For years, a trio of sadistic teachers at Long Beach Middle School subjected the special education children in their care to a litany of inhumane abuses. Fueled by drugs, anger, and the knowledge that the children would never reveal what they had experienced, special education teacher Lisa Weitzman, and her two teaching assistants, Lauren Schneider and Jean-Marie Lilley operated what witnesses eerily described as a “torture room.”
In the shadows cast by their cruel covenant of concealment, Weitzman, Lilley, and Schneider enforced their perverse disciplinarian impulses with the sadistic zeal of savage prison camp guards. The abuses were as varied as they were cruel – zip ties as a form of restraint; the locking of children in bathrooms; spraying children with noxious aerosols; physical assault; forcible restraint; the use of stiletto heels to pin the feet of children to the ground; dispensing non-prescribed medications; permitting students to wallow in their feces and urine; forced masturbation; the display of student genitalia in front of the class; and an unrelenting onslaught of verbal and psychological harassment.
Recently obtained documents firmly establish that the silence and sadism was abetted by an accomplice none could have foreseen – the State. District administrators at every level, including Superintendent David Weiss, were aware of these horrific acts for years. Instead of taking prompt steps to protect the children of Long Beach, the District acted quickly to cover up the truth. Complaining witnesses were intimidated, transferred, discharged, and – at the behest of David Weiss – permitted to silently resign. By the Fall of 2014, the confirmed reports of abuse were simply too numerous to ignore and the District suspended Lisa Weitzman . . . while still permitting her to draw a salary. Nevertheless, the District stood by its callous pact of silence. Not a single parent was ever notified of the horrors their children had endured.
It was not until October of 2015 that a whistleblower circulated an anonymous letter to the parents of children tormented at the hands of Weitzman, Lilley, and Schneider. To this day, the District continues to deny any wrongdoing and has denied requests to release the transcripts and evidence uncovered during public hearings into the acts of Lisa Weitzman. This federal lawsuit is the first step in uncovering the truth and ensuring that all of those involved in perpetrating and concealing these horrific acts are brought to justice. With your help, the fight for justice, our constitutional rights, and for the future of our children begins today.
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