Delgado Loses Civil Court Case

Annalise Deal

Manuel E. Delgado Jr. versus the Sequoia Union High School District case was held at the San Mateo County Superior court over the course of the last month, finishing on December 4th. The verdict was in favor of the District.

After 28 days of examination, the civil court case Manuel E. Delgado v. Sequoia Union High School District has come to a close, with the jury deciding in favor of the Sequoia Union High School District.

M-A teacher Manuel Delgado initially filed a complaint against the District in 2010, detailing medical conditions that compromised his ability to teach certain classes and requesting accommodations for his diabetes and anxiety.

The two parties supposedly reached a settlement in October of 2011, but Delgado ultimately refused to sign and a trial was set to begin Oct. 15, 2012.

Delgado was hired in 1997 to teach computer classes. Like many other teachers, he acquired additional credentials after several years of teaching. After notifying the school of his new math credential, which gives the district the ability to assign him math classes up to the level of Pre-Calculus, he was assigned to teach these courses.

According to Delgado’s complaint, he was “in no way attaining a math credential to become a full-time math teacher.” However, he is currently teaching five sections of Algebra I and no computer classes.

Court evidence cited that because of his medical conditions, Delgado’s physician “thought it would be beneficial to minimize his number of math teaching assignments predominantly involving students who test below basic or far below basic.” Yet the following school year, he was assigned double the amount of classes of that nature than the previous year.

However, Delgado went on to state that “[his complaint] is not an issue of disability but of credentialing.”

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources David Reilly clarified under examination that “there are no credentials that specify what type of students he can teach.”

While Delgado had argued that he should be teaching computer classes because he had originally been hired to do so in 1997, Reilly qualified that Delgado “does not have tenure to teach computers exclusively.” Additionally, he explained that current students have been “raised in the digital age,” and many computer classes are no longer necessary, unless they are specialized courses such as Web Design or Video Production, none of which Delgado is credentialed to teach.

While Delgado did receive tenure following his 1997 hiring, his ability to continue to display a high level of teaching ability has since been questioned.

Because of the nature of the classes he was assigned, Delgado accused Principal Matthew Zito of retaliating, and according to court evidence, at one point felt his job was unfairly in jeopardy. Additionally, the administration denied Delgado the option of a self-evaluation, usually given to tenured teachers, for the annual assessment of teacher performance.

After being denied self-evaluation in 2009, Delgado later received an unsatisfactory administrative evaluation. He was then placed in the PAR program, a staff peer-advisor program designed to improve the teaching style and ability of teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations. Retired Deputy Superintendent Dr. Francisca Miranda, who testified in the case, stated that the district spent an estimated 10,000 dollars to put him through the PAR process.

Reilly also observed a pattern of Delgado “complaining to the district, the district accommodating to his needs, and then Delgado furthering his requests.” For example, Delgado submitted a doctor’s note stating that he needed to be in a classroom with close proximity to a staff restroom for medical reasons. The administration granted this request, placing him in a C-wing classroom across from a staff restroom. Delgado then asked for a single-occupancy restroom, something his physician’s note never specified. It seemed to Reilly that Delgado was vying specifically for room F-14, the school-wide computer lab.

Reilly and the administration continually offered to reconsider his request if they had an official physician’s note or the permission to speak directly to his doctor. Delgado refused, explaining that he felt he had “badgered [his doctors]” in the past.

Delgado’s non-compliance with Reilly’s request to be in direct contact with his doctors created confusion, as it became clear that “there was a discrepency in how we were interpreting the physician’s note,” said Reilly.

The extensive trial has caused Delgado to be absent for over a month, causing frustration in his Algebra I classes. The jury ultimately decided in favor of the Sequoia Union High School District on Tuesday, Dec. 4, and Delgado was not awarded any damages or other compensation.

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Comments

16 Responses to “Delgado Loses Civil Court Case”

  1. Virsies on December 4th, 2012 11:08 pm

    FINALLY! I think Delgado definitely took it too far and asked for too much. I’m glad this is finally settled because it was extremely unfair that his students suffered in the classroom because he was never satisfied with his accommodations. Now the issue is to get his classes up to speed and on the right track to finish all the material on time.

  2. sparish on December 5th, 2012 5:45 pm

    It’s finally over..wow. That lasted much longer than it needed to. It really sounds like Delgado was being a little snake and trying to get exactly what he wanted by whatever means possible.

  3. egrose on December 5th, 2012 6:43 pm

    It’s great that this is all over. It seems that the district was more than accommodating to Delgado’s medical needs, therefore the lawsuit was not necessary in the first place. Though the lawsuit is over, the question still remains of how Delgado’s absence has affected his students. I hope that their education and learning was not compromised by this, and that they will continue to do well despite his absence.

    Sabiha Viswanathan Reply:

    I agree Emily. I think it is great that the case is finally over, but it comes the question of what will happen when he comes back to teach. It will be interesting to see if this lawsuit has really affected his student’s education and if he will be able to easily resume his teaching position at the school.

  4. rgordan on December 6th, 2012 3:54 pm

    Well, it’s good for the kids in his classes that the trial is finally over

  5. Nolan Martin on December 6th, 2012 7:20 pm

    I cannot help but notice that teachers are elated to have this case done with; even Zito seemed particularly peppy. Seeing a humbled Delgado back in his classroom was odd too; I would have loved to have sat in on one of his classes that day. It is clear that he does not like his job, and it is a shame that his way of solving his dissatisfaction was through a drawn out court case.

  6. cwoods on December 6th, 2012 7:34 pm

    From what Ive seen and heard, the district was really helpful and accommodating throughout, but Delgado was the one who was changing his demands and his general standpoint on the whole thing. It seems like he made a bigger deal of it than it needed to be.

  7. zpacalin on December 7th, 2012 3:40 pm

    this is a really informative article, however it still doesn’t make sense to me… I just don’t see how that kind of conflict can occur and still have the teacher at the school…?

  8. emcclelland on December 7th, 2012 4:01 pm

    I really hope that Delgado’s student were not heavily affected from all of this. His students don’t deserve to not receive proper teaching due to this case, especially since the court favored with the district.

  9. Will on December 7th, 2012 9:54 pm

    You know, even though Delgado didn’t win anything, I glad to see he’s back teaching his students so as to not interfere anymore with student’s learning capibilities

  10. Hannah Ellefritz on December 7th, 2012 10:40 pm

    It was very interesting to bring up the point of money in this case. It would be interesting to know that along with the $10,000 the district spent in the PAR process, how much money the district has spent during the entire trial process. Very well written article, glad this has finally reached a close!

    Hannah Ellefritz Reply:

    I also just talked to someone who thinks he might be even more insolent now that he lost the trial. Might be interesting to hear from some students on this page!

  11. Nicky H on December 10th, 2012 11:00 pm

    I agree with everything that has been said so far in the comments here and just wanted to add that I am very grateful the the M-A Bear News staff has followed this story so carefully. With this type of case, there are often rumors flying around and the investigative reporters on this story did a great job of reporting only facts they could confirm. That said, I would love to hear perspectives from teachers, administrators, even Delgado himself, on the outcome of the case.

  12. bwiener on December 11th, 2012 8:46 pm

    I bet Mr. Delgado is really kicking himself now. He basically lost out on $90,000. He should not have pressed his luck.

  13. alai on December 11th, 2012 9:03 pm

    I feel so bad for his students. It’s a shame that they had to suffer for this as well.

    shoover Reply:

    I agree. I think he should have considered the effect on his students and realized that the cons outweighed pros in this particular situation.