L.A. school district pressuring parents to settle over spoon-fed semen abuse case
posted at 8:41 pm on June 26, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
Well, you know, what could they have possibly done to prevent this?
Every attempt to fire a teacher for bad performance becomes a complicated procedure through multiple levels of administrative hearings and courts. The piece describes what is known as the “dance of the lemons” as bad teachers continue to be paid and are merely shifted from school to school or given often futile retraining…
Even when teachers with many consecutive poor evaluations go through a mandated mentoring program, their principles have no way or knowing how they are improving, and “District officials admit to the Weekly that only about one-third of teachers pass the training….three anonymous LAUSD teachers have taken the retraining five times in the past three years, 18 have taken it four times, and 45 three times. Parents do not know, and cannot find out, the names of these 66 teachers who are repeatedly recycled….The state program costs $1.4 million per year, mostly to pay for 50 personal mentors in LAUSD.”
The vast majority of LAUSD teachers, the Weekly reports, get lifetime tenure after just two years in the classroom. United Teachers LA’s web site. Past City of Angles blogging on problems with firing bad teachers.
I hate to use the terminology shot and chaser in this particular case, but nonetheless.
Alleged victims of abuse at Miramonte Elementary have until July 5 to accept recent settlement offers from the Los Angeles Unified School District, officials said Tuesday.
The school district pressed its point with a new website that emphasized that fact with a countdown clock clicking toward the deadline second by second.
“The reason we’re setting up the website is to provide information to the community — both to the community at Miramonte and to the taxpaying community at large,” said Sean Rossall, an L.A. Unified spokesman.
“There is a finite time on these offers,” he said. “The idea is not to ratchet up the pressure, but to make sure the community understands there are deadlines on this.”
Attorneys representing alleged victims have accused the district of trying to strong-arm their clients into settling for less than they deserve. They have scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning to respond.
The damage claims stem from allegations that former teacher Mark Berndt spoon-fed his semen to blindfolded students as part of what he called a “tasting game,” among other alleged incidents of abusive conduct.
Berndt, 62, has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.
Initially, the district fired Berndt, but he challenged the decision and ultimately agreed to resign for a cash payout.
LAUSD spokesman Thomas Waldman explained to the Weekly that the school board wasn’t asked by its legal team what it preferred to do, saying the scandal hadn’t gone public when the settlement deal was finalized in June 20.
But remember: It’s always, always, all about the kids.