I live in Southern California, close to LA. The Los Angeles Unified School District sex scandal(s) -yes, plural...have been all over talk radio (and I imagine t.v. news) here. The firestorm began with the news of the teacher with the photos taken in the classroom and then day after day it seemed a new teacher made the news. Parents are horrified and outraged. Sadly, LAUSD continues on its path of cover-up, fear of lawsuit (from the union members not from the parents) and keeping parents in the dark. I feel so bad for parents in Los Angeles who have no other option than public school. Huge, bloated LAUSD is a glaring example of the largess and incompetence of bureaucracy gone amuck. After all the spin, the excuses, the whining of the superintendent that they are doing the best they can...the lining up of the teacher's union to fight for the teachers' jobs and benefits- the part that just fries me, as a parent- is the fact that a huge school-full of adults (trained, professional adults I might add) looked the other way. For more than a decade this creepy man was hanging out with little kids, giving out treats and special closed door parties (at school) - and no teacher/staff checked up on it. No teacher/staff tried to peek into the classroom to see what was going on, to wonder why the door was locked. Parents came to the school to complain about creepy, strange behavior and were brushed off. Children were treated as liars.
Somewhere, sometime, the administration and teaching staff at this school sold their soul and decided that having a place to work and benefits to collect was the reason LAUSD exists, not teaching and serving children and families. When a bureaucracy exists to feed itself, and the workers become the clients, not the children they teach- that organization buries itself.
As a mother, I just cannot fathom the evil of turning a blind-eye.
Today, while serving in Children's church, I bumped into a man walking the hall of the children's ministry building as I walked back from making copies. I was surprised to see him there, thinking that I didn't realize he had children. In fact, I was pretty sure he did not have children. I dropped my copies off and then planted myself on a bench, overlooking the room he walked into. This door led to the preschool room and the preschool bathrooms. I sat and waited to see where he would go and if he would walk out with a child. He came out a few minutes later, without any offspring and coming from the preschool bathrooms.
It was probably innocent and misguided (didn't want to use the main bathroom for some reason, didn't realize as a single man that he would not be welcome there) but, as a mom with mom-radar, I had to speak to the director. I spoke up so other parent-workers could keep a watch out.
This is what someone who cares for children does. Someone who cares for children checks and double checks. Someone who cares for children stops what they are doing and takes the time to make sure everything is as it should be. Someone who cares for children makes a show of watching everything, so the monsters know they will not get away with anything.
The teachers and staff at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles did not care. They did not check. They looked the other way. The teachers and staff at Miramonte Elementary did not care about what was going on, but they do care about their jobs and benefits. God save the children. I hope the parents of LAUSD will research options and place their children elsewhere.