Music teacher investigated for allegedly contaminating flutes with bodily fluids


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UPDATE 4:40 PM MONDAY

Local, state and federal agencies investigate music specialist who allegedly placed bodily fluids on “flute-like instruments” in as many as 23 southern California school districts, including two in the Santa Clarita Valley .

During the weekend Saugus Union School District (SUSD) and the Castaic Union School District (CUSD) warned parents of the ongoing investigation into the undisclosed music teacher who visited school campuses as part of the “Flutes around the world” program.

“The artist hands out a flute-like musical instrument made from PVC pipe or bamboo to students during a music class, and the allegation is that he contaminated some of these instruments with semen,” said SUSD Superintendent Joan Lucid in an email sent to parents on Saturday. “These allegations are deeply concerning and I realize that they raise many questions.”

The investigation of the incident is being conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service with assistance from the California Department of Justice, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and several law enforcement agencies. .

A statement to The Signal from the US Postal Inspection Service said the agency was not commenting on ongoing investigations and could not provide information on how it discovered the alleged incidents.

However, Lucid noted that law enforcement “is focused on workshops where students have made” flutes “from PVC pipes with a specific person.”

This includes at least seven locations — Bridgeport, James Foster, Mountainview, North Park, Rosedell, Tesoro del Valle, and West Creek — where the independent contractor has hosted workshops, assemblies, and evening programs.

SUSD said it does not list schools that have held a similar program with another music specialist because, based on the knowledge of the district, the individual is not part of the survey.

Five SUSD schools, including Emblem Elementary Schools, Highlands, Plum Canyon, Rio Vista and Santa Clarita, did not hold workshops or meetings of the person under investigation.

Monday, CUSD announcement that the “Flutes Around the World Program” was only at Castaic Elementary, but the music specialist also held assemblies at Live Oak Elementary and Northlake Hills Elementary.

A list of schools in the Castaic Union School District that have hosted the “Flutes Across the World” program and assemblies provided by the person being investigated for placing bodily fluids on student flutes.

Both districts confirmed that students were never left alone with the person under investigation and that they were never without the supervision of a teacher.

CUSD and SUSD are working with law enforcement and have encouraged parents to place the decorated flutes in sealed paper bags and take them to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, located at 23740 Magic Mountain Parkway.

“As a precaution, we ask families who may have had children in the neighborhood in this type of program, in which students decorated PVC flutes or participated in other similar programs within the community, to withdraw those flutes of your child’s possession. and place them in a sealed paper bag, ”CUSD Superintendent Steve Doyle said in an email to parents.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station said it received at least 10 flutes from parents on Monday alone.

“Once again, I wish to apologize for this difficult situation,” said Doyle. “Please be aware that this is an ongoing investigation and we are limited in what we can share.”

To answer some of the parents’ questions, SUSD has created a “Survey Information” page on its website which is expected to be updated at 10:00 am each day with new information.

“While we do not have answers to all of the questions that reach us, the purpose of this message is to provide the information we have at this time and to let you know that we will continue to work to answer your questions.” , indicates the page. read.

The news shocked parents who took to social media to voice their concerns and frustrations on the Santa Clarita community’s public Facebook page.

“I feel so disgusted,” Erin Thompson Hill wrote. “My daughter took this program in North Park last spring and still uses her flute regularly. “

“Even though my child was not in this program, it is outrageous, disgusting, horrible and absolutely excruciating,” wrote Randi E. Wyatt-Billings. “I am sorry for the children and the parents who were raped.”

Other parents have expressed a desire to have their children tested for sexually transmitted infections.

“Part of me is still worried,” a parent told The Signal. “It could go further.

Out of caution, Lucid said SUSD has temporarily put an end to all events with subcontractors and outside consultants who come into contact with students.

Doyle also posted the United States Postal Inspector’s hotline number for inquiries and information. Parents are encouraged to call the hotline at 626-405-1200.

At that time, SUSD and CUSD were the only school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley that would have been affected by the alleged incident.

Signal reporter Ryan Painter contributed to this story.

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