The Los Angeles Unified School District is once again under fire for alleged teacher misconduct.
The 16-year-old boy who filed the suit was involved in a sexual relationship with his 28-year-old Biology teacher at San Pedro High School. The relationship began in May of last year and lasted for two months. In July, the boy informed his mother of the relationship and the teacher, Michelle Yeh, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of unlawful sex and child molestation which involved three 15 and 16-year-old boys. Yeh pled no contest and was sentenced three years and eight months in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life upon her release.
The three boys testified that Yeh began to groom them for inappropriate conduct soon after she began teaching at San Pedro. They claimed that she lured them with video games, shoes, trips to Disneyland, alcohol, marijuana, and even Xanax. They also stated that she often sent them flirtatious text messages. In one of them Yeh said, “I want more kissing. Next time just sit back, relax and let me make out with you all I want..Just sit back, relax and let me work my magic.”
The lawsuit claims that the LAUSD was negligent in its care of the boys by failing to take action on previous accusations of misconduct by Yeh:
Had (district officials) properly investigated, supervised, trained, and monitored Yeh’s conduct and actions as a teacher…they would have discovered that she was unfit to be employed as a teacher. By failing to adequately supervise, monitor, or investigate, (the district) allowed Yeh to continue, unhindered with her predatory conduct directed toward underage students. Daily Breeze, 19 Feb 2016.
This is not the only recent case of teacher misconduct in the LAUSD. Elkis Hermida, 28, engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl for just over six months in 2011. In that case, the LAUSD has attempted, and continues to attempt, to place a portion of blame on the student. The most high profile, though, is perhaps the case involving Mark Berndt. He was a third-grade teacher accused of lewd acts with dozens of students at Miramonte Elementary School in 2012. He was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison; the LAUSD also paid almost $170 million the children and families affected.
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