Once again the Redlands Unified School District (RUSD) in San Bernardino County has had to pay out a large settlement for yet another sexual abuse claim. This time the settlement was for 8.5 million dollars paid to four victims who were sexally abused by former drama teacher, Joel Everett Chandler Koonce.
The drama teacher has been charged with 15 felony charges that are beyond disgusting. Why does this continue to happen in Redlands schools? Is this also happening everywhere? How do we prevent perverts from coming into the classroom with our kids? Parents at Redlands Unified must be horrified that this is happening in their schools.
So, you might be wondering how the district can afford to pay all of these claims. The money to pay all of these settlements is mostly paid through insurance and not the general fund. With the exception of the district’s deductible, which is different in every district and is currently $1,000,000.00 at RUSD due to the number of settlements in the last five years being so high. The district has now paid more than $30 million in the last five years.
The district is insured through SAFER (Schools Association For Excess Risk), which provides liability insurance to many agencies across California. Redlands Unified is one of 78 agencies in SAFER’s Southern California Regional Liability Excess Fund. It pays for settlements in cases of alleged acts of negligence by the district or its employees. This also means that if and when the district makes it too costly for the other districts in the collective, they can be removed.
It’s obvious that there are some serious issues in this district. We hope the leadership there will be able to stop the madness and not continue to put kids at risk. Parents ought to be vigilant and carry very open conversations with their children about how they are being treated. I have not read anywhere that parents are up in arms and storming the school board meeting. I wonder why.
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