Wednesday, May 9, 2012

LAUSD’s Rubber Room for Victims of Abuse Hysteria

Following the January arrest of former teacher Mark Berndt, who was charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct in the classroom, the entire staff was fired at Miramonte Elementary School, in Los Angeles. Last week, at least 40 displaced teachers and staff members rallied outside Augustus Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles, the “Rubber Room” where they have reported for the past three months while awaiting reassignment. (Hawkins High is not currently in operation). More than 150 students and parents also joined the demonstration.

Superintendent John Deasy said he was replacing the staff to restore confidence in the school. Yet only 2 staff members have been charged or even accused of misconduct. Teachers at the rally expressed anger and frustration at having “been publicly punished and humiliated for the alleged acts of one person," according to the Los Angeles times. Another teacher said, "I no longer tell people I'm a teacher. Until very recently, I was proud to be one."

In a particularly disturbing consequence of the mass firing, staff members who are also parents of Miramonte students have not been allowed on campus to drop off or pick up their children, or to meet with a teacher during school hours.

In related news, a lawsuit was filed this week against LAUSD for negligence on behalf of 20 former Miramonte students (see LA Times Blogs). The lawsuit claims the district did not do enough to protect students who had complained about inappropriate teacher behavior and that it ignored student allegations.
Berndt’s personnel records contained no records of prior sexual abuse allegations, despite the fact that there were at least four past sex abuse allegations against him prior to the most recent case. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reports that LAUSD has no record that it ever conducted an internal investigation.


  1. I was at that event. In in fact, I brought the media with me when I found out those teachers were planning it by way of a tweet. Now, I am pretty rabid about LAUSD news, so it surprised me the protest escaped my notice until the day before. I went Not a blurt. I googled. Nope. WTF? UTLA was following orders. We may be members who paid our dues but Deasy is the boss and those UTLA officers are not risking those close to $200k saleries on some teachers. You cannot imagine the frustration of elected school reps or the fear of the teachers they try like hell to defend, but can't because there is no standard of evidence, no esculpatory offers, no deference to the codes nor contract. No interest in truth, much less justice. There is no freaking due process. Like everything from the Ethics office to latest lawsuits about teacher evaluation and tenure (scams like VAM concoted by Eli Broad and Gates) its all about appearences.
    And UTLA cannot even keep these up, Deasy's profound path of destruction leaves no doubt that our union cannot think fast enough to defend their lack of defense when we need them most.
    Little did Marimonte teachhers know nor do they know the consternation they caused when they decided to be heard despite the unconstituanal gag order--shortly before the teachers were housed, Sheriff Baca stated that Deasy had gagged many employees, effectively interfering with a police investigation (felony!!!)and it stands to reason, Miramonte teachers were removed from the school despite the proetests of students and parents so they could be debriefed and intimidated. Deasy needs them to keep their mouths shut because LAUSD not only pampers pervs by breaking the law so they keep credentals, hiding documentation of charges against them and gives them letters of recommendation on top of substansial cash prizes, it also goes after whistle blowers with ruthess reprisals ( I am one of many who knows this too well).
    So these ES teachers politely waited until they were told they had to apply for their jobs again if they wanted to return to MES I must tell you that it is a testimonial of their dedication that they should want to return at all. MES is in a very bleak section of LA where there are no starbucks or Targets. Most people walk, but theres not many destinations beyond the schools, delapitated jouses and sqallid apartment buildings. Mostly there are liquor stores, many closed and all featuring clerks tucked behind bullet proof glass as they sell cans of malt liquor, blunt raps and marked up candy to little rascals on the way to and from school.
    Mostfolks wouldnt drive through this part of town much less work there. But teachers are not most people. However, given the demographic its difficult to believe teachers would apply for these positions again given Deasy's obsession with data driven evaluations and testing drills.But all one has to do is see what I did and know what I know and they'll understand the staff's outrage.
    I tweeted the teachers who I do not know but expected to be wary. They were not studying differentiation or creating lessons, like all rubber room inmates they were either bored, bitching or focused on something that wasnt related to school at all, least not as Deasy explained their exile. Many work on new degrees since housed teachers have no teaching career outside of LAUSD once housed. A few learn new languages, study the Bible (as if prayer will help), red novels, sleep, write memoirs, plan their revenge and apparently a lot tweet.

    all.. let's DO SOMETHING to stop the madness!

  2. As for LAUSD, there is rarely an investigation into charges made against teachers. Why bother? It's the suits' soverign state, a state of dubious grace , where the rules may be committed to paper but no one is committed to the rules. No one is even vaguely familiar with them until someone says, ummm hey, you can't do that! But someone is wrong. The rules are arbitrary in Orwellian contexts. All of us, it it is asserted, are equal, but some of us are more equal than others. John Deasy can break the laws at will. That he violated codes and state laws at the expense of victims, the children, their parents and teachers at Marimonte to protect Mark Berndt and other creeps then twisted it into an excuse to illegally fire innocent teachers is especially egregious. You see Deasy has been caught in many lies,beginning with the one about his agenda as our dictator at the district.
    As a graduate of the Broad Academy for Fear and Loathing in Education, Deasy has been programmed (along with 50% of the school site administrators who bear an eerie quality not unlike that of stepford wives and cult members)as a mercenary.
    His mission is simple. Search and Destroy. As he explained in a recent interview, his interest is human capital....

    BTW Great Blog. contact me. we share the same concerns and we are so much less without each other. I mean all you