Moriah’s version of the meeting on February 12, 2009 in Principal P’s office. Clyde Baker and Thor Hyerdahl were present.
PRINCIPAL P. On February 9 we met with Mr. Hyerdahl. You did not sign a privacy agreement
MORIAH I didn’t want to sign a privacy agreement when we met with Mr. Hyerdahl, but you are going to give me copies anyway?
PRINCIPAL I whited out the names. Do you want me to read them to you?
MORIAH No, that won’t be necessary. Let me just look and see if I myself can read them.
PRINCIPAL Now I’m going to give you Mrs. Benders' statement. I want you to read what she said.
MORIAH (reading student statements) Ok just a minute.
PRINCIPAL: I’ll read what the parent said. (Reads statement) I am Sorea Benders again. My daughter is constantly telling me that Ms. Moriah does not give her credit for homework if her homework does not have a date. Also Ms. Moriah is constantly screaming at my child to the point where one of the deans had to step in to defend my daughter. According to the other students, Ms. Moriah is constantly yelling at them. She always says that students are animals. Her remarks are uncalled for.
CLYDE BAKER: That’s all hearsay.
PRINCIPAL That’s not hearsay “she’s constantly screaming at my child”.
BAKER: That’s what the child is telling her
PRINCIPAL Yes, that’s what the child is telling her. And the parent came in to make a complaint. So I have to follow up. There are procedures and protocols for all investigations that I must follow. No matter what. That’s Chancellors Regulations not school regulations telling me what I am supposed to do.
MORIAH Does that include taking me out of the classroom for a week?
MORIAH I just want to right that down…that includes taking the teacher out of the classroom for a week.
BAKER I think we’re talking about an undetermined amount of time.
MORIAH Oh, sorry, …for an undetermined amount of time.
PRINCIPAL Ok so I just want to reiterate what you said the last time we met. You said…
BAKER Are you reiterating what happened when Thor was here? Ok it would be better if Thor were present at this meeting, then.
PRINCIPAL OK you can look up his schedule and call him down.
(Clyde Baker and I go sit outside the principal's office while Thor Hyerdahl comes down. I read the students’ statements while we wait)
HYERDAHL I didn’t see the parent’s statement. (Reads it) And that was dated 1/20. So she came in with the statement?
PRINCIPAL No she came in and I asked her to write the statement. She speaks Spanish.
HYERDAHL So this is through a translator?
HYERDAHL So somebody took notes as she spoke in Spanish and then translated it into English. It was typed up and then she signed it.
PRINCIPAL That’s right
HYERDAHL So she came in with a verbal statement. Who was the translator?
PRINCIPAL Probably the parent coordinator who speaks Spanish.
BAKER Who actually typed up the statement?
HYERDAHL I’m not sure.
PRINCIPAL Did you read all the statements, Ms. Moriah?
MORIAH Yes I did.
PRINCIPAL Ok I just want to go back. She claimed that you called the children animals and that you were constantly yelling. You said that was completely false, right, that you never yelled at he children and that you weren’t aware of any children making any animal noises, “I don’t recall anybody making monkey noises” and “I did not hear this” and “I did not hear them making monkey noises” and “I never called the children animals or even said they were behaving like animals.” “This is completely false”
MORIAH That’s correct, however, the quote “I never yelled at them I don’t remember.” (reading from parent’s letter) “According to the other students, she is constantly screaming and yelling.” We did not talk about the screaming.
HYERDAHL: Do we have a record of a dean stepping into the class?
PRINCIPAL I have no record. But I do have student statements saying that Ms Moriah yelled at them and screamed at them and then they said that she said they behaved like animals.
MORIAH Last time we talked about how the children were saying that I was constantly calling them animals and my concern was that that sounds like they are going a little bit overboard because the word constantly means that I am calling them animals every day, every period that I see them. Like hello, monkeys, or hello animals, sit down, animals.
PRINCIPAL They say you say they are BEHAVING like animals.
MORIAH So I constantly say sit down you’re behaving like animals or get to work you’re behaving like animals so this is like a constant daily thing over and over and over.
PRINCIPAL So that is what the mother is saying.
MORIAH So constantly means all the time, never stopping, yelling, screaming constantly. She was saying every period, every day, I was constantly calling the children animals, but we did not cover screaming. OK, so let’s cover screaming.
BAKER How were these statements taken? Were they taken one at a time?
HYERDAHL One at a time, yes.
BAKER: Were they pulled out of the classroom?
PP Pulled out of the classroom, that’s right.
BAKER: At different times?
PP That’s right, at different times.
BAKER Who was the interviewer?
PP The interview was myself and Ms. Xavier and at one point Mr. Zippo.
BAKER So they were pulled out at different dates and different times. Are you able to furnish those dates and times.
PP We don’t have the times, but the dates are on the students statements..
MORIAH Ok, are we going to cover screaming? Yes? Ok. I’ve heard the word screaming a lot so first let me say… screaming stresses the voice….
PRINCIPAL Are you constantly yelling and screaming at the children?
MORIAH …As I was saying, screaming stresses the voice. Someone who is constantly screaming will be able to constantly scream for about one day before developing laryngitis…
PRINCIPAL …Ms. Moriah, are you constantly yelling and screaming at the children?
MORIAH: Principal P., I am not on the witness stand, and I have not been directed by a judge to answer yes or no, under oath. Therefore, I would like to finish my line of thought.
PRINCIPAL Did you scream and yell, yes or no?
MORIAH: I am answering and I am not going to answer as a yes or no statement.
PRINCIPAL Did you do it?
MORIAH Someone who is constantly screaming, Principal P, develops laryngitis within hours or days. I haven’t had laryngitis in a very, very, long time. Not since Christmas of last year. Not this last Christmas, the Christmas before.
BAKER: That’s Christmas of 2007.
MORIAH; Christmas of 2007, that’s right.
PRINCIPAL (writing) …since Christmas 07?
MORIAH That’s right. Now laryngitis isn’t always a result of screaming, but screaming will affect the vocal cords and basically, stops you from being able to talk.
PRINCIPAL So you are saying, that you have not developed laryngitis since 2007?
MORIAH Yes, that’s right.
PRINCIPAL: Therefore, what?
MORIAH: Therefore, I have not been constantly screaming. I’m not finished. Teachers and public speakers, including Mr. Baker, and Mr. Hyerdahl, develop resonant voices, which can carry over normal student noise...
BAKER: I call it the cafeteria voice
MORIAH: ... and to the back of a room or the back of an auditorium without necessity of a microphone. I use this voice when necessary as do all teachers in order for students to be able to hear. It is a public speaking voice, proceeding from the diaphragm. What the students have heard, what anybody has heard, is a very resonant public speaking voice. I never scream. It hurts my voice. It hurts my throat, and above all the voice box. Screaming is only for emergencies and that is only if somebody were mugging me or trying to kill me, for example. Or to say fire.
BAKER Screaming is used for emergency purposes only.
MORIAH: fire, help, police, security.
BAKER; Emergency purposes.
PRINCIPAL Why do you think that the children or the parents would say this?
MORIAH: I have my theories, but I do not have enough evidence to confirm them at this point, without a reasonable doubt. In order to do that, I would need one of my advocates to talk individually with the children—someone representing me.
PRINCIPAL ENDS MEETING.