A parent wants the Laguna Beach Unified School District to set parameters for what sensitive topics teachers can appropriately discuss with students.
Anita Razin asked the school board April 23 to consider adopting a policy on how to communicate with students about "traumatic events," according to a district staff report.
Razin said she wants to be the one to talk to her children about the Boston bombings, the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and other well-publicized acts.
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In April 2012, Razin learned that a teacher at Thurston Middle School mentioned allegations that a Los Angeles teacher allegedly spoon-fed semen to blindfolded students.
"I didn't say anything [at the time]," Razin said. "I talked to another mom and she went to the principal."
In December, Razin picked up her seventh-grade daughter at the end of the school day, just shortly after news of the Newtown shooting broke.
"She had not sat down [in the car] before saying, 'Did you hear about Connecticut?'" Razin said.
"How did you know?" Razin asked.
" 'The teacher talked about it during class time,' " she said her daughter told her.
FOR THE RECORD:
This story has been updated to clarify that parent Anita Razin wants the school district to set parameters for what teachers can appropriately discuss with students. In fact, Razin wants no teacher to start inappropriate discussions in the classroom. In addition, the article misstated that a seventh-grade class at Thurston Middle School watched news reports of the Sandy Hook shootings on a teacher’s computer. In fact, it was the teacher who watched news reports — not the class — and then initiated a conversation about the tragedy with students. Finally, the article also incorrectly stated that Razin picked up her daughter 30 minutes after the Sandy Hook news broke; she picked up her daughter at the end of the school day.
Razin eventually mentioned to Thurston Principal Jenny Salberg that she had heard about in-class discussions about the Los Angeles teacher and his alleged disgusting classroom antics.
Salberg said she spoke with both teachers upon learning about the alleged incidents.
Citing restrictions on discussing personnel matters, the principal declined to elaborate.
Razin didn't write a formal complaint against either teacher.
"I didn't want to make a big [deal]," she said.
Mary Scifres experienced a similar incident with her son, who is now in the ninth grade. When he was in eighth grade at Thurston, he came home from school and said a teacher mentioned the Los Angeles incident.
"My son said [the topic] came out of nowhere, as if the teacher initiated it," said Scifres. "It was not related to the curriculum." She did not specify the subject being taught.
Scifres told Salberg what her son told her.