According to the latest report, the Los Angeles district administration has abandoned its investigation of a 40-year-old complaint against super star teacher Rafe Esquit alleging shoving or sexual abuse and is now poring through the financial records of his independent group, the Hobart Shakespeareans. Esquith has not been informed about the charges against him.
The LA School Report says:
Now, the investigation is turning toward Esquith’s nonprofit group which is independent from LAUSD and is run by an independent board of directors. Esquith gets no salary from the Shakespeareans, and in fact donates thousands of dollars of his own money to the group, which was started because of cuts in the arts by LAUSD.
The group teaches students how to perform Shakespeare plays, and has been profiled by CBS, Time, Washington Post, PBS and other national media outlets.
The recent request for documentation came from Scheper Kim & Harris, a law firm outside of LAUSD.
“These investigations become self-fulfilling prophecies,” Meiselas said. “This is a program that has changed people’s lives.”
Actors such as Ian McKellen, Hal Holbrook, John Lithgow and Michael York have visited and praised the Hobart Shakespeareans, and donated money to the group. On its website, 17 groups and individuals have pledged $10,000 or more to them, including William McClatchy, the Roth Family Foundation, Peter and Helen Bing and The Vanguard Group. At least 19 others have donated $5,000.
None of the students or parents involved with the Hobart Shakespeareans has complained about Esquith, who was awarded Disney National Outstanding Teacher of the Year, among other awards. Because of his “teacher jail” status, the dozen sold-out performances planned this year were canceled, as well as a July trip to Oregon for a Shakespeare Theatrical Festival.
This is a bizarre situation. The sooner LAUSD winds it up, the better for all concerned.