairly sure I can guess where they turn for spirit and religious guidance. Ironic.

  30. Crosby Turner

    DSW2- What you are confused about is that Herr Neuhaus poses no danger to children. The fact is just the opposite . Herr Neuhaus has built up so many students. There are a number of students who expressly don’t like him but none the less strongly oppose taking him out of the classroom.

    Unaccceptable Teaching Even you describe what you disapprove of as ‘borderline sexual harassment”. Look up the definition of real sexual harassment. This is not sexual harassment and you know it. Harassment is persistent offensive and aggressive behavior that blatantly ignores the implied or expressed discomfort of the person who is the object of attentiont. It is not “borderline “, it is not even close. It is offensive to some. Very offensive to some. And shows a poor decision. It was never pushed or glorified nor used to compromise the children.
    Unacceptable Teaching, you asked how some scenarios should be acted out. The answer is simple. Silly, goofy, absurdly. Students who may have done skits once years ago report they were so ridiculous and silly and funny that no-one was offended. The pope skit could be done as a role play of someone scrubbing the pope’s back. It said “earthly needs” not oral sex. Interesting you interpreted it that way.. As for the “big breaste” I recommend silly large balloons and a big silly floppy wig to go with it. What you are missing is that there was no glorifying salacious content! It was not salacious and there was no building it up or rewarding it to actually be pornographic. Though I can see that is the impression some got. Or better yet Unaccptable, simply put- don’t do it! There was no pressure to these. In fact they were cancelled. It was always a joke. Maybe a bad joke in the view of some. But not real and never salacious.

    Finally DSW2, You say there is no way that an administrator can monitor a person’s classes where another language is spoken. There are schools where there are 3 very fluent German teachers including native speakers. There could be a direct supervision arrangement with a lead monitor and two others reviewing and observing. So you conclusion is completely invalid.
    … In summary, Herr Neuhaus is not perfect. None of us are. He has give twenty five years to enable a public school in Dekalb County not only a phenomenal record of achievement, probably the best in the US. There is a problem here. It is a very small part of tons of materials that he has developed. He has written books essentially for each class. He did not write these skits. It is a small problem and he deserves probation and mediation at the most. Maybe not even that. Maybe just a stern warning. But this penalty (international welcome center) is entirely out of proportion. Who was hurt? Who was harmed? That students in the class were actually NOT harmed. Unfortunately it has actually been Herr Neuhaus. The students were not harmed by the issue or the cancellation of the skit. The advanced classes of very hardworking students who value their education will be harmed by a misguided education administrators. If they are willing to prop up a principal who has used abusive language (“if you play with me I am going to light you up!”) and has failed in essential assignments (the master calendar), why can’t Dr. Green support a teacher who has accomplished over so many years and given so much? Think about it. Who should actually lose their job on the facts of the situation?

  31. Bill Armstrong

    Crosby. Thanks for taking the time to read thru & post responses as you could. I too have problems from time to time when posting from my phone. I tend to type it in a notes & then copy & paste. Allows for easier editing too.
    Q. I’ve posted here & elsewhere: Is it possible, just possible, that the actions of the Central office, and not Braaten, were based on other reported incidents/complaints over HN’s career, that while somewhat minor & perhaps handled with very minor discipline, had accumulated, and this incident was a tipping point. And please, I’m not making any accusations, I have no idea, but it seems to me – given the nature of how these HR decisions are handled confidentially, that there is possibly more here that people “not in the room” know about.
    Part of the reason I’ve thought of this is I am aware that some students from a few years ago put forth that they had issues with him to the point they withdrew from German, but now lamented not approaching the administration with their concerns. These were described as more along the lines of class environment and not specific assignments. They felt the staff at that time (a bit before Sauce) would not have been receptive. That made me think that perhaps there were others that did report some things. While there is no proof behind these comments – they were made under their real names. I know you are aware of at least one student, as well as another parent.
    I am also aware that they’ve simultaneously stated that HN should stay & Braaten should go, at least the ones I’m referring to, but could it be that others complaints were reported?
    And just to be sure you know, you might not have caught it considering the volume of posts here – I do have a rising 9th Grade Magnet student at CCHS.

  32. Magnet Program Egotism

    Crosby Turner – Thank you for proving the point that some on here have been making about the elitism of the magnet parents (and their kids). What a bunch of self-serving, I know better than you do crap. The fact that you demean someone by saying that “I’m sure your kid is not on track to be in this class” speak to the arrogance of some magnet parents and their kids whose only reason to act that way is winning the lottery. This is why the magnet program needs to go away. It breeds contemptible arrogant attitudes like the one you are exhibiting. You are right with your demeaning comment, however, – kids that don’t draw the ticket early enough in the process can’t ever get into the higher German classes – because they start the early German classes way too late. That’s what happened to my kid. They didn’t get into the precious “magnet” program until high school, not because they were less smart, had lower test scores, or poorer grades than your kid, but because THEY DIDN’T GET THEIR BLEEPING NAME DRAWN! So spare us all the outrage here and your “holier than thou” viewpoint. Quite frankly, I vote to blow up the whole damn program so that we can refrain from having the haves vs. the have nots.

  33. Anon: “A pervert teacher is grooming students by asking to act out his sick fantasies and some parents defending the teacher saying that he teaches German well and “enriches students lives”! Stop this planet!”
    Police MUST investigate this and PROBE him! He MUST be forbidden to approach students! Those teachers and administrators trying to “sweep everything under the carpet” and let it go must loose their positions as well!”
    says ^^^control-freak-helicopter parent ^^^ What’s really funny is that your kid is probably watching porn while attending online skool??? Oh, but I forgot about your net nanny.

  34. Crosby Turner

    Magnet Program Egotism,
    •. I was not being arrogant when I said that. I should have given my reason for that statement. In almost every letter posted here that I know of the students or parents readily and directly state they were actually in one of Herr Neuhaus’s classes. And in some cases they say they never were. In the letter I referred to “Anonymous” never said one way or another. That struck me as very unusual. And I said “Correct me if I am wrong.” I did not say your child is not good enough or smart enough to be in the class, nor did I ever imply or mean that. I could and should have written that better. But it was my impression that all the boasting of that “anonymous” writer just seems a little over the top without the specific notes that most parents would add.
    • You and I actually agree about some things. The lottery system for the magnet program is crazy! I know a lot of very hardworking kids who were eligible for the magnet program but their names were not drawn. They would have done well in it I believe. Why is it that some children in exceptional groups are guaranteed by law to have full support in an equitable education but in this case all exceptionally high performing kids are not? In some cases, many students are actually assessed and evaluated as having a group of exceptional traits and characteristics. I disagree with the term “gifted”because I think there are other better descriptors. But why aren’t we demanding that all of our children get the level of education they need and deserve?
    •. My older daughter was also in the magnet program also but wanted to transfer out and attend a different high school for her last four years. She did great and was able to do a lot of other activities and sports. She got a very, very good education some place else in a non-magnet program. I am thrilled with the college she got into. I am immenaely proud of her and the path she has chosen. In addition my own brother did not have the best grades. He would never have been eligible for the magnet program. But he had different talents and intelligence and genius that almost everyone missed. Because of his work ethic he did well. He eventually actually became a professor at a top univerisity in the US (after retiring from the Army). He founded an innovative program there. People who see his residence frona distsnce in an exclusive gated community offer mistake it for the country club building. So magnet is not the only route to success. Far from it.
    •. There is a lot more to this topic that you raise. There is a lot more that we can and should be doing. A simple example is that teachers are given the objectives they must teach to and also a pacing timeline. They are also now expected have have very engaging, creative teaching methods. For almost every class period they have to teach the same objectives at three or four differienciated levels. In some cases they are excepted to do entirely “flipped classrooms” or highly innovative ‘phenomenoal’ based learning. However they are not given the lessons or the content and eel-designed activities. Most books for most subjects are many years old and outdated. Because of that many teachers are not expected to “teach by the book”. So they have to spend time searching good materials to use in class. Sometimes the teachers end up buying out of pocket designed materials and activities from TPT or other sources. But they have not really been proven in the classroom setting where it is being used.
    + Why not offer to pay the teacherea with the best results in the state (and not just crazy standardized testing) for their materials and activities. In addition, give them bonuses when they are used and rated as excellent in the class rooms? That would just be one way where every teacher and child would have access to the best materials from the state? This is just one small step and not a comprehensive reform. Project based learning: behavior & discipline strategies; retaining and supporting good teachers,etc needs to be addressed.
    • I don’t blame you for being pissed off at the opportunities this education system offers or fails to offer our children. We should all be angry but also engaged with the people we elect to find solutions. And we need to appreciate the good experiences they do have and celebrate the successes

  35. Crosby Turner

    Bill Armstrong,
    Despite this and other controversies, I believe Chamblee is a good school overall. That is because teachers focused on teaching their students the important course material.

    Every teacher on the planet has made gaffes and poorly thought statements that they later reverted and wished they had not. With 25 years of teaching a full load of classes Herr Neuhaus would be no exception. Also after 25 years of service, there is no teacher that I know of who has not had complaints made to the principal. I have seen nor heard of any evidence that he has harmed anyone. That being said, everyone in a workplace should be careful to not say anything that coild predictably offend another person or group. And if they do so thoughtlessly, they would be good and wise to take responsibility and to sincerely and deeply apologize, although some lawyers advise against that. I think apologies are best done on personal basis in a neutral environment but in addition also to a group if an offensive statement was made in a group setting. I have done so myself before. I think most teachers would be willing to do that as well.

    If my insensitve statements or actions, reveal a pattern of prejudice, then good therapy would be in order. Some therapists recommend doing service with a beneficial organization related to that group.

    Everybody I know of in this country has been exposed to prejudicial statements, claims and bias. As a culture, you see that we continually are brought to sort out harmful prejudices.

    Bill, if someone told me that you are racist and antisemetic I would ask them what specifically is their evidence? If they cannot give me specific instances with specific words or phrases and the setting, I would conclude that their claims about you are baseless and without merit.

    Two unrelated individuals made such statements. I never received any evidence. However one of them was a former student and I do sincerely believe she had some bad some real basis for her complaints. That they sounded valid though I did not have the specific information. Alhough she ultimately was not in favor of removing Herr Neuhaus from the classroom, I believe that she had feedback and wanted him to change in some ways. (Note: there was never inappropriate contact or relationship or anything of that sort. It was about statements made . I will email her again today.
    …Lastly, the Facebook web site Chamblee High Positive Learning Culture was started with the explicit purpose of changing the administration at CCHS after much research. Specifically it was started after the teacher/staff survey was made public. (Please note the DCSD has the survey results for over a week before they were made public and there were meetings on the data). However Facebook sites are not set up well to show a particular purpose. It is difficult to position clear information on it and to have a sequential discussion on fb. Many people were allowed to join and some were opposed to reassigning the current administration and they expressed that. Initially, I honestly thought they were on the wrong website for that. Being candid, I also believed they were misinformed based on the comments of the survey and other facts. However several other members favored having an open discussion with free speech. The original people posting different points of view were invited back. People are free to say whatever they want as long as they are not needlessly disparaging teachers or students by name. They are free to also communicate anything they wish to say to another member through fb personal message.

    Lastly I do agree that it is important for everyone to focus on what is best for CCHS during the next school year and beyond. It would be great if all this energy were used to rebuild the school culture and program in the long run for all groups.
    Best regards!