City Honors teacher charged with child pornography prompts calls for change

Sep 25, 2019

Concerned parents of students in city schools are calling on the Buffalo Public School district to provide a more comprehensive approach to sex education in the schools.

A parents' group met Wednesday to discuss issues brought up after the arrest of a City Honors teacher charged with sexual misconduct and child pornography.

Teacher at City Honors charged with sexual exploitation of a child.
Credit Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

"We understand that the situation at City Honors is a personnel matter. That doesn't preclude the district and district leaders from saying any type of sexual misconduct is inappropriate," said Jessica Bauer Walker, president of the Buffalo Public Schools Parent Community Health Worker Association. "They can say that they can't say much at this time, but they should be making a strong condemnation of any type of violence in our schools and making sure that our children are safe when they go to school."

Bauer Walker said the district has been negligent in keeping up with involvement in such issues.
 
"This is not a new concept. Comprehensive health and sexuality education is well established in public health and our public education sectors to be working together better," she said. "And so, we need to look at the curricula that are out there. When we had a director of health-related services and a medical director, the district did a much better job doing that. Those positions have actually been vacant for almost two years. That's negligent on the part of the district."

Parent Advocate Patricia Elliott-Patton wonders if enough pre-screening is being done during the hiring process.

"We're not talking about risky behaviors of our children. We're talking about the risky behaviors of out teachers. We're talking about the criminals - and I hate to say it this way, but - it's like these are criminals in our classrooms," Elliott-Patton said. "What's being done to screen these teahcers before they stand befor eour children and have opportunities to put their hands on them?"

Elliot-Patton is upset about the lack of response from the district in regard to this latest incident.

The schools superintendent's office, along with the school board president, issued a statement:

“We must examine policies and procedures so that a coordinated, preemptive, and supported framework of protection is improved, wherever possible, across all of our schools and in each of our classrooms.”