Long Beach Poly High Teacher Placed on Leave Amid Allegations of Verbal, Physical Abuse in Classroom

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A Long Beach Polytechnic High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave for the second time this year as allegations of physical and verbal abuse, including using a racial slur, surfaced online this week.

A statement from the Long Beach Unified School District on Tuesday said teacher Libby Huff was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 13 as it investigated a complaint. Upon completion of that probe, she was allowed to resume teaching at the high school on Feb. 12, the district said.

But new complaints led district officials to place Huff on another paid administrative leave on Feb. 14, according to the School District.

District officials did not describe the nature of any of the complaints, saying that it’s “not at liberty to provide details of such investigations, but we consider the safety and wellbeing of our students to be our top priority.”

A post on the online publishing platform Medium dated Feb. 13 detailed allegations against Huff, who taught business at the high school. Her LinkedIn page says she has worked at Poly High for 14 years and led the expansion of the school’s Pacific Rim Business Academy.

According to a mission statement included in Poly High’s 2018-2019 state School Accountability Report Card, the program “focuses on career courses in international trade and finance” and offers smaller class sizes, college preparation classes and learning experiences involving the academy’s business community partnership committee.

The Medium post, signed only as “Students of the PacRim Academy of Long Beach Polytechnic High School,” says of Huff: “She has put her hands on many of us students on multiple occasions and has verbally abused us as well.”

The post continues to list 31 statements it says were submitted by students grades nine to 12.

Many alleged physical abuse, including striking students and throwing objects at them. Others accused Huff of using a racial slur.

“While she is the heart of our program all actions come with consequences and I as a black student do not feel comfortable being in a class with a teacher who feels that is ok to use the n-word towards another black student and not feel repercussions,” one statement said.

Paloma Murillo, a senior at Poly High, told KTLA that some of her classmates were surprised by the accusations. Others were disappointed, she said.

A spokesperson for the Long Beach Police Department told the Long Beach Post on Monday that an investigation into a child abuse complaint against Huff was underway.

On Tuesday, police told KTLA that the Department of Children and Family Services alerted them about accusations of criminal behavior by a teacher at the school. The Police Department initially said the probe involved Huff, but later backtracked, saying that it could not confirm the identity of the teacher under investigation.

The agency indicated that four minors reported being victims of abusive behavior at Poly High.

“The Department immediately sent officers to contact the four juvenile victims and reports were taken to document the alleged abuse,” police told KTLA in a statement. “Detectives from the Child Abuse Detail are actively investigating the allegations and are in the process of reviewing the reports and determining if any additional victims and/or witnesses need to be contacted.”

The Police Department did not disclose any further details about the case but asked anyone who has relevant information to contact child abuse investigators at 562- 570-7321.

As of Tuesday, Huff has not publicly commented about the accusations against her.

Poly High serves a diverse student body of about 4,100 enrollees, the school’s most recent state report card shows. More than 90% of the graduating class of 2018 continued their education at a two-year or four-year college, with scholarship offers worth more than $32 million.

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