An English teacher from Desert Vista High School, Dr. Cicely Cobb, and civil rights advocate, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, hosted a press conference outside of the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Court Building in downtown Phoenix on Thursday morning to highlight alleged physical, verbal and emotional abuse she has experienced at the school.
Maupin did the majority of the talking during the brief conference saying, “she has been mistreated because of the color of her skin.”
“(Cobb) has filed a lawsuit because of the abuse she has faced at the hands of students and the abuse she has faced at the hands of administrators,” Maupin said.
The physical abuse that was allegedly inflicted onto Cobb came about in January when a student tapped her on the head with a bathroom pass, which was a lamented piece a paper.
A student recorded the incident on his phone.
Cobb said, during the press conference, that the bathroom pass was a lamented paper with sharp edges.
Cobb has been working for Desert Vista since July 2012 as a probationary teacher, teaching English.
According to the compliant filed by Cobb, in August 2012, principal Dr. Anna Battle met with a parent concerned about the workload issued by Cobb.
During the same month, Cobb alleges that she was threatened over Facebook by a student’s older brother if his sister did not receive an “A” she deserved, in which Cobb proceeded to file a police report and asked Battle to have the student removed from her classroom.
Maupin said that there was a lack of response from the Tempe Union High School District when informed about the allegations by Cobb.
“Ahwatukee, I would like to believe is the last place that something like that would happen, but indeed it has become the first place,” he said. According to the complaint, in September 2013, Cobb allegedly had an incident concerning race where one student made fun of another student about the color of his skin.
“President Obama was just at this school. I think if he or the public had known what was happening to Dr. Cobb, before and after the visit, many people would not have set foot on that campus,” Maupin said. “It’s a sad day for these kids’ parents.”
The Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the Maricopa County NAACP, said that he was deeply disappointed about the allegations placed upon Desert Vista and Battle.
“I have worked with Dr. Cobb for years and looked into the allegations she made, I’ve talked to the leadership at Desert Vista, and I’ve talked to Dr. Battle and personally, I don’t see it,” he said. “This is not just me talking from her case; it’s me talking from being around kids that went through Desert Vista. I’m very disappointed to see someone who was even honored by the President of the United States and to see what she has done at Desert Vista over the years to be accused and bring the whole school into it.”
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