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More Long Beach Poly Students Step Forward, Say Police Interviewed Them

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The entrance to the Long Beach Polytechnic campus (Megan Garvey / LAist)
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Earlier this week, we reported that the Long Beach Unified School District was investigating allegations that a teacher had used physical methods of discipline that students felt crossed the line.

Since then, three more students at Long Beach Polytechnic High School came forward to say they were pulled from class for interviews with police about their allegations against the teacher, Libby Huff, who's currently on paid leave.

The Long Beach Post has reported the city’s police department was informed of “allegations of criminal conduct by a teacher against students,” and is investigating.

The students — juniors Madison Thomas, Sina Lutali and Kiama Vamanrab — also confirmed to KPCC/LAist they participated in the originally anonymous Medium post that first outlined the students’ allegations against Huff.

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That makes a total of four students who have now told us, on the record, that they took part in writing the post. Another Poly teacher, Myriam Gurba, has also vouched for the document’s authenticity.

In the Medium post, students alleged Huff had thrown highlighters at students, duct-taped them to desks, and grabbed them by their ears, hair or wrists.

Lutali and Vamanrab were also both in Huff’s classroom when they say the teacher used the “N-word” while speaking to a black student.

On Wednesday, the students said administrators and security guards came to pull them and other students out of class for interviews with police.

The students told KPCC/LAist they weren't allowed to contact their parents before the interview. California law does not provide parents the right to be present when police question their child. Still, the students were freaked out.

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“I was really nervous,” Vamanrab said. “It’s me, a teenager, going to talk to a grown adult by myself without my parents. It was a nervous, scary feeling.”

Thomas said she was given the opportunity to decline the interview. Lutali and Vamanrab both said they weren’t presented with that option.

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