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The parent of a middle school student is calling for action in the wake of an alleged incident that happened in a seventh grade classroom.
The San Diego Unified School District confirms nine male students from Bell Middle School were suspended in May but legally could not say why the students were suspended.
Now, a parent is saying the students were allegedly watching pornography on their cell phones during English class and masturbating.
The teacher in the classroom at the time, Ed Johnson, allegedly did nothing to stop the behavior, only saying he would give students referrals if he caught them. Sources said Johnson then continued reading to students while at his desk.
The parent, Edith Duran, said she had a meeting with the vice principal, who told her about the sexual activity.
Duran says her son was not involved in the incident but was in the classroom at the time, afraid to speak up for fear of being bullied.
"When I send my child to school, I want to feel he's safe. I don't send him to sit in a classroom next to boys watching porn, explicit porn, which [the] vice principal did tell me [was] very explicit," she said.
"I asked the vice principal how is it this was going on under his nose, a group of boys huddling around a cell phone watching porn; how is it this was going on and [the teacher] had no idea?"
According to Duran, the vice principal had no answer for that question but said this about the teacher's reaction:
"She said he is in shock. Mr. Johnson is in shock; he can't believe this happened. That's what she said,” said Duran. "Let this be a reality check that he needs to do a better job as far as teaching our children and not just sitting back reading and letting them do whatever it is they want to do."
In the end, Duran believes her son and other students in that class are victims.
"I do expect a phone call. I want therapy, I want some kind of counseling, not just for my son, but for other children victimized in this situation," Duran said.
Duran said the school did initially promise therapy and counseling for the students in the classroom, but she has heard nothing from the administration, despite her attempts to follow up.
She wants more parents to reach out to her and join her in demanding something be done for the students in the class who she said were victimized by the inappropriate behavior.
The school district would not comment on whether Johnson is under investigation, but sources told NBC San Diego a substitute teacher was placed in the classroom with him following the incident until the end of the school year.
Johnson was not made available for comment.
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