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?

It’s nearly impossible to fire a teacher in Los Angeles:

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.


The school district paid Bernt himself $40K to resign because they couldn’t fire him.

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.

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Comment pages: 1 2

If I were a parent of one of those “taste testers,” the topic would be whom I would be engaging to represent me at my trial for murder.

BuckeyeSam on June 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM

This.

And those of you pointing out that he got paid for this, remember who he was paid by. This is a public school, with public funding.

So, even if it weren’t my kids, or even my kids’ school, but was in my district, you’d have me calling for blood. And just wait for my reaction the next time you request additional funding for the district.

Chris of Rights on June 27, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Yeah, duh! Don’t all the azzwipes and pinheads in this school district work for the parents and the children and the taxpayers in the community? So their EMPLOYERS can’t know who the offenders are? And what arrogance to have the website with a ticking clock–that the taxpayers are paying for as well!! Sure hope there’s a ticking clock in that community to get rid of the morons who run this school district. LAUSD? They’re anything but “unified” more like useless.

stukinIL4now on June 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

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.

After which Berndt-out will ask female students to taste it directly without using a spoon? Hey, this guy could be President someday!

What “class” was Mr. Berndt “teaching”?

Steve Z on June 27, 2013 at 10:56 AM

If I were a parent of one of those “taste testers,” the topic would be whom I would be engaging to represent me at my trial for murder.

BuckeyeSam on June 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Heh. If it costs $40,000 to fire a teacher who is making kids eat body fluids I see an economic, if illegal, opportunity here. They could probably hire Sam here for half that.

Win-win, right? “How many bad teachers youse got? I could fix em all if you want?”

Jaibones on June 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Any person that would do that, if guilty, should be put down like a dog. Do not waste taxpayer money putting this person in jail.

F_This on June 27, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Nicely done.
 
rogerb on June 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM

 
Touché. Although I think the difference between…
 
Genuine on June 26, 2013 at 10:21 PM

 
BTW, and for the record, this was handled well and exactly how it should’ve been. No ad hominems, no attempts to change the subject in order to attack others, and no outright lies in hopes of tarnishing a poster.
 
Because of that I’ll pay a bit more attention to, and see increased value in, the content of your posts. Well done.

rogerb on June 27, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Comment pages: 1 2