Third grade teacher Alberto Nodal was in the middle of lesson plans for next year when he got the news that San Leandro police were en route to clear him from his spot near the food court at Bayfair Mall.
Truth be told, he was a little nervous about it.
"I'm really not political," he said.
Nodal, who teaches at Colonial Acres Elementary School in Cherryland, was one of about 50 teachers from San Lorenzo and San Leandro Unified School Districts who filled the tables near Panda Express to grade papers in silent protest of Sacramento's stalled budget process and the cuts that have slammed California's K-12 education system in recent years.
Similar "grade-in" protests have been called at malls from Marin to Fremont as part of a statewide that will culminate with a rally in San Francisco Friday. The purpose of Tuesday's activity was to show the work that teachers put in outside the classroom, organizers said.
Unfortunately for this crowd, their comparatively sedate activities—correcting math worksheets and typing up lesson plans—were too much for Bayfair security personnel, who threatened to have the group cited for trespassing and forcibly removed.
But after several terse exchanges, phone calls to lawyers and Channel 5, San Leandro police determined that the teachers were within their rights as patrons of the food-court (most had bought sodas and snacks).
Nodal went back to his math books.
Check back with Patch later this week for more in-depth coverage of education cuts and local teachers' participation in the statewide Week of Action.