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LA teacher battles opponent tougher than gangs

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 01/26/2008 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled



Los Angeles school Supt. David L. Brewer III

Migdia Chinea, a Cuban-American screenwriter and actress who has writing credits for the TV series “The Incredible Hulk” and “Superboy,” recently documented how she was attacked and injured by students while she served as a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Now she’s reporting that the students who attacked her, body-slammed her to the floor in front of witnesses who documented the attack, and left her with a concussion and possibly long-term injuries were the easy ones to deal with; the system that is supposed to provide care for injuries on the job is a harder opponent to beat.

“Despite my being injured by students while working, with a teacher as a witness and a police report, Sedgwick, the LAUSD’s insurance has not yet ‘accepted’ my disability claim, and perhaps won’t pay in the end, until a deposition is taken three months from now. Meantime, as a woman alone, I wonder how am I going meet my financial responsibilities without incurring further debt?” Chinea told WND.

“How am I going to pay my mortgage and eat?” she asked.

In an earlier commentary for WND, she described how, as a UCLA-educated graduate with a “Googleable” career as a professional screenwriter, economic conditions forced her to seek employment as a substitute teacher in order to obtain health insurance benefits.

She described the violence in the L.A. schools, how there was no teaching at the school to which she was assigned, only “confinement.” She told of the classrooms being left in shreds, teaching materials stolen, vandalism to her car, and the verbal and physical assaults.

One such school, she said, “is surrounded by criminal street gangs and is widely considered one of the most dangerous campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The South Side Village Boys, South Side Watts Varrio Grape, Grape Street Crips, East Side Village Bloods, Hacienda Bloods, Circle City Piru and Bounty Hunters street gangs all claim turf in that area, and frequent flare-ups of gang violence are common.”

She also told about being hurt on the job, with witnesses and a police report that documented the circumstances.

“On Oct. 5, 2007, at another notorious middle school, I was deliberately body-slammed on the head by two to three large young men in a P.E. class of 53 students, while another teacher (someone I had never met before) was decent enough to give a formal declaration to school and police authorities of what he had witnessed. I sustained a concussion and sciatica nerve damage as a result of this personal attack intended to ‘terrorize [me].’ I have memory lapses and continued head and leg pain. I’m told by the local police that this sort of physical abuse on teachers occurs with disturbing regularity. The LAUSD case nurse assigned to my case labeled my attack ‘boys will be boys.’” she wrote.

In going through the process of seeking to have her medical claim paid and her injuries addressed by a district that lists local police station telephone numbers on its website, she has discovered something even worse than a body-slam. The district for which she worked, and left her injured, is the one deciding on her treatment and ultimate disability, since the school district is exempt from state-mandated worker’s compensation requirements and provides its own coverage.

“I’ve been told by another teacher (still working as such) who has been through this hell, that LAUSD will be willing to ‘kill me’ to protect and cover-up their corruption – which is, in turn, not reported nor investigated by the press. I have reported this ‘murderous intent or potential’ to the LAPD and I’m supposed to get a call from their organized crime unit – but not so far,” she told WND.

“Meanwhile, the LAUSD continues to call me three times every morning and as I hear the names of the schools to which they wish to send me to ‘substitute,’ they’re the worst schools in the district. Therefore, I believe they want to finish me off,” she said.

Officials with the school district declined to answer messages left by WND requesting a comment on Chinea’s allegations. The district now is being run by David L. Brewer III, who was appointed a little over a year ago to replace former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, who ran the district for several years.

She also reported that neither school officials nor the school district’s physician will have a conversation with her, even though she’s continue to try to obtain information about her situation, including an unanswered e-mail just days ago.

The district had her “released” to return to work, but the doctor who made the decision didn’t notify her, then “refused my phone calls,” she said.

“I have requested a meeting with the LAUSD Board of Education, to no avail. I have asked them to, please, explain to me what constitutes an ‘act of violence’ because only a small percentage of teachers who are seriously assaulted qualify under their own definition. But there’s no response,” she said.

“On Jan. 5, 2008, the same day that the city held a conference hailing a citywide drop in crime, an L.A. Times columnist wrote that 60 LAUSD schools were vandalized while grim-faced teachers swept up the mess,” she continued.

“To be in this situation, after having achieved certain things and pulled myself up by my bootstraps and have my own home, is horrible,” she told WND.



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