A teacher at Markham Elementary School in east Oakland has been placed on leave while officials investigate accusations that two of his second-grade students–a boy and a girl—engaged in oral sex in the classroom, according to the January 21st Mercury News. Officials are also investigating whether two students (who may or may not be the same second-graders) took off their clothes ‘”at least partially”‘ in the same classroom and ‘became disruptive.’ As reported in the January 21st SFGate.com, the teacher, whose name has not been released, has said that ‘he was unaware of either incident.’
Yes, it’s horrific.
The K-5 school is located n Krause Avenue near the Eastmont Mall shopping center, in a troubled area of East Oakland.
Dr. James Crawford-Jakubiak, medical director of the Center for Child Protection at Oakland Children’s Hospital, noted that such sexual behavior in children is ‘”profoundly not normal.”‘ He emphasized that investigators should try to determine if one child initiated the act, and ‘what that child had been exposed to outside the classroom’ as ‘it’s possible one of the children has been sexually abused and needs help.’
Troy Flint, an Oakland Public schools district spokesman, stated in SFGate.com that, if the alleged incidents indeed did occur, it will be important to communicate to the children that ‘”they are not at fault”‘ and that the responsibility lies on teachers and other adults and (in what seems to me a vast understatement) their ‘”egregious lack of supervision.”‘
But Alan Saunders, who has a 7-year-old nephew in the same classroom as the two children in the alleged incident, defended the teacher. Saunders said that the children
“could have gone around the corner. They have coatrooms and other stuff in every room. It wasn’t like he [the teacher] was at fault. It’s not the teachers’ responsibility to babysit the kids. They’re there to teach them.”
Yes, teachers are not babysitters. But what about in loco parentis? What was the teacher doing, if not keeping track of what his students were up to?
Photo by the_mishka.