Miramonte Elementary School teachers have been placed at Augustus F. Hawkins High School campus, which remains unopened and under construction, since Feb. 9 after two teachers were arrested for alleged misconduct with students.
Dozens of Miramonte Elementary School teachers will be marching around a South L.A. high school at 3:30 p.m. before giving their first public statement in months about their removal from campus where two teachers were arrested for alleged misconduct with students.
Half-a-dozen television trucks and other media sat outside Augustus F. Hawkins High School where the teachers have been placed since Feb. 9 when L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy ordered the removal of the entire staff as part of an investigation into the two separate cases of alleged misconduct. The staff was replaced by new teachers in all the classrooms as well as counselors.
Deasy said it was necessary to take such drastic action to ensure the safety of kids and conduct a comprehensive review. He said Wednesday that investigation was ongoing. UTLA President Warren Fletcher has spoken strongly against the move and called it an "overreaction" by the district especially during a tight budget year.
Students from both El Camino College and the Compton Center campus meet with admissions representatives in this file photo.
A newly released investigative report states that three professors at El Camino College Compton Center were allegedly caught handing out grades for money -- but administrators say they were unable to do anything about it, and even had to pay two of the teachers to go away.
The professors finally did resign in 2010 and 2011, according to the report by California Watch, but only after years of hassle and well over a half-million dollars in legal and investigative fees were spent by the school.
Herkie Lee Williams, a psychology professor, stepped down in December 2010 with a month’s pay in his pocket, California Watch reports. Math professors Mohammad Ghafelebashi and Mohammad Boroujerdi both left in September 2011 with something extra to settle their cases: $26,000 and $34,000, respectively.
Miramonte Elementary School is the center of a scandal where two teachers have been accused of engaging in lewd acts with students.
Miramonte Elementary School teachers have not spoken publicly for nearly three months since they were removed from their classrooms as part of an investigation into two separate cases of teachers arrested for lewd acts on children.
But they have spoken at union events to their peers.
KPCC has linked to a video of a statement made by one teacher in March at a meeting of the California Teachers Association's State Council, the union's top policy-making body. The meetings are typically not open to the public.
Maria Miranda, a first grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, calls L.A. Unified's treatment of the teachers "unfair" in her comments to her union peers. We provide excerpts below.
"We are the teachers from Miramonte Elementary School...We take our job as mandated reporters very seriously, and the safety of our students has always been our top priority. We feel that our students have endured a traumatic experience due to the alleged incidents and to the removal of the entire staff at their school. Children were wronged, and teachers have been wronged as well."
Students outside Miramonte Elementary School demand their teachers return to the classrooms. L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy ordered their relocation to an unopened campus after two teachers, in two separate cases, were arrested for lewd acts upon children.
Miramonte Elementary School teachers who were removed from their classrooms during the investigation into two teachers arrested for misconduct will speak publicly on Thursday, after nearly three months of silence.
The "UTLA South Area Action" will be held outside the unopened Augustus F. Hawkins High School in South Los Angeles, where the teachers have been placed since Feb. 9.
A march with posters and chanting will begin at 3:30 p.m. around the campus, and teachers will read anonymous statements from their colleagues about their experience, said Ingrid Villeda, chair of the United Teachers Los Angeles South Area, which includes Miramonte Elementary School.
The entire elementary school staff — including teachers, the principal, teaching assistants and cafeteria workers — was removed over two pupil free days in early February after teachers Mark Berndt and Martin Springer were arrested, in two separate cases, for lewd acts upon children.
Members of the California Faculty Association at a protest last year. California State University employees have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a series of two-day strikes if a new contract cannot be reached.
Faculty at the 23 Cal State campuses voted overwhelmingly to authorize an ongoing series of rolling two-day strikes, if their negotiators fail to make a deal with the University.
Lillian Taiz, the President of the California Faculty Association, said the 95 percent vote in favor of striking showed that the Cal State faculty are fed up.
"The message to Chancellor Reed is absolutely clear, The CSU faculty have run out of patience. It is time to address seriously the issues before us so that our faculty can get back to the business of providing quality higher education to the students of California," Taiz said.
Mike Uhlenkamp, the Cal State spokesman didn't seem anxious about the possible strike.
"This is more noise from the CFA that really has no bearing whatsoever on our current negotiations," he said.
"Our bargaining team has indicated that there are a limited number of outstanding issues that need resolution."