Fired Aragon High teacher appeals termination

Aragon High School teacher David Faustine, who was fired last month for alleged misconduct amid student protests in his support, has appealed his dismissal.

Faustine, 58, who taught psychology, engineering and physics at Aragon High and has taught at Peninsula schools for 34 years, was placed on administrative leave in February for alleged misconduct. Faustine has said complaints stemmed from comments he made in an advanced placement psychology class about the psychology of sex.

On March 20, the San Mateo Union High School District board of trustees voted 5-0 to remove Faustine from his post, despite the impassioned pleas and rallies in his support by students and parents.

Faustine’s attorney, David Weintraub, said he immediately filed a request for a hearing after the decision was made. Faustine has a right to a hearing within about 60 days of the board’s action.

“We’ll be looking for a quick hearing of course, because they’ve stopped paying him,” Weintraub said.

The case will be heard by a three-member panel, including one teacher chosen by the district, one chosen by Faustine and an administrative law judge. Weintraub said the hearing is public unless the panel chooses to close it.

The burden of proof will be on the district, which must prove that Faustine is not fit to teach — an allegation Weintraub said will be difficult to establish.

“From all the hundreds of letters I’ve received, he’s clearly one of the best teachers in San Mateo if not throughout California,” he said.

Those supporters have continued to voice their opinion, said Masha Arbisman, a 16-year-old Aragon High student.

“More than half the school has little buttons all over their backpacks,” she said. “Some say Bring Back Bill, or Faustine, or Free Faustine.”

Since being fired, Faustine said he’s kept himself busy by working as a general contractor, which he said he did in college.

“A number of my friends are willing to send thank you notes to [the district], because they’re getting their houses remodeled out of this,” he joked.

District officials have refused to comment on details about Faustine’s case.

kworth@examiner.com

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