Teacher Ethics

Miramonte case creates trouble for all teachers

"We are working hard to make sure that they have a safe and civil place for them to soar," said Principal Marcia Reed of 186th Street Elementary School in Gardena.

Reed is used to delivering pep talks to students, teachers and parents. And this may be a good time for a pep talk.

Recent teacher arrests at Miramonte Elementary School in Florence have also given Reed a good reason to reinforce guidelines on interaction with students.  She said she begins training her teachers on their roles as educators and mentors from the beginning of the school year

"We meet as a team and we talk about he do's and the don'ts. We make sure teachers are not staying in classrooms alone with children," she said.

"We make sure that our children are going in twos to the restroom. So there's just basic safety things that we make sure is first and foremost in this setting."

Principal Reed also ensures all teachers are well informed of school district regulations and are up to date on child abuse and other bulletins they are mandated to know.

"We have access to the steps we need to take if we see something that we felt was inappropriate," said Claudia Garcia Valles, fourth grade teacher.

"Despite all the bad circumstances, overall we work hard and we do the best we can," she said. "There's just some bad apples in every occupation."

The lessons go beyond the classroom. At the school's annual Super Bowl Rally, employees and parents gathered with local football players to spread what they call a "college going culture." 

There are also monthly meetings with Principal Reed for parents to air any concerns.

"And we welcome them to come to the class and see how we are scoring."

Priscilla Garcia appreciated that. She has a fourth grader and a kindergarten student at the school.

"It's my older son's first year here," Garcia said. "He came from another school, which was a good school as well, but I see a lot going on in this school and I really, really like it."

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