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The Summit charter chain has 9 schools so far, 7 in California and now 2 in Washington State. Their plan is to open an additional school in California in the fall of 2016 and 1 more in 2017 in Washington State for a total of 11 charter schools by 2017.
They call what they do “Personalized Learning” which means putting students in front of computers for the greater part of the day and having the student “go at their own pace”.
With this sort of “teaching”, you don’t need a lot of experience and in fact the “Principal” of the Summit charter school that opened in Seattle has only the teaching experience as a Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) recruit. TFA recruits come out of college, receive five weeks of training and then are placed in charter schools with the most vulnerable of our children, most of them minority students for a two to three year stint. Most of the graduates do not have a degree in Education.
I received an email from a parent in California recently about something that had happened in one of the California Summit charter schools and was taken back.
Unfortunately adults taking advantage of underage children happens all too often but what concerned me about this situation is that, according to the reports I read in various local news outlets, the story was the same, in fact they all read like they came from the same press release.
This is the story. There was a call to the local police department by a parent who had heard that a student at one of the Summit charter schools had been sexually abused by a teacher. What was interesting in most of the news reports is this sentence:
Detectives discovered the charter school had already identified the alleged suspect and victim.
So what does that mean? The charter school did their own investigation and found out there was a teacher abusing a student but decided not to report it to the police department? The Summit charter school was going to deal with it in their own way? They didn’t feel a sense that they needed to report this horrid infraction to the police department?
My guess is that, because they are not part of a school district, there is no established legal process in place, there are no required steps to be taken to report a crime.
Before parents sign their children up for any charter school in our state, they need to get the facts from whatever small amount of state oversight there is on what the responsibilities are of the charter school because Summit doesn’t seem to have an established procedure they feel they need to go by. That’s apparent when a parent has to call the police department to get a teacher arrested based on a rumor at a school.
To follow is the same article that appeared in at least 6 local newspapers.
From the SF Gate:
San Jose teacher arrested for allegedly having sex with student
The teacher, 29-year-old San Jose resident Zachary Drew, was also booked on three felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor. Drew was a teacher at Summit Tahoma Charter School, where rumors about his alleged sexual relationship with a student spread to a concerned parent, who informed authorities last week of the allegations.
When detectives in the San Jose Police Department launched their investigation, they discovered that the school had already concluded an internal investigation and identified the suspect.
After police secured a warrant for his arrest, Drew turned himself in at the Santa Clara County Main Jail on Wednesday, police said.
In a statement, the school said it “regretfully” confirmed Drew’s arrest and said it was “working closely with law enforcement.
The following local news outlets parroted the same news report:
South Bay http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/San-Jose-Teacher-Arrested-for-Alleged-Sex-with-Student-Police-370213461.html
The San Jose Mercury News http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_29564846/san-jose-teacher-arrested-alleged-sex-student
For more on Summit charter schools, see: