Entries in School (67)


California Student Catches Alleged Thief: Her Teacher

ABC News(LINDEN, Calif.) -- A California high school student was shocked at what she found when she decided to play detective and stop a string of thefts from backpacks during gym class.

Justine Betti said she decided to hide in a locker to see if she could catch the thief in action. She didn’t expect the alleged culprit to be her gym teacher.

After all of the students left the locker room, the teacher stayed behind, rummaged through backpacks and took money, Betti said.

“Something needed to be done. That’s not okay,” she told ABC News’ Sacramento affiliate, KXTV. Betti is a sophomore at Linden High School in Linden, Calif., about 60 miles southeast of Sacramento.

Betti decided to hide in the locker again — this time, with a cellphone camera to record what she saw. She set up a second camera in another locker to get two angles.

Once again, she said she saw the teacher go through the bags.  Her video shows someone digging through the bags, and one video appears to show the person taking something out of a pink duffel bag.

“I didn’t want to believe that she would do something like that because she was so nice, but then she did it,” Betti said. “It was really scary. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I just got this on video.’”

Betti said she kept watching it “over and over” and eventually took the video to her principal with some friends.

“He said that he’ll investigate it and he told us to delete the video, but I had already sent it to my dad,” she said.

The teacher is on administrative leave, according to KXTV. The Linden School District told ABC News that it is investigating the matter, but the superintendent did not immediately respond to requests for further information.

The teacher has not been identified, but is a 30-year teaching veteran described as a “great teacher” by many students.

Betti said she struggled with recording and sharing the video, but said classmates have supported her.

“They’ve been supportive and said that we did the right thing,” she said. “We feel like we did the right thing, but it’s still kind of hard.”


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


California Preschool Closing After Alleged Sexual Activity Between Students

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- A Carson, Calif., preschool is closing after parents learned of alleged sexual activity between 4- and 5-year-olds, according to an attorney representing the alleged victims.

Some students in the preschool class at the First Lutheran Church of Carson School would engage in oral sex during naptime, in the tunnel slide on the playground and in an outside bathroom, attorney Greg Owen told

"It all boils down to a lack of supervision," Owen said. "There were times when teachers would let aides in the room for hours at a time to watch the kids. During naptime, the aides would be sleeping and the children would have been molesting each other during this time."

Church leaders said the closing was related to the school director's resignation for personal reasons and insisted the alleged sexual incidents had nothing to do with the closure, ABC News' Los Angeles station KABC-TV reported.

The California Department of Social Services cited the school for at least one of the sexual encounters and an improper student-teacher ratio.

Owen, who is representing four alleged victims, said he plans to file a lawsuit on Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against the school, the church, the principal, the teacher and an alleged child perpetrator.

The unnamed child cannot be identified by his or her alleged acts, according to the law, Owen said.

Richard McCarthy told ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles that his 4-year-old son often received oral sex from a 5-year-old girl at school.

"He told me about all the bad things that girl had been doing to him," McCarthy said. "It went down in the classroom, it went down in the bathroom and it went down out on the playground."

At least one other boy said he received oral sex from the same 5-year-old girl, KABC-TV reported.

"Their lives will be ruined in many ways," Owen said. "And we know there are many more [victims]."

With the mid-semester closing of the school, parents are scrambling to find alternatives, but they say it hasn't been easy.

McCarthy said he's having trouble sending his son to a new school.

"There's no way I can just take him to another school and be that parent that just lets a predator loose," he said. "How else do you explain it?"

Owen said he has talked to several other parents who have the same worry.

"Parents are saying, 'My child is now a predator. Now how can I let him go to another school?" he said. "I have talked to three of the parents who have not been able to, but I would think there are schools around.

"There were many children lying there and they watched these acts. In our business and in psychological terms, that's sexualizing a child at a young age," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sandy Hook Parents and Teachers to Put on a Brave Face for Students 

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(MONROE, Conn.) -- When the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School arrive at their new school building for the first day of classes on Thursday, they will be greeted by their beloved pet turtle, Shelley, and a winter wonderland of cut-out snowflakes sent by well-wishers from around the world.

"You have to put on a smile and you have to just move forward with enthusiasm," parent and school volunteer Karen Dryer told ABC News. "You have to make it the best possible place for the children. You can't afford to fall apart or be afraid yourself. You have to just be really brave and put on a big smile and be reassuring."

Dryer's 5-year-old son is a kindergarten student at the school, and she is the class volunteer for his class who has helped prepare the new school.

Thursday's "Opening Day," as the school is calling it, will mark the first time the roughly 500 members of the school are all together after the Dec. 14 rampage in which gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six staffers.

The school's new home is the building that used to be the Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe, Conn., about six miles from Sandy Hook in Newtown.

"[It took] a great deal of thought and effort and volunteer work to make this as seamless as possible," Newtown schools superintendent Janet Robinson said at a news conference Wednesday. "Right now, Chalk Hill has been transformed from a middle school to a very cheerful, nurturing elementary school."

Sinks and toilets were lowered to elementary school levels. Walls were painted and the school's mascot Shelley, a red slider turtle, has been moved to his new home in the library. Many of the students and their parents have already visited the new school and many more were set to visit at an open house Wednesday.

"All the kids love Shelley," Dryer said. "Just seeing Shelley was a huge thing for the kids, knowing he's okay and that he's going to be at the new school."

The paper snowflakes hanging from the ceilings were part of an international effort to send the decorations to the school. The snowflakes came from all around the country and world, from as far away as Israel. Some are personalized with messages on them.

"We just got this brand-new school and it's all decorated and really looking beautiful," she said. "The classrooms are all completely set up, all decorated really well because the teachers and volunteers put in a lot of time making sure it looks welcoming and somewhat familiar."

She said the level to which the classrooms were recreated varied by class and age.

For kindergartners who need structure for security, the classrooms were meticulously recreated from the drawings on the wall to the crayons and water bottles on the desks.

For some of the older students who perhaps saw or heard things that were traumatic, some of the teachers have gone with new designs that are welcoming but not too reminiscent of the past room.

Dryer said that the community has experienced many "miracles" in the weeks since the shooting, but that two big miracles come to mind in terms of the school.

The first was the town of Monroe giving Sandy Hook an entire building to use for their school. When splitting up the school and distributing the members to other schools arose as an idea, it was rejected immediately.

"The teachers were up in arms and they said absolutely not and all the parents agreed that they need to be together more than ever. You cannot split up those teachers or those kids."

The second "miracle" was the return of former principal Donna Page (pronounced Pa-jhay), who the superintendent Wednesday called a "godsend."

Page is leading the new school as interim principal, telling parents it was her "calling" to return after the tragedy. Parents have dubbed her the "new old principal" because Page was the school's leader for 14 years before retiring in 2010.

The school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung, was among the first victims of the shooting. The school didn't know how they would fill Hochsprung's "very, very big shoes" until they heard from Page, who said she knew she was being called back to the school when she heard about the shooting, Dryer said.

Dryer knew Page from when her daughter, now a sophomore in high school, was at Sandy Hook while Page was principal.

"She's amazing. She's an extremely strong woman," Dryer said. "She is the perfect person to come in and take control and lead this school and staff forward."

"Once we had those two things in place, we felt so much better and then everything has been coming together and working hard to prepare the space," she said. "They literally worked around the clock to get it all up to date."

As the school prepares to officially open, security is paramount in everyone's mind. There is a police presence on campus and drivers of every vehicle that comes onto campus are being interviewed.

"Our goal is to make it a safe and secure learning environment for these kids to return too, and the teachers also," Monroe police Lt. Keith White said at the news conference.

A "state-of-the-art" security system is in place, but authorities will not go into detail about the system, saying only that the school will probably be "the safest school in America."

Every adult in the school who is not immediately recognizable will be required to wear a badge as identification, Dryer said.

"They want to know exactly who you are at sight, whether or not you should be there," Dryer said.

The first few days will be a delicate balancing act between assessing the children's needs and trying to get them back to a normal routine.

"They want to try to get things back into a routine as quickly as possible, but they do see the need for some therapeutic days," Dryer said. "They're going to spend the first few days mostly acclimating themselves to the new space doing a lot of different things that will help them get familiar with the school."

Dryer said that some children will do activities that seem like simple, fun games, but are actually providing some therapy and giving adults a chance to assess where they are.

Now that the construction is finished, the walls are painted and the decorations hung, Robinson said that the only missing piece is the children.

"I think they'll feel welcome as they come through the front door," Lt. White said. "Their teachers eagerly await to meet them again and move forward from this point."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Utah Boy Brings Gun to School and Gets Arrested

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(KEARNS, Utah) -- Prosecutors in Kearns, Utah, are preparing criminal charges against an 11-year-old boy who brought a .22 caliber handgun to school with him on Monday, which he claimed was in response to last week's shootings at Newtown, Conn.

However, while the boy apparently told Granite School District administrators that he brought the firearm and ammunition to West Kearns Elementary School to protect himself, others are alleging that the youngster had more nefarious intentions.

Mandee Doyle, whose daughter goes to the school, says the principal called to tell her that her child was threatened by the gun-wielding boy, who reportedly held the weapon to the girl's head.

Doyle then angrily told reporters, "I'm taking my kids out of school.  They ain't coming back here."

Meanwhile, Isabelle Rios, a classmate of Doyle's daughter, alleged the boy "pulled out a gun and he put it to my head -- me and my friend -- (and) said he was going to kill us.  I told him I was going to tell, but he said, 'If you tell, I'm going to kill you.'"

Rios later told a teacher who quickly disarmed the boy.  He'll learn the extent of the charges against him later in the week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Says He ‘Goofed Off Way Too Much’ in Grade School

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- At a forum on education issues in New York City Tuesday, President Obama was asked whether he had ever failed a test in grade school, to which he replied, “Oh, yes.”

“Absolutely,” Obama said. “You know, I would say I was a mediocre student until I got to college. I goofed off way too much.”

Obama first attended school in Indonesia in the early 1970s before he moved to Hawaii, where he attended the prestigious Punahou Academy through high school. He started college at Occidental College in Los Angeles and finished his undergraduate degree at Columbia University in New York City.

The president said Tuesday that his daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, were much better examples of model students. “They are so far ahead of me basically in all respects,” he told the forum.

The girls recently began a new school year at the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. For Malia, it’s the first year of high school.

“At least at the school they’re at they’re getting a lot more homework than I did when I was that age,” Obama said. “They seem to be working deep into the night. You know, I didn’t study that ardently till the night before an exam.”

With the 2012 presidential race dominating headlines, President Obama acknowledged that daughter Malia is likely studying the rival campaigns as part of the ninth-grade civics curriculum.

“She’s pretty dispassionate about it,” he said of presidential politics. “She’s able to kinda separate out Dad, who’s at home, from the debates that are going on out there.”

Obama said he encourages both of his girls to think for themselves and become responsible citizens.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington State School Closed as Threat of Violence Probed

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAMMAMISH, Wash.) -- An online post with a picture of a gun and a threat of violence prompted police and officials with the Issaquah School District to close Skyline High School Thursday in Sammamish, Wash.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday, an anonymous posting from someone claiming to be a bullied student vowed to “open fire on the people in the commons in the morning until I am either taken down by our school’s police officer, or until I run out of mags.”

Within two hours, the threat had made its way around social media sites, prompting more than 100 calls to police and school officials.

In a late-night email to faculty and the parents of the school’s 2,000 students, the school district stressed “student and staff safety is our top concern.”

Sammamish police spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica Sullivan said the authorities didn’t know who posted the threat or its legitimacy. She added, however, that officials were working on a number of leads.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Teacher on Leave After Kids Draw 9/11 Pictures

ABC News(EL PASO, Texas) -- An elementary school teacher in El Paso, Texas, is being investigated for an assignment in which he had fourth graders draw depictions of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, according to school district officials.

For an assignment on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks Tuesday.

Children reportedly drew pictures of people jumping off of buildings with the words “Help” and “I love you” for an assignment on the anniversary of the terrorists attacks Tuesday.

The teacher of the class has been placed on leave while the incident is investigated, according to a spokeswoman for the school.

“(The El Paso Independent School District) is very concerned about the images that were drawn in response to a lesson on the events of September 11,” the school district said in a statement to ABC News Friday.

“District and campus administrators immediately launched an investigation into the specific assignment that led to the drawings, however, the investigation is not yet complete,” the statement read. "The teacher is on leave pending the results of the investigation."

Administrative action was taken in the wake of complaints by parents who said their children were frightened by Tuesday's lesson.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Maryland School Shooter Assembled Shotgun in School Before Attack

Hemera/Thinkstock(WHITE MARSH, Md.) -- A 15-year-old student brought a disassembled shotgun to school on the first day of classes Monday, put the weapon together on campus and entered the cafeteria where he shot and critically wounded another student.

A teacher, who has not been identified, lunged at the student to stop the shooting, and before pinning the boy against a wall a second round was discharged, police said.

The school was put on lockdown and then evacuated.

It was a bloody and traumatic start to the school year at Perry Hall High School in the Baltimore suburb of White Marsh, Md.

Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson did not identify the suspect, but said he was 15.

The victim, who also was not identified, was 17. He was medevacked to Baltimore Regional Hospital Shock Trauma where he is listed in critical condition.

The alleged shotgun was disassembled when it was brought to school and assembled on campus, two sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to ABC News. The weapon had been concealed, Johnson said.

The gunman walked into the school cafeteria at 10:45 a.m.

"We believe that the suspect fired one round and just struck this individual. We do not believe at this time that he was targeted," Johnson said during a news conference.

A police statement later said the 15-year-old in custody was cooperating with police, who were trying to determine whether to charge him as a juvenile or an adult.

Additional police will be assigned to the school Tuesday when classes resume, police said.

Students were held in their classroom for two hours before being evacuated, students told ABC News.

"I was in class in the basement of the school so we didn't hear or see anything," a student, who identified herself as Erisa, told ABC News. "But once the assistant principal, Mr. Arnold, went on the speakers and yelled, 'Lockdown' very loudly I knew it wasn't a joke."

"After we had left the classroom, we saw police and the SWAT team all around the school," student Linzee Hobgood told ABC News. "When we walked outside, there were police cars everywhere. I didn't find out what was going on until my mom called me and told me what had happened. It was shocking that there was a shooting in our school."

Students were evacuated to the Perry Hall Shopping Center where frantic parents went to be reunited with their children there, according to police. Students were also bused home from the middle school across the street, ABC News affiliate WMAR reported.

Several other students suffered minor, non-shooting injuries during the incident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Teacher Convicted of Group Sex With Students

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A jury found a Texas high school teacher and mother of three guilty today of having sex with four male students while being videotaped.

Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the men were all 18 at the time of the sexual relationships, she was not charged with statutory rape.

The case against Colleps has been filled with graphic testimony and cell phone video that allegedly showed Colleps having group sex with the four students in her home during April and May of 2011.

Prosecutors said the group sex occurred while her children and husband, an Army specialist, were away.

The video was shown to the jury this week.

Colleps faces 20 years in prison for the convictions and is expected to be sentenced later today.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Arrested for Hacking School Computers, Changing Kids' Grades

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW TRIPOLI, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania mom faces six felony charges for allegedly hacking into her children's school computer to change their grades and read school officials' emails.

Catherine Venusto, 45, of New Tripoli, worked for the Northwestern Lehigh School District from 2008 through April 2011 and has at least two children in the district, according to the District Attorney's office.

She has been accused of changing her daughter's failing grade from an F to an M for "medical" in June 2010, and then changing her son's 98 to a 99 in February 2012, nearly a year after she quit her job as an administrative office secretary to work at another school district.

Venusto was arraigned Wednesday in Lehigh County Magisterial Court on three counts of unlawful use of a computer and three counts of computer trespassing and altering data. All six charges are third degree felonies.

When ABC News attempted to contact Venusto at her current job as an event coordinator at Lehigh University, a school employee said her employment ended Wednesday.

Venusto's lawyer, Thomas Carroll, declined to comment.

State police discovered Venusto used Superintendent Mary Ann Wright's username and password 110 times to access the district's online grading system, according to the District Attorney's office. Venusto also allegedly accessed nine other faculty members' email accounts without permission, and accessed the human resources "H-drive" to view, "thousands of files associated with district policy, contract information, employee reports and personnel issues."

Wright released a statement on Wednesday in anticipation of Venusto's arraignment.

"We deeply regret this incident and that this unauthorized access occurred, and we sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause," Wright wrote. "We are doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again, and new security procedures are in place to better assure that our systems are protected from such attempts."

Holman said the district's news release and email purposefully left Venusto's name out to protect her children, but the District Attorney's press release revealed the name.

"It's not their fault," Holman said of Venusto's children. "If the students continue to go to school here, which I assume they will, we need to do our best to support them in whatever way they need."

The court set bail at $30,000, but Venusto will not have to pay it unless she does not appear in court for her preliminary hearing on July 26, according a District Attorney's office spokeswoman. If convicted, Venusto could face fines, jail time and restitution payments.

Venusto could face a maximum of 42 years in prison or a $90,000 fine, according to District Attorney's office spokeswoman Debbie Garlicki, who said the maximum penalty on each count is seven years or a $15,000 fine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio