Special Section: Safe Schools
RIALTO -- Rialto Unified officials take all reports of verbal abuse seriously, Superintendent Harold Cebrun said on Tuesday.
"I would never, ever support someone abusing a student," Cebrun said. "We're going to do our best to take care of things on the district end."
Cebrun was responding to a package of articles in Sunday's San Bernardino Sun, which looked at 18 cases of complaints against teachers in the district over the past five years.
"Every case in the last five years -- we've addressed it," he said.
Also included in Sunday's package was a case from the current school year, when a student's grandmother secretly recorded a third-grade teacher in Henry Elementary school verbally berating his students throughout the day.
"That issue's being handled, just as we speak," Cebrun said.
District officials stressed the 19 cases do not reflect the attitude or work of most of the district's 1,150 teachers, who work with a total of 30,000 students.
"99.99 percent of our teachers are not only highly qualified, but compassionate when it comes to their students," district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said.
Newly elected board member Nancy O'Kelley previously worked in the district as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.
"I used to tell my staff, you treat your students the way you'd want your children treated," she said. "You cannot berate them, mistreat them, or verbally abuse them in any way."
What ultimately will happen to Timothy Braby, the Henry Elementary teacher heard calling students "unintelligent" and telling 8- and 9-year-old students to "grow up" on the digital audio recording, hasn't yet been decided, and full details probably won't be released due to privacy concerns.
"Once an allegation is made, we must give proper time to investigate and take appropriate action," Jafri said. "Be assured that each and every one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated. Our district is committed to doing what's in the best interest of students."
But as of Tuesday, Braby was still in the classroom. According to the mother of one student, nothing had changed after Sunday's article.
"I asked my daughter" on Monday after school, said Rebecca Gomez. "No, he wasn't any different than normal."
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