Jury returns verdict that actions
reported are not against the
law...or does it?
San Diego Union Tribune  
April 3, 2003
It appears that the jury in a case
concerning Alvin Dunn Elementary
School in San Marcos actually believed
that school's actions were illegal, but
that  they wanted to protect school
finances.  Sadly, all they achieved was
to make sure that schools pay large
amounts of taxpayer dollars to lawyers
instead of paying moderate amounts to

This San Diego Union Tribune article
notes, “…jurors told [Shannon
Peterson] outside court that they didn't
approve of the way the boy was treated,
but were concerned about hurting
school finances. “

Perhaps the jury did not realize that the
school district may end up paying more
to lawyers than they would pay to
victims as a result of their lawyers
refusal to settle cases.  Also, the
resulting tendency of schools not to fix
problems may lead to more problems
and more payments to lawyers.

North County Times April 14, 2005
Jack Sleeth says that actions
reported by whiste-blowers are
not against the law.
This article says, “A 10-year-old
classroom helper saw Priest grab Austin
out of a swing by the arm and shake
him, Leavitt said. And still another will
say they saw Priest bend Jessica's
fingers back to her wrist to get her to
color, the attorney told the jury. Leavitt
told jurors that parents and teachers
reported their concerns to the school
principal, Jan Zelasko, but that no
action was taken.”

North County Times May 6, 2005
Jack Sleeth and Escondido
Union School District
Teachers Abusing Students
Do school districts protect teachers
at the expense of students?  

By Jennifer Smith Richards and Jill

Ohio's largest school districts investigated
dozens of teachers for victimizing students
last year but disciplined relatively few, even
when allegations were proved.

The state rarely learned about the
wrongdoing that schools discovered.

Districts showed that they regularly acted
as maverick detectives and disciplinarians
by handling problem teachers on their own,
sometimes even after a state law went into
effect in March that required them to report
when teachers misbehave.

That means that, in many cases, the state
didn't get the opportunity to decide whether
it should suspend or revoke the educators'
licenses -- actions that districts can't take.

A Dispatch analysis of last school year's
teacher investigations in the state's 10
largest districts found:

• The state knew of fewer than 22 percent
of the 189 disciplinary investigations
conducted by the districts.

• Nearly 40 percent of investigations
involved student abuse -- cases in which
educators were accused of hitting, shoving,
swearing at or harassing children.

• The state was more likely to know about
teachers accused of cheating on state tests
than those accused of abusing students.
The Ohio Department of Education has
confirmed it is aware of 10 of the 74
student-abuse investigations that districts
conducted. By comparison, five of eight
educators accused of cheating are either
under investigation by the state or have
been punished already.

Two Cleveland teachers, Roderick Vaughn
and Constance Deminsky, were fired last
school year for "corporal punishment." Both
had histories of anger issues and
previously had been reprimanded by the

Columbus City Schools aide Ethel M.
Johnson was fired for slapping a special-
education student in the face. She denies
the abuse, which brought no criminal

[Maura Larkins' note:  
In San Diego county, teachers do lots
worse than this, and instead of being
fired, SDCOE-JPA pays lawyers millions
to help them get away with it.]
Do taxpayers pay
lawyers to help
bullies/abusers get
away with their
When Teachers Abuse Power

by Heather Johnson
Monday, August 18, 2008

Teaching is a noble profession, one
that demands a great deal of patience
and flexibility. A teacher plays
different roles in the lives of students;
besides giving them an education,
they also act as guides and mentors.
Children spend most of their waking
hours at school, which is why it’s
important for teachers to be
accessible to the students not just as
educators but also as a friend. While
there are some teachers who live in
your memory as the ones that did
make a huge positive impact, there
are others who are remembered for
reasons that are both shameful and a
disgrace to the field of education as a

Teachers are given a degree of
power over the students they teach –
they are trusted by both the school
authorities and the children’s parents
to use that power judiciously and for
the general good of the children. But
there are some bad eggs who give
the entire teaching fraternity a bad
name; they’re the ones who use their
position and authority for their own
purposes, some more horrendous
than others. (contd below)
(contd. from above)
When Teachers Abuse Power
by Heather Johnson

We routinely hear of teachers sexually abusing children in their care;
some of them are so perverted that they film their dirty deeds and sell
them for profits. As if this were not enough, they hold the threat of bad
grades over their students’ heads if they tell anyone what happened.
Statistics state that around 5 percent of teachers and coaches abuse
minors, but this is not a true reflection of the state of events. The
number of incidents that are unreported are much more than those that
are. Most students are afraid to come out in the open fearing the
repercussions – the ostracism from their peers, the future of their
education and the effect the media impact would have on their lives and
that of their loved ones.

Abuse need not be sexual to be detrimental to the well-being of students
– some teachers send children on the wrong path by encouraging them
to smoke, drink and do drugs. Others play favorites in a blatant manner,
with the students who are affected being powerless to do anything to
bring the offenders to book.

The reason that such incidents are widespread is that most students
look up to their teachers and are willing to go to any lengths so that they
are not disappointed in them. A subtle word here and a small hint there
are enough to make these immature minds fall prey to the more cunning
brains of their educators. The only way to prevent this from happening
to your child is to educate him/her in the ways of the world and warn
them of the dangers that could befall them if they are not careful.
Parents must play an active role in every aspect of their children’s lives
and encourage them to report any untoward incident, no matter how
trivial it may seem.

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on
the subject of top online college. She invites your feedback at
heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.
Various stories about
teacher abuse of students
can be found at
Teacher Magazine
The Teacher Effect
By Deborah Hansen
June 11, 2008

“Now, would you read that
paragraph again so we can
understand it this time?” My 5th
grade teacher stood in front of the
class with her hands on her hips as
she threw these cutting words
across the room. I had just read a
section from the daily “out loud” and
now the boy behind me was being
directed to read the same
paragraph again. Her words slashed
through my soul and the humiliation
I felt that day is as fresh and hot as
if it had happened this morning...

What that teacher couldn’t possibly
know that day was that her
thoughtlessness would prompt me to
set a career path to make sure no
other child would face such
humiliation. I became a teacher. For
15 years, I dedicated myself to the
philosophy that a teacher is one of
the most important people in a child’
s life. Our words and our attitudes
have a lasting impact on the minds
and the souls of the children who
are placed in our paths every day.
We must treat these hearts and
souls with the tender care that such
a precious gift deserves.

We never know the damage that
has already been done to a child
when they take a seat in our
classroom. We can’t take the
chance that a child may already be
teetering on the brink, suffering from
abusive relationships or the effects
of poverty. We can’t truly know what
they face at home every day when
they are out of our sight. Our
thoughtless, painful words might be
the ones that push that child over
the edge..
San Diego Education
Albert Truitt case
Schools and Violence
Evaluating teachers