Yvette Felarca is the militant Berkeley Unified School District teacher whose mugshot has been appearing in the news a lot lately for her violent behavior at Antifa-led riots.

But this is only the latest incident for her. She has been a toxic presence at her workplace for years, court records show, and yet she remains employed at taxpayer expense. Petitions calling for Felarca's dismissal have been circulating for some time, and most people don't even know half the story.

Felarca has been recruiting and brainwashing middle schoolers to join the militant left-wing group By Any Means Necessary. She is accused of putting them in harm's way at violent protests, without their parents' permission and usually in direct defiance of the school principal. She has been caught lying about these activities, and she even had the audacity to bring a lawsuit against the school district when it put her on paid leave to investigate her alleged misconduct.

Court documents show Felarca has been getting in trouble at work since at least 2009. She has recruited students to participate in protests facilitated by By Any Means Necessary, transported them to protests without permission in her personal vehicle, and abused sick and personal leave by lying about her absences so she could attend riots. At one point, Felarca took a student to a protest and left him behind, claiming later he had "wandered off."

According to court records, Felarca has a history of insubordinate, antagonistic behavior, numerous warnings, official reprimands, "Notices of Unprofessional Conduct/Unsatisfactory Performance," her recent arrests, and a rap sheet showing her to be a workplace menace. Even the liberal Berkeley school district worried she would "indoctrinate students and use them to support [her] own political agenda." The school district just announced it was "monitoring developments in [Felarca's] case" and would "respond in an appropriate manner, in keeping with federal law, the California Education Code, and the BUSD collective bargaining agreement with our teachers."

But this mention of the "BUSD collective bargaining agreement" — there's the rub. Felarca is a member of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, which explains why it wasn't until 2016 that she had been at least slapped on the wrist for her reprehensible behavior.

After she was placed on paid administrative leave in September 2016, Felarca had the nerve to sue the district, claiming the involuntary leave was a violation of her First Amendment rights. (Her attorney, Shanta Driver, is also By Any Means Necessary's national chairperson.) The district said her most recent arrest had nothing to do with the district's decision, but was a result of her insubordination and "safety and liability concerns" surrounding her refusal to stop taking kids on unapproved field trips in her personal car.

It gets even more unbelievable. The introduction to the lawsuit Felarca filed against the school district stated Felarca "has received only positive evaluations over her ten years of teaching" and said the defendants were conducting "a political witch-hunt against [Felarca]."

Felarca herself provided as evidence notices she received from her employer, one of which shows the district interviewed Felarca's students. They said their teacher constantly solicited them to join her at protests. She took advantage of non-native English speakers, the records show, persuading them to agree to send their kids to her protests when they didn't understand the trip was not school-approved. She even showed up at a student's house once to "manipulate [the student's father] into signing a document that related to whether the school district had the right to interview his son without his permission."

The notices also detail how Felarca lied over and over about sick and personal leave, only for the district to find out she took time off to attend political rallies. Her lawyer demanded she be repaid for time docked and court documents show she made more than $77,000 annually.

The shamelessness of Felarca, the Berkeley Teachers Federation, and By Any Means Necessary is as terrifying as it is astounding. But it goes a long way to demonstrate how far backwards some school districts will bend in the service of protecting radicals before they finally feel forced to impose discipline. Felarca and her comrades will stop at nothing — as the By Any Means Necessary name plainly states — to get their way.

Berkeley Unified School District has put up with Felarca long enough, mollycoddling her to the point of harming children. If this incident isn't evidence of the radical Left's takeover of U.S. public schools and the need for parents to demand school choice so that they can escape these kinds of toxic environments, I don't know what is.

Teresa Mull (tmull@heartland.org) is a research fellow in education policy at The Heartland Institute.

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