Court documents show that the California public school teacher arrested last week at the University of California, Berkeley, on suspicion of battery and resisting arrest has since 2009 racked up a list of fire-worthy offenses, including recruiting students to participate in protests facilitated by the militant left-wing group, By Any Means Necessary, and transporting students to protests without permission in her personal vehicle.
Yvette Felarca (cited in some court documents as “Yvonne”), a Berkeley Unified School District middle school teacher, was arrested Sept. 26 during a Free Speech Week protest on campus that turned violent.
Felarca is already under indictment for “assault by means of force likely to inflict great bodily injury, participating in a riot, and inciting a riot” when she was caught on video punching a man in the stomach and screaming, “Get the f*** off our streets!” during a June 2016 white supremacist protest in Sacramento. Felarca later stated her actions were “not a crime.”
Felarca is an outspoken leader of BAMN, an arm of the violent, self-proclaimed “anti-fascist” group Antifa. Felarca was placed on paid administrative leave in September 2016 while BUSD investigated “concerns [Felarca] may have engaged in inappropriate conduct,” a case document shows. The letter informing Felarca of her administrative leave says the leave “[was] not intended to be disciplinary.”
In October 2016, Felarca filed a lawsuit against BUSD (Yvette Felarca v. Berkeley Unified School District et al.) alleging the district violated her First Amendment rights by placing her on involuntary leave for her participation in a political protest. The case claimed in its introduction that Felarca “has received only positive evaluations over her ten years of teaching with BUSD” and said the defendants were conducting “a political witch-hunt against [Felarca].”
Felarca, a member of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, returned to the classroom in November, at which time she was presented with a “Notice of Unprofessional Conduct.” Felarca submitted as evidence the November letter and a “Notice of Unprofessional Conduct/Unsatisfactory Performance” from June 2016 as exhibits I and A, respectively, revealed during the case proceedings.
“Exhibit A” states Felarca “repeatedly solicited students to participate in protests against the proposed charter school in the District” and was issued a formal reprimand for her “improper involvement of children in this matter.” In 2011, the notice says, Felarca promised parents and students a trip to a rally at UC-Berkeley before obtaining permission from the principal to take them. The principal ultimately denied Felarca permission, because “it was an opportunity for [Felarca] to indoctrinate students and use them to support [her] own political agenda.” Felarca acted “unprofessionally toward [the principal] when she denied [her] permission.”
Felarca was issued another formal letter of reprimand in June 2012 for an unauthorized after-school trip where she left a student behind and later claimed he “wandered off,” according to the notice, which goes on to document numerous instances of “abuse of leave” over the years, during which time Felarca lied about sick and personal leave to attend political rallies.
The November notice states that in 2013, Felarca was issued a formal NUC/NUP documenting “multiple situations where [Felarca] failed to follow District and school procedures for reporting absences, and claimed sick and personal leave to attend political protests.” Felarca was also cited for “insubordinate and antagonistic behavior” at a meeting scheduled to discuss her “attendance issues, dishonesty, insubordination, and abuse of District technology and social media to undermine the administration.” Felarca, the notice says, was issued “nine directives to comply with” and was warned that “failure to comply with those directives … could be grounds for dismissal.”
The November notice says the district interviewed eight of Felarca’s students who reported Felarca used class time to talk about protests she was planning to attend, asked students to raise their hands if they wanted to go with her, took down their names, and told them she’d be contacting their parents for permission.
“Several students reported that they had gone to protests with [Felarca],” the notice says, “and that [she] had driven them in [her] car on the weekends.
“The results of the initial student interview indicated that you were continuing to invite students, and take students, on unauthorized field trips to protests, in blatant violation of the directives given to you in the first NUC/NUP and the Second NUC/NUP,” the letter says. “As a result of safety and liability concerns, and because there was an upcoming protest apparently scheduled for that weekend, the District decided to place you on paid administrative leave.”
According to the November notice, Felarca violated the terms of her leave by contacting parents and students and trying to convince the public she was “suspended” for her role in the Sacramento riot, though the District maintains the reason for Felarca’s leave was unrelated to the riot and was due to “insubordination, safety and liability for unauthorized field trips.”
The document states Felarca had her lawyer, Shanta Driver, who is also BAMN’s national chair, contact parents and students, which was “not only clearly in violation of the directives set forth in the administrative leave letter, but was also in violation of state and federal laws, as well as District policy regarding student privacy.”
The notice alleges Felarca at one point went to a student’s home to speak to his father and try to “manipulate him into signing a document that related to whether the school district had the right to interview his son without his permission.”
The notice says that in 2015, the district found out Felarca took students to a hearing at which her own attorney, Driver, was defending a Guatemalan asylum seeker, even though the principal denied Felarca’s request to take the students. The notice reports several other incidents in which Felarca transported students to and from protests in her personal vehicle and obtained permission from parents who don’t understand English well and “did not fully understand that this was not a school approved trip,” where Felarca was taking their children, that it was a political event, or that there would be police and hazards present.
During the court proceedings, Felarca also presented copies of letters she allegedly received from supporters. One says it’s from “a Mexican 13 year old boy, who once lived and studied at Berkeley,” who writes, “[Felarca] wants justice, she wants to make better citizens. Isn’t that what teachers are meant to be? I want to say that Donald J. Trump has a chance to win the presidency of the U.S. Trump is a racist man, a fascist, and in my point of view ‘the stupidest man alive.’ Lots of people in America support him, and will vote for him. Is that a good thing about U.S education? No! That actually talks bad about U.S’s education. That means that some teachers, the people who are in charge of kids, the future, also support ‘the stupidest man alive.’ We need more fighters like Ms. Felarca. Like once Yvette Felarca said, and I quote: ‘We need to take them head on, confront them, but with as many people as possible.’”
Following Felarca’s arrest last week, TheBlaze reported, “The Berkeley Unified School District told Berkeleyside regarding Felarca that it’s ‘monitoring developments in this case. Should an occasion arise for the District to take action, we will respond in an appropriate manner, in keeping with federal law, the California Education Code and the BUSD collective bargaining agreement with our teachers.’”
BAMN’s website called for people to “fill the courtroom” during Felarca’s court appearance Wednesday on her assault and riot charges, providing carpool information for protesters. The website also called on people to contact the Sacramento district attorney and “demand” she drop the charges against Felarca. No one entered a plea during the hearing Wednesday for a settlement conference, which will be continued on Nov. 8.
Felarca has also filed a restraining order against the president of the University of California, Berkeley, College Republicans, Troy Worden, who is challenging the order. Worden’s lawyer said, “We got video evidence showing that the things that she said happened did not happen.”