SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - More than 100 angry parents and students are expected to turn out at a San Francisco School Board meeting tonight to protest the transfer of a beloved teacher out of an elementary school.
The school community in Cole Valley is so unnerved by the San Francisco Unified School District's actions, that 150 students didn't attend class at Grattan Elementary School today.
Abbe Clemons is one of dozens of parents who allowed her children to skip school today to show support for computer science teacher Philip Marcoccio. She said SFUSD is transferring him to another school on just a day's notice.
"Mr. Marcoccio, who's devoted his life to the school, was just treated poorly and the school district should be accountable for that," said Clemons. "Mr. Marcoccio has been at the school for 17 years and he is the heart and soul of Grattan."
"He's more than a teacher... he's the one who opened every car door to every kid that comes into school that gets dropped off," said Jim Angelus, another parent who let his kids participate in the "sit-out."
The impetus for the transfer can be traced back to an incident between Mr. Marcoccio and a student in October.
According to witnesses, a girl who was late to school one morning found her classroom empty so Mr. Marcoccio took the student with him to a cafe a block away. Reportedly the line was too long and pair turned back toward the school, the trip lasting roughly ten minutes..
According to school district policy, however, a teacher is not allowed to go off campus with a child.
"We realize on paper that it was not that when you look at it, it doesn't look great," said Angelus, but he and other parents say because of the school's proximity to cafes and the local hardware store, teachers have been taking students on quick trips there for decades.
"It's just been a very common occurrence and I believe that Mr. Marcoccio wasn't even aware that there was a policy against that," said Clemons. In fact, I think that he believed that it was encouraged."
Parents say the student involved in the October incident has since transferred to another school.
We reached out to school district officials regarding this story but they told KTVU they don't comment on personnel matters.
Parents told us that the district put Mr. Marcoccio on leave from the end of November to January 3rd. When the investigation was complete, he came back to Grattan but last Thursday he received a notice to transfer.
Students and parents rallied, marching in SFUSD offices Friday to demand that Marcoccio stay at Grattan.
They say school is not as fun without him around.
"Every day is like a different day, like ‘pancake day’ or ‘waffle day’ or something, and that makes you want to go to school more," said Tilly Clemons, Grattan student.
"I miss him a lot because he was really really nice to me and my class," said Lily Sidwell, a Grattan student.
"What I would like is for the school district to look at this deeper than what is on a piece of paper: look at the community, look at the school, look at the parents, look at the neighborhood," said Angelus.
Tuesday's SFUSD meeting runs from 6-10 p.m.