By Michael Linder
Parents knew something was up at Garden Grove Elementary School IMPACT Academy, at 2250 Tracy Avenue. They'd been sent letters, alerting them that a police investigation was underway after allegations surfaced on February 22.
But 32-year-old sixth grade teacher Malia Brooks was regarded as an exemplary teacher. Simi Valley Unified School District superintendent Dr.
Kathy Scroggins said Brooks had been employed since September, 2004, and that she'd been evaluated, until now, as an exemplary teacher. The District would not say how it learned of the accusations. Some parents were shocked, describing Brooks as "a phenomenal person."
Brooks turned herself in on Tuesday under a negotiated arrest, and was charged Wednesday of having a sexual relationship with young boy at the school. The district would not say if he was a student in Brooks' class.
Brooks was charged with one count of a lewd act upon a child, one count of oral copulation of a person under 14, and three counts of genital penetration by a foreign object with a person under 14 years of age when the suspect is more than 10 years older than the victim. According to the district, Brooks had been placed on administrative leave on Feb. 21.
Outside the courtroom Wednesday, attorney Ron Bamieh said his client "suffers from a mental illness. We've had her diagnosed and she's in treatment. My guess is a lot of the charges precipitated from that illness,"
Simi Valley Police, in a Wednesday news release, said there were no indications that Malia Brooks had other victims. In its statement, the district said it has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of students and staff at its schools.