The awful behavior that CTA’s affiliate enabled in LAUSD

May 13, 2013

By Chris Reed

zp_mark_berndt_tk_120210_wmainI have frequently referred to the Mark Berndt/Miramonte Elementary School case while blogging, including just yesterday. Los Angeles Unified officials concluded protections for teachers were so strong that it couldn’t get rid of Berndt without first paying him $40,000 — even though there was loads of evidence he fed sperm to his grade-schoolers.

The United Teachers Los Angeles must have been proud. The CTA and its affiliates block crackdowns on pervert teachers at the local level as well as Sacramento. But thankfully the Berndt case had a scared-straight effect on LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and LAUSD board members. They’re pushing back. A package of stories in the Los Angeles Daily News details the crackdown.

300 teachers ousted, nearly 300 more may be

“Under the zero-tolerance policy that Deasy enacted after the Miramonte Elementary sex-abuse scandal erupted in February 2012, the school board has voted to dismiss more than 100 teachers for misconduct, and accepted the resignations of at least 200 others who were about to be terminated. Nearly 300 additional teachers accused of inappropriate behavior remain ‘housed’ in administrative offices while officials investigate the complaints.”

The Daily News offers up examples of the nauseating misconduct that UTLA members believed they could get away with almost certainly because they had got away with it for years.

 “‘God, how do I even explain this?’ Deasy asked, before recounting that a Westside elementary teacher in his early 60s ‘trained’ his students to give him a full-body massage for 20 minutes every day while he ‘rested.’ Youngsters, including some special-education students, later told officials that he shouted profanities, spanked them and hit them with rolled-up papers when they misbehaved.

“The initial incident was reported by a classroom aide assigned to help the special-ed students.

“That’s also how the district learned about a teacher at a San Fernando Valley elementary school who disciplined youngsters by locking them in a bathroom or barricading them in a corner using tables and chairs. ‘Maybe this will teach you a lesson,’ the teacher reportedly told the kids as they cried to be released.

“And that an Eastside elementary teacher used clothespins to pinch the ears of youngsters who weren’t paying attention to the lesson. The same teacher also discouraged thumb-sucking by putting nasty-tasting disinfectant on kids’ fingers and forced students to scrub their desks using cleanser and their bare hands.

“A rash of sex-related complaints were made in the weeks after the Miramonte scandal broke, including allegations of tickling and fondling, and inappropriate and vulgar comments made in class. One high school student said a female teacher inexplicably took her along when she went shopping for sex toys in Hollywood. … Nearly a dozen male teachers were fired for pornography found on their district-issued laptops.” 

Too many teachers seem to like hurt kids

UTLAWant some more? Here you go. Try not to get sick.

“Parents took their son to the hospital after he came home from his East ESC elementary school with blisters on his palms. Investigators found that the teacher forced the boy and a classmate to crawl back and forth on the pavement because they were late for school. The teacher, born in 1952, had several prior warnings about misconduct. He was fired in February 2013. …

“A teacher at a North ESC middle school twisted a student’s arm, with photographs taken to record the injuries. He’d been accused in 1999 of throwing a shoe and striking a child; in 2001, of throwing the contents of a desk at a girl who couldn’t complete an assigned task; in 2003, of violating a doctor’s orders that a student have limited activity; and in 2004 of throwing a clipboard at one student and hitting and pushing another. The teacher, born in 1961, was fired in February 2013. …

“A student complained that a male teacher, born in 1960, had deliberately touched him on the buttocks during class at a South ESC high school. Administrators found inappropriate posters and photos, including images of recreational alcohol and drug use, on the classroom walls. He was fired in January 2013. …

“A male teacher at a West ESC middle school was accused of showing students images of naked children and of adults wearing skimpy outfits. As the investigation evolved, he was accused of possessing a knife on campus and forging administrators’ signatures on purchase orders. The teacher, born in 1968, was dismissed in February 2013.”

A proud, proud day for UTLA and CTA

This is a proud, proud day for the UTLA and CTA. Union leaders must be puffing out their chests that these fine dues-paying members lasted decades before being found out.

Remember this key point. Most of the teachers forced out for appalling misconduct were at least middle-aged. That means they probably got away with this depraved behavior for decades — before the LAUSD board finally decided it would take on the UTLA.

Good for Deasy and the L.A. school board, and the L.A. Daily News as well.



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