In light of the current Chicago teachers’ strike, I think it’s important to comment on a very important California story that shines a big, fat, bright light on the global nature of the complicit cover-up of child sexual abuse by big, trusted institutions.
And here’s the shocker: it doesn’t involve the Roman Catholic Church.
Flashback to July, 2012: After the Miramonte sex abuse scandal in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the board of education and the community were clamoring for reform.
And reform was needed. For example, union teachers, advocates discovered, had their records expunged three years after an allegation of child sexual abuse or other criminal behavior.
Despite this, victims kept coming forward and predator teachers across the district were exposed as molesters in criminal and civil proceedings. One LA Unified teacher even lead police on a car chase. Nice.
Even more dirty truths slowly came to light ….
Local media reported that the process of firing a teacher who sexually abused students was so time-consuming and expensive, the LA Board of Education felt they had no choice but to pay Mark Berndt $40,000 in taxpayer money to retire … just to finally get him away from kids. Berndt, for those of you who don’t know, has been charged with 23 counts of lewd behavior with students at Miramonte school. He his accused of spoon-feeding children his semen.
In response, State Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) wrote a bill that would, according to the LA Times:
Have allowed school boards to immediately suspend without pay a teacher or administrator notified of dismissal for “serious and egregious unprofessional conduct” involving sex abuse, drugs or violence toward children.
Its most controversial provision would have changed state law to give school boards final authority over the dismissal, rather than a three-member panel composed of an administrative law judge and representatives chosen by the employee and the district. The bill would have removed the employee and district representatives and made the judge’s decision advisory only.
Even Los Angeles Superintendent of Schools John Deasey called the bill a child safety “no-brainer.” Finally, school boards realized, they could rid schools of sex offending teachers, turn info over to law enforcement and protect the very children they are charged with serving.
Enter UTLA (United Teachers LA, the Los Angeles teachers’ union) and the California Teachers’ Association (the statewide teachers’ union). Saying the bill “infringed on the due process rights of teachers,” both groups used their considerable muscle and big money in Sacramento to kill the bill.
From the LA Times:
The bill fell one vote short of clearing an Assembly education committee when six of the seven Democratic members either opposed it or abstained. Committee Chairwoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) supported the bill, as did four Republican colleagues.
Really? Six of seven democrats chose to follow the big money of the teachers’ unions and allow child molesters to keep their jobs in school? What about the rights of the kids? What about the rights of the parents, who are supposed to be guaranteed safe schools for their children?
Heck, what about the rights of good, non-sex-offending union teachers who are forced to work on the same campus as accused child molesters and are at risk themselves?
When did it become more important to keep the cash flowing than to stand up for the safety of kids in schools?
Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?