By Frank Wells
Parents & students protest the removal of teachers last spring
School is back in session for Los Angeles’ Miramonte Elementary teachers who were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The faculty members were abruptly removed from the school last February, following the arrests of a current and a former teacher charged with lewd conduct against students, in what the superintendent called a “confidence-building” measure. The entire staff reported to a not-yet-opened campus while Miramonte students finished the school year with replacement teachers.
“It was difficult, but we got through it. My teacher — she was like a second mother to me,” April, a fifth-grader, said of CTA member May Lynn Montano, who is back teaching fourth grade.
Lawsuits filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District claim current and former LAUSD school administrators ignored student complaints dating back more than a decade about Mark Berndt, who was arrested in January and remains jailed after pleading not guilty to committing lewd acts with 23 youngsters.
The rest of the story: Protecting your due process rights
CTA won a legislative battle to protect due process rights by defeating Senate Bill 1530. Despite what you’ve heard, the bill was not about protecting child molesters. CTA will not tolerate child molesters anywhere in our schools.
“Teachers care about the safety of their students and would never support a bill that would put them in harm’s way,” said CTA President Dean Vogel. “SB 1530 didn’t make students any safer than the current law. It just stripped away the rights of teachers.”
Born out of grandstanding by politicians over what happened at Miramonte Elementary, SB 1530 did nothing to make students any safer. The current dismissal process works, and it keeps both students and teachers safe. Administrators just have to use it correctly. CTA, in fact, offered amendments to streamline the process, but the author of SB 1530, Sen. Alex Padillo, rejected them.
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