Target: Dr. John E. Deasy, Superintendent of Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District
Goal: Provide greater transparency of employees in school system without impeding on their right to privacy.
With more than half of the year already accounted for, 2012 will not be easily forgotten. While much can be said about making an impression, this year has seen its fair share of controversy; and unfortunately, child abuse has been a recurring theme. From middle schools to renowned college campuses, accusations of misconduct have soured much of the country’s opinion of the educational system.
In places like Los Angeles County, the anxiety and the distrust is coming to a head. It was at the end of January this year when Mark Berndt, a teacher at Los Angeles’ Miramonte Elementary School was arrested and charged with multiple counts of lewd conduct with 23 children. Not long after, another teacher from the same school was also arrested. Since then, many more stories have emerged that have depicted teachers and other school workers in precarious circumstances with students. It is no wonder, then, why so many parents have had it and are taking action against the school system.
One of the biggest grievances voiced by parents was that they were left unaware of the types of allegations surrounding school employees. “As a parent, I feel like I have a right to know,” said Maria Lopez, who has a daughter at Long Beach’s Stevenson Elementary School. Schools and teachers for the most part, argue on the side of privacy, while parents demand for greater disclosure. In order to ensure a stronger trust, there needs to be a solid compromise between the two.
Dear Dr. Deasy,
Allegations of misconduct involving school employees and students are placing a divide between school employees and parents of children within the Los Angeles Unified School District. With the stream of new cases emerging continuously, many parents are feeling blind-sided by the school system they thought they could trust.
In order to bridge the gap and strengthen the trust between parents and school staff, common ground needs to be reached by the two sides. The best way to ensure this is to find a compromise that allows staff a certain level of privacy and parents a certain level of disclosure. In many situations, honesty is the best policy—and so should it be with Los Angeles Unified School District.
[Your Name Here]