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El Cajon Principal Under Fire For Alleged Muslim Bullying Incident Takes New Job

Greenfield Middle School is shown, Aug. 9, 2018.

Photo by Megan Burks

Above: Greenfield Middle School is shown, Aug. 9, 2018.

Last week the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, called for the resignation of the principal at Greenfield Middle School in El Cajon. The group alleged Gregory Calvert allowed bullying to fester at the school, resulting in the assault of a Muslim student and her family off campus.

Thursday, Calvert told his staff he’s taken a position as assistant principal at Chase Elementary. Both schools are in the Cajon Valley Union School District.

Superintendent David Miyashiro and Calvert insisted the move is not related to the allegations.

“I was given a great opportunity to go over to Chase Elementary School and work under a great principal and learn from him,” Calvert said. “That’s where I started my career, in elementary, and to be able to go back to elementary level is just a really great learning opportunity for me, a growth opportunity. And I’m really excited about the improvement in my work-life balance. It’s going to be really refreshing to spend time with my family.”

Calvert has two young children and is finishing his doctorate.

Miyashiro called Calvert’s move a “very responsible choice” for his family, and said CAIR's statements about Greenfield and the district are “completely false.”

CAIR said Calvert acted with indifference when he learned eight to 10 of his students allegedly followed a classmate home from school and assaulted her and her family in March. The girl, a 14-year-old Syrian refugee, said the students had taunted her for more than a year, pulling at her hijab and asking her to prove she’s in the country legally.

CAIR called on more students to come forward, saying it believes bullying of Muslim students is widespread in the district.

Miyashiro disagrees. But teachers in the district’s middle schools have reported an increase in behavior problems between students, according to a district video announcing the launch of a program to help.

“The behavior issues we’re facing are not unique to our district. This is a national problem,” said Erika Smith, a board certified behavior analyst for the district, in the video.

The program rolling out this year includes weekly homeroom sessions to help middle schoolers learn to manage their emotions and get to know their peers.

It’s unclear whether a particular school or incidents prompted the district to invest in the program.

Earlier this year, Greenfield teachers went to the school board to complain about the climate on campus. Neither the superintendent nor Calvert commented on those complaints.

CAIR could not be reached for comment before publishing Thursday.

Last week the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, called for the resignation of the principal at Greenfield Middle School in El Cajon. The group alleged Gregory Calvert allowed bullying to fester at the school, resulting in the assault of a Muslim student and her family off campus.

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