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North Hollywood Middle School Teacher Removed Pending Police Investigation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia, Sun Contributing Writer   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 02:16


Another school, another teacher removed pending a police investigation.

This time, it's an educator from James Madison Middle School in North Hollywood, located at 13000 Hart St, where parents are visibly concerned about the situation.

"I'm very pissed off," said Vanessa Velasquez, mother of a student at the school and another child who will attend the campus next year.

"This is your child's second home. What do you tell your child, don't trust your teacher now?" she wondered. "You don't know who to trust anymore.

"You least expect it here, but it happens," Velasquez added.

"This is a problem. Our children are there and you want them to be safe. We just want to know what happened because you worry when you hear about this," said Delia Chavez, parent of another student at the school.

On Monday, May 14, Principal Estelle Baptiste sent a letter to parents informing them of the removal, pending the results of an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. The name of the teacher was not revealed.

"The School and District administration have fully cooperated with the authorities. At the direction of the Los Angeles Police Department the details of this incident are confidential and cannot be disclosed. The employee has been removed from campus and will not return until the investigation is complete and the allegations are determined to be unfounded," reads the letter.

"While there is a presumption of innocence in matters of this nature, the District takes each and every reported act of misconduct seriously. We are committed to aggressively pursuing each case to determine the truth and, if necessary, initiate the appropriate disciplinary or administrative measures," the letter continues.

On Tuesday, May 15, the school held a meeting with parents at the auditorium to try to appease their concerns.

But after an hour, many came out dissappointed that they had not learned much more about the situation.

"They don't want to answer any of the questions," said Maritza Munoz, mother of an 11-year-old student at the campus. "No matter what you ask them, they don't want to answer."

Velasquez was also not satisfied at the conclusion of the meeting.

"It's convenient for them to cover up, but I would have wanted to know more," she said.

Since early February, when authorities arrested a pair of teachers at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles over accusations of lewd acts upon students at the campus, allegations of misconduct against children have rocked several other schools.

Two weeks after the arrests at Miramonte Elementary, Paul Adame, 37, a janitor at Germain Elementary School in Chatsworth, was arrested on suspicion of committing a lewd act with a child at that school.

And then, parents at Telfair Avenue Elementary in Pacoima learned that Paul William Chapel, 50, a former educator at the school, had also been arrested several months before and was facing 16 counts of Lewd Acts on a Child involving six victims, including some of his students.