Hundreds of parents and students with questions gathered at Nicolas Junior High in Fullerton Monday night, a meeting that was prompted by the arrest of an 8th grade math teacher accused of molesting two male students.
Melissa Lindgren, 28, was arrested Friday, just five hours after the first alleged victim complained to school officials. According to police, Lindgren was taken into police custody upon admitting to felony sexual misconduct with two male students.
"When we find that they are in an unsafe situation, we will remove that unsafe situation. We will ensure that your kids, come in and they have the rights to learn, and that they have a place that they feel safe," Fullerton School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Pletka said.
The superintendent and the school’s principal took questions from audience members for more than hour.
"We're not trained, we don't automatically know what to tell our kids,” one parent told NBC4.
Some parents said their children were conflicted about what happened because they liked Lindgren.
"We've got an 8th grade daughter that happened to be in the math class the teacher taught. And she really, really loved that teacher,” parent Chris Reisch said. “She explained that that was one of the best teachers that she had had. She was devastated."
Administrators say they promptly notified parents about Lindgren’s arrest.
"I think it was really great that the district took the time to have an event like this. Because as you heard there was quite an outpouring of questions and concerns," another parent told NBC4.
In a statement by the Fullerton School District, the two alleged victims were credited in keeping the school safe.
"The teacher misconduct was reported by two brave students of the District, which is wholly committed to providing an environment where students are encouraged to excel academically, while trusting its leadership, teachers, and staff," the statement said.
Lindgren was released on $100,000 bail. Her arraignment is set for Apr. 9.