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3 Replies to “Still Going…”
As a Californian, I’ve been closely following the progress of this bill. Unfortunately, it has been an unnecessarily slow process that has highlighted the flaws of California’s politics and legislative system.
This topic gives us a perfect example of myths that are now circulating to discredit and demonize teachers. Let’s look at the actual facts:
In California, as well as in most other states, there are very strict laws protecting children from sexual abuse in a school. As soon as a teacher, or any other school employee, is accused of the abuse of a child, a report must be made to the police or child protective authorities. That person can then be placed on leave until his case is adjudicated. Anyone convicted of the sexual abuse of a child is subject to immediate dismissal and his license is pulled. This all occurs in the judicial system and is taken out of the hands of the district or the union once the police are called.
So what is the problem? The problem is that most accusations made by teachers, parents and students are swept under the rug. The offending teacher, aide or administrator is often transferred to an unsuspecting school or quietly pressured to resign. Have you heard of Penn State? Well, that’s basically what occurs at the elementary and high school level also.
In the Miramonte case, we know that Mark Berndt was allowed to teach long after reports were made about him. We know that his principal ignored concerns of parents and we know that John Deasy did not report him to the state, as required by law. We know that he was “bought off” because the district didn’t want to keep him on leave until his case came to court. Well, this is America and even a schoolteacher has civil rights.
This bill would place more of a burden on administrators, who would face stricter penalties if they failed to report accusations of abuse in their schools. That’s as it should be because it addresses the real problem, which is that administrators often do not report suspected abusers.
What John Deasy and others want is to be able to fire any teacher accused of a crime without due process. Well, that’s not going to happen while our country still has the Constitution.
Today I wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times asking them to do an article on the laws we now have protecting schoolchildren from sexual abuse. These laws are very strict with dire consequences for convicted offenders. But they will not do any good unless administrators report these crimes, as they are required to do. To get an idea about what a school administrator has to endure when she reports an employee to the police against the advice of the district to “let us handle it,” read about Eileen Blagden of ABC Unified School District in California.
One thing more that citizens need to know: When a teacher joins a union, she pays for “malpractice insurance.” Mine was for one million dollars. This insurance is for a teacher who is accused of anything, but especially of negligence resulting in the death or injury of a child or of criminal behavior. When a teacher is accused, this insurance kicks in to pay for an attorney (which it is required to do legally) but that does NOT mean that “the union” necessarily supports her. Teachers do NOT support criminals. Obviously, unions support teachers who are FALSELY accused.
Don’t accept this information from me. Read about the Miramonte scandal and find out that the people (other than the perpetrators) indicted and admonished by the courts for allowing this tragedy to happen were administrators and not innocent teachers or “the unions.”
You have it right LInda.
It is a shame, nearly disgusting, to read Andy’s deliberately ignorant opinion.
For him, as with Campbell Brown, this is a game aimed at getting rid of teacher unions.