UPDATE: On Friday September 22, the Coachella Valley Unified School District told KMIR News the teacher accused of abuse was no longer in the classroom. They could not give tell us if it was permanent or temporary but they do say it’s a result of their prompt investigation. They say the wheels began turning from the first accusation and the process took some time and their students’ safety is a priority.
Nayeli Juarez, who was among the mothers who made a formal complaint against the fourth grade teacher, says the change was a result of them publicly complaining about the teacher and the lack of action.
The student says she’s happy the district removed the teacher and grateful. She hopes the students learn to speak up if someone is hurting or frightening them and wishes them a productive school year.
A student at Cesar Chavez Elementary School says she used to love school and was looking forward to the fourth grade, but her teacher wasn’t what she expected, "I missed two days because I wasn’t safe … I thought she was going to be less mean."
She says one incident in particular made her not want to go back to class, "She threw a book at a child and he accidentally fell back so that’s when I didn’t feel comfortable because later on I though what if she does that to me and what if I get hurt?" adding that what led up to the incident makes her angry, "he just showed her work and then she said, ‘Don’t bother me,’ because it was wrong so that’s when I got mad because she did that to a child and you’re supposed to be there to help them."
Her mom says she didn’t know what was happening until the child’s grandmother told her about their conversation, "She said __________ doesn’t want to go to school she’s scared," adding when she sat down with her daughter to discuss her fears, her daughter told her about the book incident and more.
While Juarez says there’s no excuse for a teacher to act that way, she wanted to know if there was a reason, "But did you give her attitude? And she was like, ‘no mommy,’ she says,’she yells at us a lot.’"
Juarez says when she went to speak with the principal she found other angry parents there complaining about the same teacher who told her similar stories, so she felt she had only one choice, "I told the principal she wasn’t coming back until she was moved and they were able to move her."
But the the principal told her they could not take the teacher out of the classroom, "He said that there was a process for teachers because she just got contracted with the school … but when I found out she yanked a boy I said what else is it going to take to remove a teacher she should have been removed right on the spot?"
Juarez says the school district should at least remove her until they are investigating the claim.
Now Juarez and her daughter both worry for the other students left behind.
"After what she’s doing to the children, I don’t want her here," says the little girl.
KMIR News did not use the name of the teacher in this story and won’t until we get the opportunity to speak with her about these claims.