The Nicholas Jr. High Sex Abuser: What Went Wrong?

Over at the OC Weekly, Gustavo Arellano got his hands on the deposition tapes for the civil trial of Melissa Nicole Lindgren. She was the young Nicholas Jr. High teacher who is doing 4 years in state prison for lewd acts against three Fullerton students.

Despite numerous warning signs, the abuse occurred under the school administrators noses for several years before she was finally arrested in 2014.

Sad Days Ahead

Mr. Arellano’s article goes into great detail, but here is the most important question:

Who is responsible for leaving this predator in the classroom after numerous warning signs?

Let’s take a look at the suspects:

The Fullerton Police Department: Received an anonymous letter alleging inappropriate activity with students. Detectives claim they investigated the issues, but they ultimately cleared the teacher.  According to one inside source, the FPD’s failed investigation actually hampered the school district’s ability to take action.

Matthew Barnett, Nicholas principal: Noted many warning signs, but ultimately “couldn’t put his finger” on Lindgren’s indiscretions until she was arrested. He also forgot to interview Lindgren about the accusations in the anonymous letter. Barnett has since been promoted to “Director of Educational Services” at the Fullerton School District.

The Fullerton School Board: Fairly useless in disciplinary matters. Most of the school board is content to take cover behind state laws that prevent them from resolving personnel issues. The one action the board did take responsibility for: paying a $3.25 million settlement to Lindgren’s victims.

The teachers’ union: School administrators will tell you that their investigatory and disciplinary powers are extremely limited by special state laws that protect deviant teachers like Lindgren. These laws are put into place by elected officials at the behest of the powerful California Teachers Association. These protections clearly hindered the district’s ability to investigate and terminate a child predator in their midst.

“I can’t think of a single thing that we could have done in our roles to do anything differently,” said Barnett.

So back to the question. Who is responsible for allowing this teacher to run wild?

Take your pick. But wherever blame is cast, there is one certainty that nobody will admit: The Fullerton School District can’t offer any assurance of your child’s safety. And everyone involved seems to be OK with that.

17 Replies to “The Nicholas Jr. High Sex Abuser: What Went Wrong?”

    1. It’s funny, huh? We have created a governmental system where NO ONE is ever to blame for ANYTHING. It’s called no-fault government, and man has Kalifornia got it.

      1. Right. And the really hilarious part is that the more money they rake in the less accountability they have.

        And by hilarious I mean acutely diseased.

        1. If I had a vote, I’d put most of the blame on the union and thier pervert-protecting policies. It’s really too bad that none of the other parties involved are willing call a spade a spade.

          1. I don’t recall reading too much about the President of the Fullerton Joint high school district being arrested so I thought Id share…

            Ritz left his math teaching position at La Habra High in May 2016. At the time of his retirement, there was no record of local complaints against him at Fullerton Joint Union High School District, where he recently served as a union president…


  1. The problem with school districts is that the teachers who can’t or don’t want to teach become six-figure administrators even though they can’t do anything else either. That’s how you get lame-o’s being paid to do budgets, HR, and facilities who are virtually worthless.

    1. FOT, you just described our last city manager

  2. I see four responsible parties listed above and none of them have bothered to propose any solutions that reduce the risk of this happening again.

      1. Which one?

        Oh, right it doesn’t matter. Neither one.

  3. What about all the teachers who had classrooms near Lindgren’s? Didn’t they notice something not quite right?

    1. “She covered windows in her classroom—one door down from the teacher’s lounge, three from the principal’s office—with posters and construction paper. “

      1. Maybe the Principal bought her story that it was turn the place into a dark room for the photography club.

        He looks like a bright chap.

  4. Obviously, you can’t blame Barnettt. A guy with a bow tie and a suit is impeccable or as they say in my profession, impeachable.

  5. Barnett,the bow tie wearing clown,was known as a brutal dictator at Nicolas. Board member Thompson was told and did nothing, cross him you were done,unless he liked youthe way he liked his Vice Principal that had an unusual attraction to Junior High girls and weed.
    Willowbrook parents beware

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