As Miramonte Elementary School staff members rallied today in front of the unopened South L.A. campus where they have been placed for the last few months, parents and their kids came out to support their teachers Thursday.
Maria Guzman, a mother of second and fourth grade girls at Miramonte School, stood along 60th Street. She and her daughters all sported white t-shirts to symbolize the innocence of the staff. Guzman's t-shirt had writing in black marker that said, "We are here to support the innocent teachers and staff from Miramonte Elementary."
On the back it read, "They're not prisoners they're workers."
"It's not right what they did with them," Guzman said today after she heard the teachers give their first public statements in three months. "Just because two teachers did something bad, the rest of them shouldn't have to pay for it."
Miramonte Elementary School teachers made their first public comments today during a march and press conference in front of a South L.A. high school where they have been placed for the last three months as officials conducted an investigation into two teachers arrested on charges of misconduct with students.
The staff members, fearful that giving their personal accounts would jeopardize their ability to return to their classrooms, collectively voted on three statements written among them to present anonymously.
One teacher related feeling "shocked and numb" at having to leave the school in early February during two pupil free days they had to relocate. "I was expected to pack up 10 years in two days," the teacher said. "I was overwhelmed with so many emotions, sadness, anger...anxiety, fear."
Nearly 100 people, including dozens of Miramonte Elementary School teachers, marched alongside parents and students outside an unopened South L.A. high school where the educators have been placed for nearly three months, demanding their return to their classrooms.
Wearing the blue and yellow t-shirts of Miramonte school students and white ribbons to symbolize their innocence, the teachers chanted "Hey hey, ho ho, where should all the teachers go? Miramonte's where we need to go." They held signs that said "Miramonte is our home" and "Bring back our innocent Miramonte staff" while cars honked in support as they drove down Hoover Street.
Roughly 120 staffers, including about 85 teachers, were removed from their classrooms Feb. 9 as part of an investigation into two teachers arrested for lewd acts on children and placed at Augustus F. Hawkins High School. L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy said it was a drastic but necessary step to ensure the safety to children. But union officials say the superintendent went too far.
Ticketing a 12 year-old boy for fighting in school may sound reasonable, but researchers argue that type of discipline just leads to future entanglements with law enforcement – and even to eventual drop outs.
Those are the arguments students at a Thursday rally against the ticket system have been citing over and over again.
Using the court system to address discipline issues like fighting and vandalism damages young students and their educational growth, Manuel Criollo maintains.
"There have been national studies that show a young person who has contact with law enforcement on campus is almost twice as likely to leave school," claims Criollo, an organizer with the Community Rights Campaign. "Those students who have to go to court to deal with a ticket or an arrest are four times as likely to leave school."
Bill Habermehl speaks at a Spotlight on Education panel.
The elected superintendent of the Orange County Department of Education announced on Thursday that he’s resigning nearly three years before the end of his term.
Superintendent Bill Habermehl says it’s time to hang up his hat after 45 years as a science teacher, football coach and administrator in Orange County schools.
The county’s Department of Education board appointed Haberhmehl superintendent in 2001, a position he went on to win election and reelection for three times.
Habermehl said he wants his successor to gain some experience on the job before he or she runs for election.
"To run an election in Orange County can be very expensive," he says. "Just to get your name and a 200-word statement on the ballot can cost over $32,000. So it’s not something you want to walk into with six weeks notice."