Teacher Arrest in East Bay Reminds Us To Prioritize School Safety

Every morning, like millions of other parents around the country, I get my daughter ready to have a successful day at school. She eats breakfast, gets some words of encouragement from me and my husband, and then she is off to experience her early elementary years. She is fortunate to have had teachers in her life who love and care for her since her time in early childhood education. My husband and I have always made it a priority to establish a presence within her classroom teachers to grow our sense of trust amongst her. This trust and relationship is essential to positive outcomes for students. We entrust teachers with our children in the hopes that they will build positive relationships and become additional role models for our students.

Hundreds of parents at Gomes Elementary school in the East Bay Area woke up to troubling news this morning due to the recent arrest of one of their teachers. The Mercury News reported, “An elementary school teacher was arrested Thursday on suspicion of having child pornography in his possession, authorities said. Gerald Jue, described by school officials as a third- and fourth-grade teacher, was arrested at his home in Contra Costa County and booked into county jail.”

This story is one that parents hope to never hear about the adults we entrust with our children. Additional details published in The Mercury News article stated that no children of Gomes Elementary were “involved with the material recovered.” The Fremont School District has hired additional staff to support the students whose education and instruction will be interrupted with the surfacing of these news.

As a parent of an early elementary school student, I would be horrified to learn about similar accusations made for the adults at my daughter’s school. With the recent increase in school shootings, rising rates of mental illness amongst young people, and other shocking headlines recently, school safety has been called into question and needs to be prioritized by lawmakers and school leadership. Teachers and parents are part of a special team of adults working together to maximize the child’s opportunity for success. When members of this ever important team lack trust, it can have a direct negative impact on the personal and academic well being of the student.  

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Daniela Felix

Daniela Felix

Daniela is a first generation college student who is heavily involved in education in her home district, West Contra Costa Unified. After becoming a mother at a young age, Daniela’s passion for education justice only intensified and she began to fight for an equitable education for all children, regardless of background or zip code. Daniela played a key role in organizing parents with the California Charter Schools Association and is a firm believer in school choice for all families. She is currently a Lead Organizer with Students for Education Reform, organizing college students around education justice issues in her home district. She was recently accepted into Teach for America and plans to continue impacting the lives of children in her hometown of Richmond, CA as a high school social studies teacher. Daniela is a UC Berkeley senior pursuing her B.A. in Legal Studies and Education along with her 4 year old daughter and husband. Daniela is a firm believer in that every single child is capable of meeting high expectations if given the correct support. Daniela hopes to be a provider of that support.

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