Paloma Valley High School is under investigation by the ACLU, the granddaddy of “You did WHAT now?!” establishments after a laundry list of incidents involving discrimination, homophobia, and ineptitude on the staff’s part.
Students were prevented from participating in National Gay & Lesbian History Month, the victims of bullying are being disciplined rather than their harassers, and in one case, a teacher even wrote an “S” for sinner on a student’s hand.
Teachers and students took their concerns to Paloma Valley administrators, the school board and the ACLU. District officials say they are addressing the complaints.
“We take them very, very seriously,” said Leslie Ventuleth, spokeswoman for the Perris Union High School District and its chief human resources officer.
Uh…except it sounds like you don’t at all. The ACLU doesn’t get involved with institutions that are doing an outstanding job of protecting American Civil Liberties all on their own.
Concern over their students’ welfare prompted Machado and teacher Elizabeth Darovic to speak out. Darovic helped form the Paloma Valley Gay Straight Alliance several years ago and is still an adviser.
“It’s your responsibility as a teacher to support kids,” said Darovic, an English teacher.
About 30 to 50 students, not all of them gay, attend weekly alliance meetings after school. Students have grown increasingly frustrated about the southwest Riverside County school’s climate, the teachers said. Some have filed formal complaints with the school district. Others spoke publicly at school board meetings.
“It doesn’t feel like a safe place to them,” Darovic said, but nothing happens when they complain. “There have been no consequences.”
Teachers and students cited several issues and incidents that have occurred recently, most during the current school year. In one instance, a teacher drew an “S” on a student’s hand and repeatedly referred to the student, who was wearing a T-shirt that read “Gay is Good,” as a sinner throughout class, according to a complaint with the district provided by a teacher.
The school says the teacher was “dealt with,” not fired. Students say the scarlet letter teacher struck more than once. Additionally, a student who argued back after being called a gay slur was suspended two separate times, while his assailant went unpunished. Students say they are the victims of hate crimes on school grounds that teachers and administrators refuse to do anything about.
Wowzers. It sounds like Paloma Valley High School needs to check itself. We’re so glad that students felt empowered enough to launch formal complaints and call upon the ACLU to protect themselves from a school that obviously is failing to do so. This situation should (But won’t if any of the myriad of schools in similar hot water for failing to protect their students from harassment is any indication) open the eyes of teachers and administrators across the nation. The jig is up. Do your job!
We’re horrified at the scarlet letter teacher, and Paloma Valley High School’s continued employment of the jerk. Thoughts?
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