According to allegations against a Long Beach Middle School special education teacher, Lisa Wietzman mistreated students in her class by zip tying their hands, enforcing unconventional time outs in the restrooms, stamping on her students’ feet, forcing them to perform lap dances on each other, and making them masturbate in front of the entire classroom.
According to the Huffington Post, an attorney has been hired by the parents of the students involved. Gerard Misk claims he plans to seek a total of $5 million from the school district for all five victims who have come forward in the case, as well as any punitive damages that are allowed. Misk is appalled by the horrific allegations and intends to fight for justice for the children that cannot fight for their selves.
“While I have seen other instances of abuse that have been appalling, this one is worse because these are the most vulnerable children. “The families trusted this teacher and the school and had their trust destroyed.”
All of the identified students suffer from either Down Syndrome or autism. Each is considered non-communicative and have not been able to report the abuse on their own.
Wietzman has been internally investigated since at least 2014, but the district is believed to have covered up any alleged abuse that was found during the research. The students that have been identified are now in their mid-to-late teens, and none of their cases have been reviewed until recently.
Information within the court document, according to Metro, claims that a fact finding mission was initiated to determine the severity and accuracy of the claims against Weitzman, in conjunction to a letter sent from the former head of the teacher’s union to the school board president, before claims were taken seriously.
The school superintendent David Weiss released a statement on the matter.
“Please know that Long Beach has complied, and will continue to comply, with all federal and state legal requirements regarding complaints to the district about possible abuse or mistreatment of our students. Laws protecting the privacy of students prohibit us from saying anything more.”
Weitzman, in response tot he allegations, has chosen to have a public hearing rather than a private one. Her attorney Debra Wabnik claims her client has nothing to worry about in the matter.
“She elected to have a public hearing because she has nothing to hide.”
Long Beach Public Schools has a method in place to report bullying in any form. The link is displayed prominently on their website, citing the Dignity for all Students Act. However, the conditions from which the students suffer prevented them from accessing the school website and reporting the horrific abuse to the proper authorities within the school or even at home.
Claims against Weitzman call for her dismissal from the middle school. Misk has cited many allegations, some of which are beyond comprehension.
“The allegations against Ms. Weitzman include:…spraying Lysol and other deodorants on children; encouraging a male student to masturbate in front of his other classmates;…stomping on the feet of children with her high heels; [and] use of drugs during teachers’ lunch breaks.”
The investigation into the matter is still underway, and Misk feels confident that the students will receive the justice they deserve in the matter. It is unclear what charges Weitzman may be charged with, if any in the case, but it is possible she may lose the ability to teach special education or present similar services elsewhere.
None of the students have been named in order to secure their identities.
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