Outspoken Phila. teacher returns to class

March 21, 2011 8:33:50 AM PDT
An outspoken teacher, who seemed on her way out after criticizing the Philadelphia School District, returned to the classroom on Monday.

Action News was there as 25-year-old Hope Moffett returned to Audenried High School on Monday morning.

Moffett has been an outspoken opponent of plans to convert Audenried High School into a charter school.

Moffett was removed from the classroom and the district took moves to fire her because, last month, she gave her students SEPTA transit tokens to attend a protest rally at district headquarters without parental consent. The district said that act endangered her students.

Her return is a surprise, considering all signs indicated Moffett would be fired. However, on Friday, the school district agreed to settle a federal lawsuit. That opened the door for Moffett to return to Audenried.

Also on Friday, Moffett agreed to a statement admitting she did not notify the principal that students planned to leave school without parental permission.

Action News met up with Moffett at a donut shop near the school before she returned to class on Monday morning.

"I am really glad that I got returned to the class. I was worried [the students] would learn the lesson that if you speak up about an issue you lose your job."

In response, school district spokeswoman Shana Kemp said "The district feels vindicated as well. For weeks, it was said we violated her free speech rights and we didn't. This was always about the safety of those students."

Moffett will be suspended for five days over spring break.

Last week the teachers union filed a first amendment lawsuit on Moffett's behalf in federal court. The union argued this was about muzzling teachers who don't agree with the administration.