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Fired Bethlehem teacher scolds board

Two of the reasons that came up, which Waltz specifically rebutted, included the use of the term "fat" in a Spanish class and the use of a paper doll as part of Chinese for vocabulary development.

The board of education made the unanimous decision after Waltz spoke at the public comment period.

"Well, I know my kids learned Chinese pretty well last year. The administration has heard from a number of parents and students, although I doubt the board has seen any of these communications," Waltz said before rhetorically asking, "But what else are they learning? They are learning that it's OK to use exaggerated labels that incite and defame, as long as it suits your purpose. Would any of you honestly characterize this as 'inappropriate material?'" she asked while holding up a paper doll of President Barack Obama. "Better have a word with Dover Publications, then."

She continued to speak at length about what students are learning in terms of the grievances she has with the board over the matter.

"They are learning that it's OK to vote without informing oneself of the particulars of the issue. Only one of you who received the rebuttal document by e-mail bothered to ask why it would not open."

Board of Education President James Dering said the board could not publicly respond to her charges after she sat down.

"Unfortunately this is a personnel matter so we cannot comment on it," he told her.

Waltz is a State Department Chinese interpreter and translator. After teaching in Taiwan for several years with an international background in lecturing and education, Waltz was originally hired to head up the district's new Chinese program started last year.

Tebbano said the district is still committed to continuing and growing the successful program.

The board of education also voted unanimously to hire Lu Jiang as a "0.6 Chinese Teacher" at the middle and high school for $25,052 a year. She is certified to teach Mandarin in grades seven through 12 and the reason of her hiring listed on the board of education's agenda states "termination of Terry Waltz."

Jiang is slated to begin on Monday, Sept. 14, and will be under contract until June 30.

Waltz said the district is losing an experienced educator in its language program and ended her statement to the board by speaking in Chinese before translating, "Better to ask the way than go astray."

Waltz then told the school board members, "If Dr. Tebbano recommended that I jump off a bridge, I would look down to see if there is water first."

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