Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department descended on an elementary school in North Hollywood Thursday morning, after several girls came forward with allegations of sexual assault by a teacher's assistant.
LAPD Captain McNeill Gardner was on scene at Oxnard Street Elementary School and told KTLA the department is taking the allegations very seriously. He said detectives were in the process of interviewing some students and parents to determine if any criminal behavior took place.
In a letter to parents, principal Kenny Yau said the teacher's assistant is no longer at the school.
"The purpose of this letter is to inform you of an investigation involving alleged misconduct by a school employee who has been reassigned from campus pending the results of the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department," Yau wrote. "As soon as the school was notified of the alleged misconduct the employee was removed from service."
A mother of a fifth-grade girl, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was notified by Yau on Wednesday about the alleged sexual assault.
"I was called yesterday by the school principal and let me know that one of the teacher's assistants touched my daughter inappropriately, along with seven other little girls," the mother tearfully told KTLA.
Gardner said the investigation would continue until detectives determined exactly what transpired between the teacher's aide and the students.
"If any instructor was touching my children in a way, even though it may not be criminal, but it caused my children to be uncomfortable and me to be uncomfortable as a parent that's clearly not the behavior or expectation we want from our educators," Gardner said. "Our children and our parents deserve far better than that. But again, we need to investigate."
The Los Angeles Unified School District responded to the allegations in a written statement.
"Los Angeles Unified is cooperating fully with the Los Angeles Police Department, which is the lead agency in this investigation," Barbara Jones, LAUSD public information officer, said. "We take all allegations of misconduct very seriously, and remain committed to safety and the well-being of our students."