Lawsuit alleges school district knew about and ignored sexual assault

image courtesy Ingham County Jail

While if you’ve read a few of these posts (or just haven’t lived under a rock) it’s easy to see all teachers don’t have children’s best interests at heart, some legitimately try to help their charges – only to be thwarted by school administration.

Patrick Daley, 36, of Lansing, Michigan, was convicted last October of 18 counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct, citing the molestation of many young boys (8 of whom testified at the trial) at Washington Woods Middle School, where he taught fifth grade. He was sentenced to between 7 and 15 years in prison. Since then, parents have alleged, in a lawsuit filed by the family of one of the victims, that the school had prior knowledge of Daley’s crimes for a period of at least three years and did nothing other than essentially asking him to tone it down a little.

Daley, who never admitted to his crimes, even at sentencing when begged to do so by mothers of his victims, was never formally investigated by Holt School District, and he was never reported to police. Teachers, staff members, volunteers and students made at least 8 separate reports to the district about Daley’s actions between the 2016-2017 school year and May 2018 (when Daley was finally investigated by Ingham County Sheriff’s Office), according the lawsuit . At least two administrators had conversations with Daley about how he interacted with young boys, the earliest in 2015. In one such conversation, the district’s human resources director told him his actions were very “dangerous and concerning,” but nothing was done other than warn him to maybe stop doing it.

Coworkers and former students of Daley’s admitted that the teacher was known for touching his students, from high-fives to hugs, and that many either didn’t realize or weren’t aware that his behavior had turned inappropriate. Grazing his hand over a male child’s groin, or letting his hand rest on their buttocks for extended periods of time were apparently regular occurrences for Mr. Daley, who preyed on his students’ trust and familiarity with him.

Washington Woods Middle School, in Delhi Charter Township, Michigan, serves approximately 450 students in grades 5 and 6. It has test scores average with the state, and has no other exceptional information – good or bad – to report regarding its makeup or achievements. In other words, it’s just your average middle school.

Prior to molesting children at Washington Woods, Daley worked at Cole Academy in Lansing, a small elementary charter school with about 200 students in grades K-6. Though more diverse than Washington Woods, it still has nothing to set it apart from hundreds of other schools in the country. Daley was let go from Cole as early as 2013 after he was caught sexually harassing male students and watching them shower while on field trips, according to the lawsuit that was filed against the district. No apparent reports were made to police. Daley just found himself another job, and another opportunity to harm innocent children.

In addition to his job diddling young boys, Daley also worked as a high school hockey coach.

Lawsuit: Holt Public Schools ignored multiple reports of sexual abuse by 5th grade teacher

Ex-Holt teacher sentenced to prison for sex assault of fifth-grade students

More students testify in alleged sexual abuse case against former teacher, Patrick Daley

More we know about Patrick Daley

Washington Woods Middle School – GreatSchools

Cole Academy – GreatSchools

Kindergartener brings superhero-stamped bag of heroin to school

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image courtesy Holyoke Police Department

A Massachusetts kindergartener was rushed to the hospital last Thursday after he admitted to teachers that he tasted the contents of the bag he brought to school. Inside the bag, which was stamped with superhero markings, contained a white powder that was later confirmed to be heroin.

Benny Garcia, 29, was arrested later that day, after he was found asleep in his home with 170 bags of heroin around him, as well as bags of cocaine. He’s plead “not guilty” to drug possession and reckless endangerment of a child, when he was arraigned on Friday. The 5-year-old, and an infant sibling, have since been removed from the home. Garcia is being held without bail pending a hearing on November 20.

H.B. Lawrence Elementary School, in Holyoke, MA, is part of Holyoke School District, and serves 285 students in grades K-3. A large majority (91%) of the student population is Hispanic, and 78% of all students qualify as from low-income families. According to GreatSchools, standardized test scores in both reading and math fall way below the state average. The school itself is small and outdated, desperately in need of updating and repairs. The community recently voted down an initiative (which included a property tax increase) to build new schools and take the pressure off some of the smaller, struggling schools.

Kindergartener takes dad’s heroin to school, says it makes him a superhero

Man pleads not guilty after 5-year-old son brings heroin to school, authorities say

H.B. Lawrence Elementary School – GreatSchools

Guest column Patrick O’Connor: ‘Our children deserve this’

Holyoke Public Schools – Middle School Redesign

California sophomore shoots 5 others and himself at high school

nathanielberhow

Nathaniel Berhow is listed as the suspect in a shooting at a local high school that left 2 students dead and another 4, including Berhow, injured. It is said that Berhow, on Thursday, the morning of his 16th birthday, opened fire on his classmates killing 2  and injuring 3 before using the last bullet in the .45-caliber handgun on himself. He remains in “grave” condition.

The entire ordeal lasted approximately 16 seconds.

Berhow is assumed to be half-Japanese; only relevant because this blog aims to show that disturbed children and teachers come from all ethnic backgrounds. His father died from heart failure in 2017 after a long battle with alcoholism. A neighbor attests that it was Nathaniel Berhow who had found his father’s body. A motive for the shooting has not been determined, although Berhow’s mother and girlfriend are both being questioned and the family’s house has been searched, and by all accounts Berhow seems to have appeared a “quiet” and “respectful” teenager,  as well as a good student, athlete, and a long-term Boy Scout, although in recent days one Saugus student claims he noticed the alleged shooter looking different than usual, possibly more depressed. It’s only assumed that nothing was done about it.

Santa Clarita, a city about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, is 70% white and 0.6% Japanese. The median household income is $82,607. Seventy-nine percent of the 715 students at Saugus High School, which serve students in grades 9-12, are white. While test scores and college readiness are at about the state average, parents and students report the school contains teachers that “don’t care,” and students that are quick to bully.

Police look into motive behind California school shooting

What we know about the California school shooting suspect

A community in shock describes suspect they know

Santa Clarita shooting: Dad of Nathaniel Berhow was avid hunter who used to ‘make bullets’: reports

Nathaniel Berhow: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Neighbor Describes Saugus High School Shooting Suspect Nathaniel Berhow’s Family As ‘Good People’

Santa Clarita, California – Wikipedia

Deadly shooting at California high school, Live Updates

Saugus High School – GreatSchools

Teacher forces student to wipe off Ash Wednesday cross

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@artz on UnSplash

Bountiful, Utah, situated less than a half hour north of Salt Lake City, is the state’s 15th largest city. Its residents primarily belong to a Christian sect known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and are often collectively referred to as Mormons. There was, however, no Christian understanding for a fourth grade boy who was forced by his teacher to wipe off his Ash Wednesday cross yesterday.

“I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday,” William McLeod told his friends when they asked what was on his forehead. As one of the few observant Catholics at Valley View Elementary in Bountiful, McLeod said he was the only one who came to school that day with ashes. Apparently, it was too much for his classroom teacher, who later approached him and asked him to remove the religious symbol. He tried to explain his reasons for keeping it, to no avail. McLeod informed his family when he returned home, and they approached the teacher, citing the boy’s First Amendment rights (which are notoriously infringed upon in public schools). The teacher claimed to have never read the Constitution.

Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams apologized, as did the unnamed teacher – the latter, with a handwritten note and candy (interesting to note: many Catholics give up something for the 40 days of Lent, and candy is a common sacrifice). The teacher may face disciplinary action.

If schools in a conservative state like Utah can’t seem to honor people’s religious beliefs (especially when those beliefs are Christian), what hope do more liberal states have? The pressure to keep schools as secular as possible (though, some will argue, the push has more to do with keeping Christianity out of schools, not other religions) has some teachers acting in ways they might not otherwise have thought wise.

Utah teacher forced student to wash off Ash Wednesday cross on forehead, family says

Utah teacher forced student to wash Ash Wednesday cross off his forehead