Thursday, October 07, 2004

WORLD WIDE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Teacher To Return To Classroom Next Week (Update 3)

Photo: Home News Tribune
In a detailed telephone interview with Shiba Pillai-Diaz, your EdWonk has learned that she will be returning to the classroom. After a week in the full glare of national publicity, she told the EdWonk that she is looking forward to being out of the limelight.

After a meeting that, "Went well," with South Brunswick School District officials this morning, Ms. Pillai-Diaz said to the EdWonk that she has been tentatively scheduled to return to her teaching duties next Wednesday. However, she will not be returning to her assignment at Crossroads South Middle School. She will be teaching at another campus in the same district.

Ms. Pillai-Diaz told the EdWonk that Administrative officials have been "cooperative" in their efforts to find a mutually satisfactory resolution to the controversy that began with Pillai-Diaz being directed by an assistant principal to remove a photograph of President and Mrs. Bush. The teacher had posted the photographs (and several other historical documents) on a small bulletin board in her classroom.

According to Ms. Pillai-Diaz, after declining to remove the picture, she was then instructed to leave school grounds. Assuming that she was dismissed, the teacher complied. Later, the District stated (in a press release) that she had, while class was still in session, "chose, of her own volition, to walk out of the school." The district asserts that she had never been discharged from her position.

Pillai-Diaz said to the EdWonk that she continues to "stand by" her explanation of events as told to Bill O'Reilly and others.

She told the EdWonk that she wanted to restore her professional reputation and, "clear her name," as she was a "very private person" that "wants to go back to work."

The incident drew national attention after it was publicized by the New York Post. The Drudge Report, Good Morning America, and The O'Reilly Factor soon followed suit. At the same time, a number of Blogs began to discuss the story. Pillai-Diaz strongly emphasized to the EdWonk that she had never sought the media, but that the media had sought her.

The Education Wonks will continue to monitor the situation, and publish updates as conditions warrant.

Please see the DISTRICT'S response here: and scroll down to posting of October 8th.