Students rally around Orono High teacher

ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Students and parents at Orono High are showing their support for music teacher Waldo Caballero, who they said could be out of a job after fifteen years with the school. They attended a school board meeting earlier this month and held a demonstration for him Wednesday.

Parents and coworkers of Caballero, a native of Bolivia who speaks English as his second language, said the superintendent is threatening to fire him if he does not pass the Praxis exam, a teacher certification test, by August. Caballero scored a 524 on the test, two points shy of what he needs to earn state certification.

Orono High's ad seeking a new music teacher in a local newspaper is just adding fuel to the fire.

"Regardless of the technicalities in this case around certification, I think this action is highly immoral and inhumane, and I really don't want to live in a town that operates this way," Sandy Cyrus, whose daughters played in the band under Caballero over five years ago, said.

Orono High English teacher Claire Moriarty also supports Caballero, and she is helping him prepare to re-take the exam.

"If the superintendent can fire a man that's this extraordinary, who has 15 years invested in the Orono School System, then what could happen to any of us?" she said.

Orono Superintendent Joanne Harriman said she cannot talk about specific personnel, but said a school that employs someone who is not certified can lose their state funding, and the Superintendent's certificate can be suspended or revoked.


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