Dozens of parents came out for the Redlands Unified School Board Meeting Tuesday night to call attention to what they claim are decades of child sexual abuse in the school system.
Many of the parents said teachers and school administrators have covered up the allegations and are now demanding transparency and action. Renewed concerns about potential sexually predatory teachers within Redlands Unified follows a CBS News investigation from earlier this month.
Tuesday night’s school board meeting is the first since the report was broadcast.
“It’s outrageous and they should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen,” Redlands resident and parent Melissa Castro said.
The crowd attending the meeting was too large to fit inside the school board’s meeting room, leaving many people to watch the deliberations from a monitor in the parking lot.
“We need to clean up the whole Redlands School Board and get people in there who are really going to protect our children,” Castro added.
According to the CBS report, Redlands school administrators repeatedly dismissed claims of sexual abuse, failed to report allegations to authorities and even pressured some alleged student victims and suspected abusers to move to other schools or districts.
CBS reports that in the last 10 years, more than 50 Redlands students have sued their former school over alleged sexual abuse and that the district has paid out more than $41 million in settlements over the past decade to former students who alleged teachers had sexually abused them.
“You expect that when you send your child to school that they’re going to be safe,” resident and parent Candy Olson said.
Olson and her daughter, Ava, who is a Redlands student, both addressed the school board and demanded better accountability.
“They act like they’re going to do something about it, but they never do, and nothing ever happens,” Ava said. “So, I feel like if I say something that happens, they won’t do anything about it.”
Ava and her friend, Alyssa Ashmore, both described a teacher at their former middle school who they claimed behaved inappropriately.
“He would stare at me when I’d walk away or walk by,” Ashmore said. “And he would make comments about how my shorts fit me, which I don’t think he has any say on that. He shouldn’t say anything about me or my body and talked about rubbing oil on our body and just inappropriate things like that.”
KTLA was unable to speak to members of the Redlands School Board, but did speak to a law firm representing many of the student victims who said that they currently have nine sexual abuse cases in litigation with the school district and at least 20 prior cases.