Aragon instructor ousted for alleged misconduct

Despite impassioned protests by students and parents, a longtime teacher at Aragon High School was fired Thursday night amid rumors of alleged misconduct.

The San Mateo Union High School District board of trustees met in a closed session for what they described as a “personnel matter,” an hour after approximately 50 students and a dozen parents — many wearing T-shirts and carrying signs reading “Free Faustine” — gathered to rally for veteran teacher Bill Faustine.

Faustine, 58, who taught psychology, engineering and physics at Aragon High and has taught at various Peninsula schools for 34 years, was placed on administrative leave about a month ago for alleged misconduct.

District officials have remained mum on the specifics of the case, but Faustine said the complaints stemmed from comments he made in an Advanced Placement psychology class on the psychology of sex.

He said the district has mishandled the situation, due in part to one administrator’s “personal vendetta against me.”

District Superintendent David Miller would not comment on the specifics of the case, but called Faustine’s comment “nonsense.”

Since Faustine’s removal, students and parents said rumors have been rampant in the school about why the teacher — who many students say is among the best they’ve had — was removed. When they heard he might be permanently removed, they decided to take matters into their own hands, organizing a rally with the help of a Facebook petition, said 16-year-old Masha Arbisman, an AragonHigh student.

Lourdes Zolezzi, whose 17-year-old daughter Jackie is an Aragon High senior, said Faustine’s absence has hurt the students academically.

“We want the teacher back,” she said. “[His absence] has done damage to my daughter, to all students. Everyone is getting held back because of this.”

During the closed-door session Thursday night, students marched outside, garnering honks and waves from passing cars. When the board announced its verdict an hour later, some students began to cry and hold one another.

Among those who were angry and confused was Arnaud Dazin, 18, a former student.

“They shouldn’t have been holding a hearing about whether he should be fired — they should be holding a hearing on whether he should be California’s teacher of the year,” he said.

Faustine, reached after the board’s decision, said that he would not go down without a fight. He said his attorney will be appealing the decision.

Examiner Staff Writer Mike Aldax contributed to this story.

kworth@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read