Parents at Cole Valley's Grattan Elementary School (165 Grattan St.) are organizing to demand the return of Philip Marcoccio, a 17-year employee of the school who was relocated to another school last week by the SFUSD.
The parents organized a sit-out today in which 120 students were held at home, as well as two physical protests at the offices of the SFUSD—one of which will be held tonight, during the 6pm board meeting. They've also created a petition for Marcoccio's reinstatement, with over 400 signatures.
Marcoccio primarily served at Grattan's computer teacher, but he's also a student club facilitator, student greeter, apiarist, and "generally the glue of the school," said parent Abbe Clemons, who's helping lead the effort for his reinstatement.
Marcoccio's removal from the school appears to have been related to a parent complaint made this fall, which resulted in Marcoccio being sanctioned and placed on involuntary leave in November.
The leave was enforced after an incident last fall, in which Marcoccio reportedly took a second grader off of school property. (We reached out to Marcoccio for comment via email, but did not hear back by press time. We also reached out to the SFUSD, which told us it does not comment on personnel matters.)
According to Clemons, the incident occurred because the second grader was dropped off by her parents at the curb, rather than being brought inside, and was unable to find her class, which wasn't where it normally was.
Marcoccio, who was on his way to get a cup of coffee at La Boulangerie de San Francisco, tried to help the child find her class. When they couldn't find the class, he invited the student to go with him to La Boulangerie, which is a block away from Grattan.
"There was nothing out of the ordinary," Clemons said. "I live across the street and often see teachers walking with kids in Cole Valley ... this is a practice that has been going on at Grattan for years, if not decades, and although I'm sure a district policy exists prohibiting this, it is something that has become a relatively normal practice."
The school conducted and resolved an initial investigation before Marcoccio was placed on involuntary leave in November. He was then given the green light to return to work on January 3rd.
But the SFUSD then mandated that this past Friday, January 20th, would be Marcoccio's last day at Grattan, where his wife, Margaret, also works as a third-grade teacher.
On Friday, Clemons and other parents held a protest at the SFUSD's offices at 555 Franklin St. They'll return to protest at the same building for tonight's SFUSD board meeting, which will run from 6-8pm.
In addition to the petition, which has 400+ signatures, tipster Arjuna B. told us that parents have written over 500 letters to the SFUSD about Marcoccio's case.
"The community is rallying on several fronts," Clemons said. "[Marcoccio] has dedicated his life to Grattan for the past 17 years and has proven himself to be a man of incredible dignity who deserves so much more than this. The kids also deserve more."
Thanks to Raquel G., Annette M., Arjuna B. and Allison W. for the tip.
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