Friday, February 28, 2014

Tony Brandenburg: Where is the Outrage?

Renatta REM'n?
One Mule for Sister Renny 
Back in the 2010-2011 school year Renatta Cooper was the School Board President, and her co-pilot was a talking mule named Mr. Ed Honowitz. I mention this because in the cast of characters that follows, these two were calling the shots.

Loco Mosquitos
There was a great deal going on in the district. In Sierra Madre a pair of pesky parents named the Brandenburgs were asking a bunch of questions about hazardous materials that were strewn around the Sierra Middle School campus and about an ominous retaining wall that was holding back several metric tons of soil and lurking above the classroom bungalows that housed a group of preschoolers at the Sierra Madre Elementary Campus.

For more than two years the couple had been calling the PUSD hired building contractors (and who are remarkably no longer around), the Sierra Madre Fire Department, the Sierra Madre Building Inspector, OSHA, the PUSD Chief of Maintenance (also remarkably no longer around), the principals, the Board of Education and anyone else they could, in order to ensure safety for the children at the Sierra Madre public schools.

As this was occurring, a second grade teacher had been designated by the school as an "Inclusion Teacher." This is a position which generally offers more money, classroom aides, and support services. She became the Brandenburg child's teacher. She had begun her role by stating to a staff member that she was going to "fix the problem" and did so by allowing an environment of hysteria, gossip, and discrimination to fester, boil, and then explode.

When the smoke cleared enough for us - the Brandenburgs - to see, our seven year old autistic child had been petitioned out of his class by our neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. People we believed were our supports on the PUSD staff betrayed our child and family. The former Director of Special Education Elizabeth Blanco, the former Superintendent Edwin Diaz, and then current Board Vice President Ed Honowitz, along with former school Principal (and current cushy retirement recipient) Gayle Blumel, and teacher (the then teacher of the Brandenburg's son) United Teachers of Pasadena  Area Director Yolanda Munoz may have all shared confidential information about the autistic child with community parents. Some of whom were on the Sierra Madre PTA and Sierra Madre School Site Council.

The ensuing storm and bullying by the Sierra Madre community is now well documented on the internet and, sadly, has been repeated in other communities across the world. However, for what it's worth, parents of autistic children and children with emotional needs and regulatory challenges have found strength in what we've gone through, and we consistently meet people who thank us for doing and saying what they are uncomfortable saying.

We have been tireless advocates for these children, and will continue to be.

The Marshall Plan
In any event, as the crisis began to unravel at the beginning of the 2010/2011 school year, we realized that the upper campus was not a safe place for our middle child due to contaminants and dust which adversely impacted his asthma. We moved him to the school his older sister attended, Marshall Fundamental. It is a middle school/high school in PUSD.

Marshall Fundamental, unlike the Sierra Madre campuses, is a gated school. This is, and has been one of our safety concerns for Sierra Madre. It is no longer a torch we carry, and I can only say that I have tried to see one built for the safety of the children from predatory adults and adult bullies. Good luck with that.

A Predator on Campus
Not that it matters much to keep away the danger from without,  when there is danger from within.

Marshall also employs four security staff. I don't know if this is typical among the PUSD schools, but I assume it is because over the years there have been issues that have arisen about security.The security staff in 2014 have been very pleasant and helpful to me, as a parent.

However, in 2010/2011 there was something going on under the surface, and ended with a security guard in jail, and the sexual abuse of 16 year old girl.

On March 17, 2011 the story broke. Sort of. It got some coverage locally, but most of the information available was spotty.

Brian Charles covered the story for the Pasadena Star News (click here) -

Felony sexual assault charges have been filed against Shawn "J Silky" Johnson, a 30-year-old security guard at Marshall Fundamental School in Pasadena, according to documents provided Friday by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office … 

The charges stem from a March 3 incident where Johnson sent text messages to a 16-year-old female student at Marshall and arranged a meeting outside of school, said Scott Phelps, a PUSD board member, and school board liaison to Marshall Fundamental …

"The school acted quickly to place the employee on leave and launch an investigation immediately upon hearing that there may have been improper behavior," said Binti Harvey, PUSD spokeswoman in a statement released Friday. "The matter was subsequently referred to the Pasadena Police Department, and a criminal investigation is now under way." …

While the PUSD learned of Johnson's actions on March 9, the district didn't release any information to the public until Friday.

It is close to three years later, but even now the outcome of the case is unclear. I asked a PUSD official who stated that the security employee was "Immediately put in jail when it was discovered. I assume conviction later as I think they had texts between guy and student."

Still, I was not able to find any follow up articles. I do remember when the story broke, however because shortly before it did our children came home shortly and shared that they had heard hushed whispers between students, that students were talking, and that something bad had occurred.

Though they were younger than the student, they knew who she was. They shared concerns that the girl was being talked about, teased, and ridiculed. Then the child was no longer at the school.

We made numerous calls to the school and shared our concern that the child receive counseling. We also requested a school-wide anti-bullying program be implemented immediately.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Nada.

PUSD Bully Central 
It was clear to us that bullying was rampant throughout the district and the immediate school communities via the internet.

We were dealing with it ourselves, with frequent pummeling leveled at us by pusddad, and a few Sierra Madre community members who changed their names more often than they wax their mustaches. That stuff was all over the  Pasadena Meekly and the Sierra Madre Patch.

Those were left un-moderated because, hey, it was an entertaining bloodbath and it was driving up the web traffic of those sites. Go community based bullying!

See, the people doing the bullying were too knowledgeable about our situation to be from outside of the school community. By that I mean that they were working with our child, and/or were being fed information from an administrative level. They have never come forward to admit what they've done because now they know we will call them all out.

These are the people who set the bar for the children, and who set the example for what acceptable internet behavior looks like. Is it any wonder that the behavior transfers right back into the school.

Something to consider in the pattern of bullying. I have watched how Renatta Cooper speaks to people she doesn't like, and I can read the writing on the wall. As long as the Board President treats the Board, staff, and the outsider parents the way I have observed, that pattern of behavior can be expected to continue elsewhere in the district.

As it has toward the staff via newspaper editorials and propaganda masked as articles, so shall the cycle continue to trickle right on down to the kids.

As far as I am concerned, Renatta Cooper lacks the respect necessary to serve the communities she was elected to serve. She will never step down. I don't believe she gives a crap about any of us.

Chewin' the Fat
And remember, when all of this stuff went terribly wrong in the lives of a number of PUSD families, our Board President was Renatta Cooper, the Vice President was Ed Honowitz, and that Superintendent was Edwin Diaz. Diaz suddenly resigned on February 23, 2011 with a statement that caught many people by surprise.  Not me.  He was still acting superintendent as far as I can tell.

At that time, the top interest of Peter Dreier and the Pasadena Weekly was the continuing saga of the two board members that Petey helped fund. Apparently they went rogue on him. So the verbiage focused on complaints about the schism on the board. Everything was about Ramon Miramontes this, and Scott Phelps that. Not anything about this child at Marshall, though. Nothing.

And Now For Something Completely Useless
Sooner or later these quasi-political groups are going to need to stop lying to the public about their party affiliations. ACT and IIPK would like to convey the belief that they are non-partisan. That is simply untrue. Additionally, they continue to follow the lead of their nutty professor, and harbor the same passive-aggressive grudges.

Now, there is no love for the IIPK in my heart. I have a list of their steering committee and found a  number of people on the list that were directly or indirectly involved in the mob mentality that targeted my child back in 2010. That apparently is OK. Only some children deserve the IIPK love, I suppose.

Anyhow, the IIPK had no updates to its bulletins after the Eight Guiding Principles spiel they ran up the Pasadena City Council's proboscis last year.  Until Blow Dreier attacked Ramon Miramontes, that is. Then the venom came out fast and furious. Bam.

Not just one, but two pieces hostile toward Miramontes in one week (click here and here). Tell me this isn't an openly political group. I'll tell you that at least two of the people directly involved in IIPK were involved in what happened to my child. It was a foul-up we weren't supposed to figure out.

The saga of Ramon Miramontes’ questionable “contract” with PUSD continues, as reflected in new revelations disclosed in articles in the Pasadena Weekly and the Pasadena Star-News last week.  Both the Pasadena Weekly article, “A closer look”,  and the Star-News article, “Pasadena Unified School Board President halts Consulting Contract with former School Board member“, report on the controversy over an alleged agreement between PUSD Superintendent Jon Gundry and Miramontes to have the former school board member get paid as a consultant to the district soon after he left the board.

More of it can be found at the above links, but it doesn't really tread new ground. However, Since Steve Cole's public comment at the January 30th Board meeting seem to supersede the Dreier article, Miramontes may want to have his attorney take a close look at the footage to see if there are other geese to cook. Sooner or later one of them will squawk and cough up the plumpest hen in the hen-house.

In any event, a female child was assaulted at a PUSD school in 2011. Assaults on women may be so commonplace at Accidental College that it's numbed the dumb, but I again ask. Where is the outrage?

Here's the Outrage 
In an essentially ignored story run last week, the now 19 year-old young woman has filed a lawsuit against PUSD. Posted by Michelle Mowad and picked up by the Altadena Patch (click here).

A young woman is suing Pasadena Unified School District and a former PUSD security guard who she alleges sexually abused her when she was a student at Marshall Fundamental High School.

The 19-year-old plaintiff, identified in the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Monday as Jane Doe, alleges sexual abuse of a minor, negligence and breach of a district's mandatory duty to supervise and protect students.

According to the suit, the plaintiff was 16 when she was in the 11th grade at Marshall Fundamental High during the 2010-11 school year. The guard, Shawn Johnson, was 30 and ... In early March 2011......picked up the girl and drove her to an isolated location where he "manipulated, sexually assaulted and sexually abused her," the suit states. Instead of protecting the plaintiff, Johnson "took advantage of the minor," according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that the PUSD negligently hired, supervised and retained Johnson. The girl confided in her father in March 2011, but did not do so earlier because of alleged threats of retaliation by Johnson, the suit states.

No monetary amount is enough, but I sincerely hope this young woman is able to teach a well deserved lesson to PUSD about the value of our most precious commodity. Apparently, it's been lost in the flotsam and jetsam.

I hope that she can find peace in her life.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

62 comments:

  1. http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/crime/2014/02/27/hln-vo-sot-principal-drags-student-hallway.hln.html

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  2. The Pasadena area has more private schools than anywhere else in the entire country.

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    Replies
    1. But they are not community schools.

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    2. No, they don't pass out carrots and pity. They just teach math and science.

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  3. Pasadena Weekly laid off the Dreier vs. Miramontes story this week. Even they know Petey from Accidental College is starting to smell like week old fish.

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  4. Great educators need naps.

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  5. Haven't seen a story like this one in a while. From the city's Facebook page:

    TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Santa Anita Canyon Road (Chantry Road) is closed due to rock slides on the roadway. It will remained closed until Saturday morning.

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  6. was there an accident in town last week involving a sm police car?

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    Replies
    1. City Hall refuses to say. You could file a PRA, but the City Mangler wouldn't honor it, and the City Attorney would cover her back.

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    2. another city coverup.

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    3. I asked the guys at Taylor's about it, they said that no SMPD car crashed at their corner. New urban legend.....

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    4. He could have been counting apples when it happened, you know.

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    5. The guy at taylors is wrong there where a lot of people who saw it , Friday 5:00 ish everybody downtown and all the kids

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  7. How fitting, City Mangler.

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  8. A first hand account of what happened with this latest police incident has already been posted on this blog.

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  9. 8;25 Yes I posted it last week on this blog

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    Replies
    1. But has the city owned up to it? I haven't seen anything from the city mangler or pd chief.

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    2. I witnessed what happened.

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  10. change of subject again, the old lumberyard on Montecito is going to have a new owner and is in Escrow

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    Replies
    1. huh. I wonder what the plans for it are.

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    2. Any idea who the purchaser is?

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    3. More MacMansion lovers? They sure are popping up around town. Check out what's going on on Grandview across from the school field.

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    4. I'm pretty certain that is where the homeless shelter is going.

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  11. FYI -- Yesterday's post on City of Sierra Madre's sky high employee benefits is starting to go viral. haven't had one of those in a few months.

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  12. Don't give any credit to the Altadena Patch, Tony. The story is by City News Service, a wire service that all the Patches (and many other news organizations) subscribe to. Michele Mowad is the one in charge of several of the zombie Patch sites.

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    Replies
    1. Patch's new owners are turning it into a recipe site. Their traffic numbers must be in the basement by now.

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    2. Just landed in O'ahu......

      I tagged the patch mostly to let our local pages k ow they are dropping the ball on this one.

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    3. Sure miss Brian Charles. But hey, Andre and Petey are still here.

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  13. In other news ... someone with inside knowledge told me that the school/community plan is really an attempt by the school district to offload a bunch of expenses onto the city of Pasadena. We'll have lots of meetings, decide that the kids need more social services, and persuade Pasadena to pay for them. Brilliant! Except the Pasadena City Council is smarter than the school board and knows what's going on, my source tells me, so this whole thing is Kabuki. It still fits in with my theory that Prof. D. is trying to bring down the system by increasing the burden of entitlements, which will of course require the productive to be taxed more heavily. How better to do that than under cover of the school district? It's for the children. IIPUSDK is currently circulating a petition demanding more state money for education, just so you know.

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    1. The IIPK plan does not include Ramon Miramontes, hence the attack. They can't stand the thought of a Latino being directly involved in the planning and implementation if change in the Latino community unless he is one who bends to the wills of a bunch of radical left old white guys.

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    2. The Great White Fathers are the givers of all that is good. Do not bother them with things that they do not care to hear.

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  14. In honor of Renatta Cooper, we shall all take a nap, now.

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  15. Renatta Cooper attended Pacific Oaks College. Disrespect was not offered there. Shame on you Ms. Cooper.

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  16. We don't need someone hateful leading the PUSD Board. It's no wonder parents choose to send their children to private school.

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  17. The Pasadena Unified School District was murdered by Cooper, Dreier, Selinski and Honowitz.

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    Replies
    1. So why are Cooper and Selinski still there?

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    2. They are richly dining on its carcass.

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  18. Tony: the lack of outrage is probably because 16 year old girls have been having consensual sex with older guys for thousands of years. Its not acceptable now, especially with a security guard and a school girl but is hardly hot news nor an indictment on a school district. It looks like you are fishing for anything to disparage the PUSD because your quest to exact revenge for the ejection of your child from his regular classroom over two years has gone nowhere. It is clear now that except for you, Mary and your internet parents of autistic children support group that he was not ready at that time for a regular classroom. Get over it. Go down to the courthouse and see what happened to the security guard instead of suggesting he walked because of the evil PUSD establishment that has well served autistic kids not named Brandenburg. PUSDDAD

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    1. Is that you, Peter?

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    2. "Consensual" huh?
      Creep.

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    3. Maybe that was posted by the nude selfie city council candidate.

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    4. You know, it could be Dreier. You know how tolerant they are of rape over at Occidental.

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    5. I disagree 9:11. Mr. Brandenberg has done an excellent job of educating the community about the state of the PUSD.

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    6. Pretty sure that comment comes from an old white guy.

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    7. It is widely believed that PUSDAD is Peter Dreier.

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    8. What a creepy little dude.

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    9. 9:11, "consensual"? You wish, huh?

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    10. The enigma of the coward known as pusdad lay in the inconsistencies in his thinking. Even to negate another, or to defend PUSD I don't think Dreier would stray from his political foundation. A "consensual relationship" between an older man and a child is a power imbalance he'd never accept. No. This isn't a post from Pickeled Pete.

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    11. This is a creepy dude though. He's been too interested in my family's issues for too long. His inappropriate statements show a general lack of understanding of the issues, and his implication that this us a revenge mechanism is too simple of an analysis.

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    12. But ultimately, you sniveling piece of dung, this is about a broken machine that needs to be broken up. Altadena and Sierra Madre need to secede from the pusd. This is not about my youngest child, it is about all three, and all of the families who needed to flee to private, and all of the children still stuck in the mire that is pusd.

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    13. (I never said I believed the guard walked. I said the story stopped receiving coverage. And, it has. Including the lawsuit.)

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    14. PUSD is known for covering up blatant cases of abuse and molestation. They send the abuser away, the child to a different campus and cross their collective fingers and hope the crap doesn't hit the fan.

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    15. Worked for years for the catholic church.

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    16. Where have you been pussdad? It took the justification of child molestation in the PUSD to smoke you out of the cave you've been hiding in?

      We were correct in our statements regarding what happened, and there was in fact a district cover up of the situation. And this is not just clear to myself, and my internet supporters of autistic children BTW. This politically fueled scandal has made it to the ears of people who can actually help us make progress in righting the some of the wrongs that were inflicted on an innocent child.

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    17. Blame the victim not the offender, right PUSSDAD? Allow a 30 year year old man to have a job around students so he can sexually take advantage of them, knowing full well that like-minded, sick individuals such as yourself will say it's ok because they feel it's ok to judge the victim, somebody else's child. Who I might remind you, is still a minor and makes the contact a crime in this day and age.

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    18. assuming Sierra Madre breaks off from the pusd, where does the high school go?

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    19. 6-12 at the Upper Campus

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  19. and know you know why I will NEVER send my child to a Pasaden Public School ... sad ...

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    1. It's sadly not the case for some people 9:46.

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  20. So the complaint here is that PUSD immediately fired and reported the illegal behavior of an employee, leading to the employee's arrest and prosecution, but PUSD is bad because they don't also control the news coverage of these events. Got it.

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    1. Thanks for Dropping in, SteveMarch 6, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      no. that's not it at all. pusd handled it well. the press hasn't followed it up, and the master of accidental college is quick to critique some of the board, but not so quick to question the behavior of some of its members. the members of note are the same dinosaurs that ran the roost before, and nothing has changed in (her) flippant disregard toward the community allegedly served. f/u

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