Felarca described the district’s actions as retaliatory and said they caused her to suffer “panic attacks, repressed appetite, weight loss, dizziness, and increased emotional distress resulting from attacks by Defendants in this case.” According to her complaint, BUSD’s actions “send a clear and dangerous message to BUSD teachers, staff, students, and parents that they will be witch-hunted and driven out of BUSD if they choose to act against racism and injustice and exercise their rights on their own time.” Felarca has asked for a jury trial, a return of wages taken from her bank account, and compensatory and punitive damages “in an amount according to proof and which is fair, just, and reasonable.” The lawsuit is set to return to court in March.A district letter to Felarca, included in her complaint, sheds light on problems the district says it has dealt with in the past in relation to her work and activities.
Felarca has been involved in a public struggle with BUSD since September when the district placed her on paid leave following widespread reports and video showing her punching a man at a white nationalist rally in Sacramento in late June.
Felarca later went on Facebook, according to BUSD, and thanked the picketers for their support, adding: “I think the Administration is going to back down on the discipline, but they still plan to dock me another day’s pay for attending the Andy Lopez march. “This is blatant insubordination and will not be tolerated.…
Your Facebook posting and the petition also make clear that you are intentionally providing the readers with biased, slanted information.” The district said its issue with Felarca was her “lack of compliance” with BUSD rules and regulations: “The verbiage of your post and petition which is embarrassingly narcissistic makes it clear that you were trying to provide readers only with information that would support you, not the actual facts.” It continues, “it was evident that you and your [By Any Means Necessary] representatives were actively trying to brainwash and manipulate these young people to serve your own selfish interests in not being held accountable to the same rules that apply to everyone else.
The district cited six Education Code sections related to its notification letter, which was dated June 30, 2016: immoral conduct, evident unfitness for service, persistent violation of or refusal to obey school laws, dishonesty, unprofessional conduct and unsatisfactory performance.
In 2009, according to the letter, Felarca “repeatedly solicited students to participate in protests” against a proposed charter school BUSD was considering, despite having been formally reprimanded about involving students in her political activities, and pursuing those activities during the work day.