Granada High Hit Hard

Arrest of teacher Marie Johnson on sex charges the third set back just halfway through the school year.

The school year has barely reached the halfway point and it is already reeling from three emotional tsunamis.

The first happened when beloved teacher died in August just before the start of the new school year. Students and teachers mourned his passing with , Facebook remembrances and an outpouring of grief.

The second came when Granada Leadership and Social Studies teacher Sommer Newkirk was diagnosed with leukemia. The Granada community chipped it by donating all proceeds to the First Annual Livermore-Granada Chili Cook-off in early November to help her family with expenses.

Then came the devastating news that a popular math teacher, had been arrested Jan. 11 just three days before she turned 41. Johnson was arrested on 24 counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation and lewd acts with a 14-year-old Granada High School student that happened from Dec. 2010 to May 2011 in her vehicle and other Livermore locations.

According to reports, , although she has not yet entered a plea. Her case to Feb. 23.

There are few things as jarring as hearing that a person in a position of authority over children has abused that role. When Johnson, a longtime teacher and mother of two, was arrested, it hit a lot of hot buttons. While she hasn’t yet had her day in court to defend herself against the allegations, just the whisper of scandal can cause screams in the community.

quickly followed, and as is often the case, people have been quick to judge. The difference now is that they have a public forum to vent with online comments in newspapers, social networks and on Patch.

Ironic given the fact that Johnson first had contact with the boy through social networking. Because of that, school officials are now discussing the wisdom in teachers interacting with students through such sites.

It’s disturbing to me to read ignorant comments about how lucky this boy is, and how it’s impossible for a woman to molest a boy barely into puberty.

If true, then according to many posters, the lessons this young person has been taught are these: It's OK for a forty-something person to have sex with a person barely into their teens. A person in authority over you can cross a professional line. And, especially if you are a male child, you should be happy that some older woman opted to act out on her sexual fantasies with you.

The impact of these alleged encounter shouldn’t be viewed like some sophomoric film. There are real consequences for both an adult and a young person who engages in this activity. A young man at that age is just forming their adult personalities. If he believes it’s a good thing to have sex with an older person, then what would stop him from thinking as a 40-year-old man that he could have a sexual relationship with a 13- or 14-year-old girl? His entire perception of women and acceptable behavior could be impacted.   

Right now the teen involved in the investigation and Johnson’s son — both about the same age — attend Granada High School. It’s time for adults to step up and make sure that each gets the proper support so that they can emerge from this ordeal with the right lessons learned.

Jaimeson Cortez January 24, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Mrs. Newkirk is doing much better, she's been back teaching our leadership class for almost two months now. The leukemia was identified as chronic myelocytic leukemia, not acute. She's on daily medication but she's just as active and involved as ever.
Jaimeson Cortez January 24, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Thank you so much. As a student at Granada, it's great to see positive comments like this. We have been through a lot this school year, but we really do appreciate having the community's support in understanding, coping, and most importantly- moving on.
Kristofer Noceda January 24, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Thank you Jaimeson for the updates.
Dodge This! January 26, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I am so done with this women and story, I can not wait till it goes away!
South Side Livermore January 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM
whoa... how is decency, limited to being just Christian influence on civilized society? I hope that Special Ed doesn't have any influence on children with this warped sense of inappropriate sexual justification. Tolerance, like that from which your comment derives, is the problem with civilized society today... especially the Bay Area Liberals who are so warped with pretentious entitlement hiding behind warped analysis so as to appear more evolved.... just like the occupy idiots... your analysis is warped by PC tolerance.... I hope no Auntie diddles fondles your children... poor kids, need a parent with a back bone...


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