Parents Ask LA Unified for Timely Sexual Assault Notification
Chase Niesner | November 14, 2013
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Parents at Superior Street Elementary in Chatsworth last night pressed LA Unified officials to change district regulations so that the public is notified of sexual assaults on school campuses.
At issue was a three-year-case that only came to light after the LA Times reported back in May that the district awarded damages of $1.4 million to a 9-year girl with special needs who was repeatedly assaulted by a 10-year old male classmate in Superior Street’s after school program. The incident occurred in the Spring of 2010.
District officials said they would consider the request but pointed to privacy regulations that apply in cases of a child on child assault when the District determines that there is no further danger to the school community.
“This is not the case where parents are asking for confidential information,” said Filiberto Gonzalez, a parent representative at Superior Street, an affiliated charter in the West Valley, who helped organize the gathering. “If an abuse occurs on campus, the parents have the right to know about it.”
Stressing that “the perpetrator is immaterial,” Gonzalez and others parents are asking the District to formulate the same kind of policy used for adult-on-child incidents, which requires the District to notify parents and guardians of an incident within 72 hours of the allegations.
About 50 parents attended the meeting, expressing their views to board member Tamar Galatzan and an LA Unified lawyer, Greg McNair.
Gonzalez said parents at Superior Street school feel they should be notified anytime an actual arrest is made regardless of whether the perpetrator is a student or an adult. He said Galatzan agreed to look into a new policy but reminded him that she has one vote among seven on a fractious school board. He said she recommended that a sustained grassroots effort would help build support for change.
Gonzalez said he has started a petition drive and hopes to present a few hundred signatures to the board within a few weeks.