Miramonte Scandal Fallout Prompts L.A. School District to Report Alleged Pervs to State, as It Should Have Done From Day 1
Despite what we've been told about federal Title 9 guidelines requiring parents and students to be notified when someone at their campus is accused of sexual improprieties with students, the public was kept in the dark. Even the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which can pull an instructor's teaching papers, was out of the loop.
Following the Miramonte Elementary School sex abuse scandal, no longer:
The L.A. school district is reporting three years' worth of teacher misconduct cases to the commission, which has the power to pull teachers' credentials even if instructors aren't charged with crimes, a district official says:
The purpose is to exercise an abundance of caution, in case any slipped through the cracks.
The move came after the Los Angeles Times reported that yet another former instructor at the district, George Hernandez, was accused three times of inappropriate sexual actions involving children as victims or witnesses but was never reported to the state.
He ended up moving to Inglewood Unified, where he was accused of molestation and, in reaction, fled to Mexico.
Last week KPCC (89.3 FM) reported that LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy acknowledged that the district violated the law by failing to report ex-teacher Mark Berndt to the state commission.
Berndt's arrest last month sparked the scandal at Miramonte: He was charged with 23 counts of lewd acts with children after sheriff's officials alleged he photographed disgusting rituals involving his Florence-Firestone-area students.
Terri Miller, a nationally recognized expert in sex abuse at schools who is president of the group Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation (SESAME), told us recently that public schools are federally required to inform students and teachers when sex abuse allegations against staffers arise:
This situation in Los Angeles -- they didn't have proper reporting procedures in place to notify parents and they didn't have proper people in place taking those reports.
She says that U.S. Department of Education officials could review their funding of L.A. schools if it finds violations of its Civil Rights rules occurred.