A California teacher was arrested and charged with 29 counts for molesting and sharing nudes of students at the school she taught at.
Sexual abuse has been reportedly on the rise for numerous years inside schools across the nation. It’s just one of many reasons why parents and caregivers have been pulling their children out of public schools. However, non-public schools are also just prone to sexual abuse allegations as well. In the Golden State, a charter school is now dealing with such claims, as a California teacher was arrested and accused of child molestation on several students at a Charter school she taught at.
35-year-old Anessa Paige Gower taught biology at Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California. The charter school enrolls over one thousand students from grades 5 through 12. According to People, the now former-California teacher was arrested on April 6th upon returning home from a vacation in Hawaii. Held on a near $2 million bail, she is facing 29 individual criminal counts of abuse to minors.
It is being reported that the California teacher engaged in multiple acts of a sexual nature with minors attending the Charter school from 2021 to 2022. Without naming the victims, the New York Post reported that seven students at the school were involved, but age and gender were left out as well. Police reported that the incidents involved sex acts with minors, inappropriate touching, and the sharing of sexually graphic photos on online platforms.
Some of the charges against Gower include statutory rape, lewd acts with a child under the age of 14, sending harmful matter to seduce a child, and over 20 counts of child molestation. According to Alton Nelson, the CEO at Making Waves Academy, the school learned about the allegations involving the school’s biology teacher and immediately informed authorities and parents. They also reported that the school let the teacher go from her position at the school.
The devastating news marks the second time in under a decade that Making Waves Academy has “made waves” for sexual abuse cases. Ex-California teacher Ronald David Guinto is currently serving a 931-year sentence for the molestation of 15 boys that attended the charter school from 2011to 2013. Guinto founded a youth camp called Camp Epic for the school’s male youth. According to police, the teacher used the youth camp to lure in boys aged 11-12 that he molested. Settling a lawsuit in regards to the incident, Making Waves Academy shelled out nearly $11 million to the former students.
As the case involving the California teacher is fairly new, more evidence will likely come to fruition over time. Whether or not the school will once again have a lawsuit on its hands is still up in the air, but it is surely not a good look for the charter school. Charter schools have received more praise than ever in recent years amid the war on public schools. Charter schools are appeasing to many because of the way they are developed. Unlike public schools, they are established independently with the help of educators, parents, and community members. Similarly, charter schools do not fall under the same regulatory requirements their public counterparts do.
But just as charter school advocates praise such schools as being safer alternatives to public education, reports of abuse within charter schools have spiked at double the rate of public schools in recent years. Regretfully, the argument is a double-edged sword. Cases like this one involving the California teacher, unfortunately, pop up in all walks of education.