This week hasn’t been a good one for LAUSD. Or parents. Or students. First the news that a 30-year veteran teacher from Miramonte Elementary school was arrested on lewd acts with a child. And honestly, if that was the only story, I wouldn’t have written about it. The news has covered it well. The police have him under arrest. And rehashing something that horrible serves little purpose.
But this morning, another teacher at Miramonte has been removed from the classroom on allegations of lewd conduct. Allegations can conceivably be false, so for the sake of argument, I can still bite my tongue. Then the “third strike” of the week, a Hamilton High School music teacher has been removed from the classroom since 2010 for having sex with several of his students and the district is seeking his dismissal while he continues to collect a paycheck.
What the HELL is happening in LAUSD? Where are the classroom visits by principals? Where are the parent volunteers? How do children report these crimes and things disappear from the teachers’ files? If there are complaints dating back to the 90s, how was this allowed to continue?
Clearly there is a horrible breakdown somewhere in the system. Miramonte is an underperforming school and its students are clearly victims–and there have been victims for over 20 years that LAUSD has let down. Yet Hamilton is a highly regarded high school with great programs. Families simply can not get complacent with a “that can’t happen here” mentality. Child predators find ways to be near children and young adults and gain the trust of their families regardless of their income and education levels.
At this point, I strongly encourage each family to utilize their legal rights and visit a classroom for 20 minutes to observe their child’s class. Every parent and grandparent should volunteer on campus and in the classroom as much as possible. And if there isn’t a bulletin that requires principals to randomly walk into classrooms all day long, there should be. The local district folks should be walking into classrooms all day long as well.
I keep hoping each story is the last one, but I’m afraid that it’s far from over. The child predators must be removed, but right now it’s clear that LAUSD isn’t doing its job in cleaning house.
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