I’ve been thinking a lot about the scandal at Miramonte elementary school in Los Angeles. Clearly, the climate at the school needed to change, but removing all teachers (and staff) seems a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or as the president of the teachers union said, like “using a hatchet where a scalpel might be better.” From my (limited) experience, teachers who are able to get away with sexual abuse are often a symptom of a larger problem.
I taught at a school in a neighborhood similar to the one where Miramonte is—working class. There was little oversight by the students’ parents because they were working long hours, did not have college degrees and had limited English skills. Thus, they are hesitant to question the school staff.
Possible solutions to prevent this from happening, without displacing the whole school staff:
- Break the school into smaller schools (1,200 students is far to large for one school)
- Provide more classes for the parents (on weekends and evenings for parents who are working many hours).
- Hire more teachers who speak Spanish, and offer Spanish classes for teachers who don’t speak Spanish