When Teachers Engage in Misconduct, We All Pay the Price

Another lawsuit has been filed against LAUSD. This despicable act has gone viral on social media involving an 8-year-old boy whose teacher told him to urinate in a trashcan in the classroom instead of letting him use the restroom. I wrote about a few things that went wrong last week in K-12 education, and I mentioned this incident in Inglewood, California.  

The incident is so disturbing that I am almost at a loss for words…almost. But here is what I will say because I cannot imagine that a sane person would do this to a child, I sincerely hope that the teacher, in this case, is evaluated and treated for her issues. I have a hard time believing that there has not been some red flag that has been previously raised regarding the teacher in this case. Teachers who abuse children cause several problems for a school, students and the entire district.  

Of course, the child who was made to pee in a trashcan (no idea why he couldn’t just go to the bathroom) will forever be known as “that kid that peed in the trashcan” causing PTSD, bullying, anxiety, etc., but the other kids who saw this unfold will also be negatively affected. The school will bear the shame of being the place where it went down, Manhattan Place ES. Would you want to send your child there? I wouldn’t! But the greatest cost will be borne by the district and quite frankly by the taxpayers of LAUSD. The district will undoubtedly need to shell out money to the student and family for this horrific and inexplicable incident.

In fact, the family has already hired an attorney and is pursuing legal action. So the question remains: did the school know that this teacher had the propensity to be this evil to her students by having prior bad conduct (or is this a singular incident?), and if it did, which I suspect may be the case, why is she still in a classroom with kids?

One reason could be that districts are afraid of firing or even disciplining teachers, even really awful ones for fear of being sued by the teacher. I am not sure if folks realize how difficult it is to hold teachers accountable and fire them, but it is extremely difficult. In fact, it’s almost entirely unheard of. This needs to change. The cost of litigation to districts that keep bad teachers and/or practice the “pass the trash” policy is increasingly cumbersome in California, a state where many districts already struggle to meet financial obligations.

What do you think?

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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