A Very Bad Week for Los Angeles Public Schools

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

It’s rough, being a child today.  Oh, sure, in many ways the world seems to be an easier place to live for children when compared to other times.  I mean, kids have TV, right?  They have the Internet.

Sure.  And kids also have mandatory schooling, which in the majority of cases means public schooling.  Finances often dictate public schooling as the only real option.  Which means that children are placed into public schools, entrusting those schools and their faculty and staff with the child’s safety and well-being.

Schools like Miramonte Elementary School, in South Los Angeles, not far where I live.  Yes, Miramonte Elementary, that saw the arrest this week of not one, but two long-time teachers for sexually abusing students.  And remember, folks, these are students ages 6-12 or so.  That’s what I’m talking about when I say that it’s rough, being a child today.

The situation is so grim that the Superintendent of Schools for the county has decided to remove the entire faculty and staff of the school.  Per KABC, the rationale given by the Superintendent for the complete, mass removal of an entire Elementary School crew is “because a full investigation of allegations is disruptive and staffers require support to get through the scandal, too.”

Um, right.  Those staffers need help.  Yes they do.  Because one of them, a 49 year old male teacher, is accused of fondling two girls in his class over the past few years.  How did he get caught?  Well, this genius went to have photos of his abusive acts, and got turned in by the photo shop.  Yes, over 40 photos with children in bondage – in a classroom.  On campus.  Police found another 100 photos of children at the man’s house.  But it’s okay – he’s a trained teacher, approved by the Los Angeles Unified School District.  It’s all good, right LAUSD?

The other teacher is accused of 23 separate acts of lewd behavior.  He’s a peach, he threatened to “kill his students” if they weren’t quiet.  He later claimed he was kidding.  I’m sure the eight year-old children in his classroom got the joke.  Right?  Right?  Among the crimes he’s accused of, he apparently blindfolded children and fed them his semen.  Sometimes he placed cockroaches on their faces.

He’s retired now, so it’s all okay, right LAUSD?  Good work, LAUSD!

You can’t make this up.  And the children certainly did not, though one wonders if anyone listened to them as this “gentleman” has been allowed to teach in public schools for 30 years.

Miramonte is closed today and tomorrow as the investigation proceeds.  At least one attorney says he will file charges against the Los Angeles Unified School District.  That’s all great, but the horse is already out of the barn, so to speak.

A report issued by the Department of Education in 2004 warned of such abuses, but that report got buried, and fast.  It stated that during the time a student spends in public schools (say from age 6-17), some 6%-10% of the students there would be sexually abused by a teacher or staff member.  That’s millions of children that they predicted would be abused.  Does that seem like a fact that should be buried?  Do you think that parents might want to be warned about this little problem before deciding that public schooling was their best option?

On the same day this story came out in the press (Feb. 6), there was another little problem in Chatsworth, also a part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.  At Germaine Elementary School, a janitor was arrested for “suspicion of inappropriate contact” with a child.  By the way, in this case, mom listened to her child and reported what had occurred (allegedly) to the police.  The janitor in question worked for LAUSD for 10 years.  he had prior arrests for grand theft auto and for burglary – a perfect candidate for employment with our public schools, apparently.

During the weekend just prior to all these arrests, thousands of teachers, students and parents demonstrated in Exposition Park (where there are lots of cool museums) for “better schools” in LAUSD.  And what did they demand in this teacher-sponsored demonstration.  Resources.  More resources.  That means more money.  They wanted more money for the schools.  Um, the same schools where entire staffs are removed as sex abuse scandals are investigated.  More money for those staffs.  For those “underpaid and overworked teachers”.

To the parents and students who participated in this demonstration, I understand the desire for improved educational opportunities for children!  I also want that.  I’ve been working hard for that result for over 30 years.  I believe that the only way we can get there now, given the truly spectacular failing of public schooling throughout the country – is to universally privately educate children, via homeschooling, homeschool groups, and many other private educational models I discuss in many articles and my books.  We all want all our children to receive an education.  I think one way we get to this result is to close all public schools, period, and take the power over our children and their lives and futures out of the hands of politicians, bureaucrats and “teachers”, returning this responsibility and authority where it belongs – the family.

And before you moan about incompetent parents who “try to teach”, and about possible home abuses, and how children need “trained teachers”, read this article again.  Then make your ridiculous argument that children are better off in schools.  Make sure you explain how blindfolding a child and feeding the child semen contributes to your belief, please. Don’t forget to mention the over 50% drop-out rate from schools, in many large cities, representing millions of failed (or scared) students fleeing the system. I look forward to your “response”, it should make great fictional reading.

Unified School Districts are a terrible failure.  L.A. is among the worst.  But where children are concerned, safety comes first.  Clearly, folks, your children are not safe in LAUSD schools.  And your child’s safety is ultimately the responsibility of the parent.  If you continue to send your children to LAUSD schools after reading articles like these, you are responsible at least in part for whatever happens to them while at school.

I went through school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, graduating High School in 1974, in that same town, Chatsworth, where the janitor was arrested on Saturday.  I was never abused by a teacher.  I had a few very good teachers, a lot of mediocre teachers, and a few really bad teachers – but I didn’t see any sexual offenders.  Overall, I didn’t learn much in school.  I felt then, as I do now in retrospect, that the vast majority of my education was self-started, and it continues through this day.  School was the place I was required to go to each weekday during the school year, and that was about it for me.  I didn’t like it much.  I didn’t let it get in my way.

Those were different times, I think.  The High School I went to did not have ten foot tall fences surrounding it, as that same school has today.  And entire school staffs weren’t being removed for sexual abuse investigations.

I’m glad I went to school back then, and that I’m not there now.  It’s rough, being a child today – in public schools.
_____

As you probably know, I am an advocate for homeschooling. It’s my belief that homeschooling potentially provides a student with a vastly superior education than schooling in any form. This is backed up by a lot of numbers and research. I’ve taught for public and private schools, at the University level, as a private instructor in thousands of workshops, and as a homeschool dad running a homeschool group. Homeschooling by far works best for most students- and most families.

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CTT courses are written in a way that gradually allows the student to take over his own education. Each course itself largely does the teaching, relieving mom and dad of that duty unless they wish to use our daily lesson plans in various subjects as springboards for family discussion and discovery – as many families do, every day. The parent has the job of making certain the student is working and has what they need to study. (And you’ll need to find a good math program for homeschooling as we don’t provide one. There are many.)

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4 comments on “A Very Bad Week for Los Angeles Public Schools”


  1. Russell Person says:

    Thank you Steven,
    I also went to schools in the San Fernando Valley, Kennedy High School, graduating in 1976 so I am probably two years younger than you. I had two good teachers in High School. When I transferred from a private school to a public school in the fifth grade, I was doing 10th grade level work. I’m bright, but I am not a genius. I know the shortcomings in Public School. When I told my child’s scoutmaster about my son’s homeschooling and his amazing results, he criticized homeschooling and said he wanted his sons to learn to deal with bullies. Is that what a scout master should want his children to learn in school today?


  2. Russell Person says:

    Steven,
    Great article.

  3. I so agree with you and have tried to get parents to look at the signs of sexual abuse so that they can protect their children if they still insist on sending them to public school. New York is having the same sort of problems so it is a nation wide problem! Home schooling is the only answer to save this generation!

  4. Hi Chris,

    It sure is a nationwide problem. I think it’s very hard for parents to want to admit that such a thing might happen. They so WANT public school to work, and it so doesn’t. Thanks for writing!

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