Several families sought justice against the Morgan Hill Unified School District in San Jose, California, after four girls reported being inappropriately touched on multiple occasions by teacher John Arthur Loyd. The three plaintiffs in the civil case received a seven figure settlement. Incidents occurring with the fourth happened a full decade earlier and not on school property, so unfortunately, this child’s family was not included. The families are remaining anonymous in order to protect the identities of their children, ages nine to eleven.
The district will work toward making improvements to its sexual abuse training program for school administrators and staff with $8.25 million set aside specifically for it to do just that. “No amount of money is going to fix our children, or get back what’s taken from them,” said the mother one of the victims. “I hope this changes what happens to future children in the district and statewide.”
John Arthur Loyd is currently serving prison time for this 2015 conviction of four felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child by force, violence, duress or fear. The incidents occurred during a two year span of time between 2012 and 2014 at Paradise Valley Elementary School. The school’s educators and staff will undergo a short training module, which takes only about an hour to complete, that will help to enable them to spot signs of sexual abuse.
The families of the victims are discouraged by the fact that this program has been available to school administrators, who should have been able to put a stop to Loyd’s acts much sooner. They believe the staff should have been able to identify the inappropriate behavior he often displayed, such as grooming the girls and buying them gifts. Following the settlement, the school issued a formal statement, which read, “The board of trustees and the district staff sincerely hope that the compensation in this settlement provides the students and their families the opportunity for valuable care and support in the future.”
Loyd’s conviction comes after the district was hit with another similar blow. Nicolas Lhermine, who worked for a YMCA day care program located on the school’s campus, had also been arrested and sentenced to sixty years for child molestation. The parents believe this should have been a red flag that training wasn’t being properly administered. “What’s frustrating for me is if they were really committed, they would have done this years ago,” said the father of one of the victims in the Loyd case. “I’m still a little bit skeptical they are going to do what needs to be done.” However, the school remains steadfast in its position that it has done everything possible to curtail the abuse, simply responding, “Although our training of staff and students meets all legal requirements, moving forward, the district has committed to providing additional training for staff and students. We will continue to focus on promoting the education and safety of our students and continue to work diligently with our staff, parents, and community to provide the safest environment possible for our students to learn and succeed.”