Thursday, August 8, 2013

No Accountability for Richmond High School Tragedy?

As the trial for those responsible for the horrific, two-plus hour vicious, unrelenting gang rape comes to a close, I have to ask, where's the accountability for those who failed to protect this 16 year old girl from harm in 2009?  Did anyone resign?  Was anyone terminated from employment?  I just came across the following quote recently posted on the Richmond Confidential blog by Mr. Don Gosney, a co-organzier of the WCCUSD's Ivy League Connection. 
Mr. Gosney writes 
"This young woman got her settlement ($4 million) because the school district failed her in so many ways. She got a settlement because there was inadequate security at the homecoming dance. She got her settlement because the area where the crime was committed was blocked off from the view of anyone who might have been able to stop the crime (keep in mind that this was right in front of 23rd street). She got her settlement because the District failed to properly illuminate this area. And she got this settlement because had it gone to a jury they would have given her everything the District owned. Mistakes were made by a lot of people–the kinds of mistakes that were easily preventable and this is one of the reasons why she got this settlement."
I agree with his assessment 100%.  Yes, the “district” (Superintendent, Associate Superintendent responsible for safety, the Principal, the Board, and district police) failed her. The Superintendent as Chief Safety Officer failed her.  I taught at Richmond High School for three years.  Bad things happened on that campus because the campus was not an island, that it was not isolated or immune from the violence of the surrounding community.  Hardly a day went by without some sort of act of violence.  Beatings, threats of bodily harm or worse, lock-downs, loaded guns in lockers.  So school staff remained in a constant state of vigilance.  Every day we taught, we had to protect our children from harm.  It was part of our job description.

The brutality of Richmond does not recognize boundaries.  It is continuous.  Yet the security that night was not continuous.   Police patrolled the streets.  Security watched over the kids in the gym.  But nothing in between.  When I worked as a security guard for such events, there was always someone responsible for patrolling the perimeter.  And where there was little to no lighting, you paid extra attention to those areas, not less.  I would have expected the same protocols from those responsible for ensuring the safety of our children, but to my knowledge, it didn’t happen.

Where there were no watchful eyes, a crowd of approximately 20 individuals participated in the most barbaric acts against this child for a period of no less than two hours on the school campus.  So again I ask, where is the accountability?  A payment of $4 million dollars is not accountability.  It is an admission of guilt. 

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