LAUSD teacher mourned at memorial service

FLORENCE, Calif. Rigoberto Ruelas was a fifth grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary school. Authorities found his body on Sunday near a ravine in the Angeles National Forest. Sheriff's officials said he committed suicide by jumping off a bridge.

Hundreds packed into the memorial service at Santa Maria Catholic Church Wednesday, where Ruelas was remembered as a dedicated teacher.

Last month, the Los Angeles Times named Ruelas as one of the "less effective" teachers according to the controversial value-added evaluation system. The union that represents teachers in the LAUSD called on the Times to take down the rankings, still published on their website.

"There is so much evidence to show that it was the straw to break the camel's back, so to speak, and there are many teachers that have expressed being despondent and demoralized over this," said Julie Washington, United Teachers Los Angeles Vice President.

Washington was one of several UTLA officials to attend the memorial, along with students and colleagues from Miramonte.

"Yes, we all get bad reviews at work but not many of us, in fact nobody I know except teachers, gets it published in the L.A. Times," said former student Andy Ramos.

The L.A. Times has expressed its condolences to the family, but said the published database is based on seven years of state test scores and that parents and the public have a right to judge the data for themselves.

There will be one more memorial service and mass before Rigo Ruelas will be laid to rest on October 5.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.