SOUTH GATE (  — Parents had mixed feelings after coming out of a meeting with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health after a third-grade teacher at Montara Elementary School died of bacterial meningitis last week.

“Nobody’s really satisfied because at the end that’s our kids,” parent Roxanne Barraza said.

Barraza says at times the meeting got heated.  One of the parents asked about how the teacher contracted the disease.

Health officials wouldn’t answer the question but they say the last day the teacher was at school was February 3. The incubation period is 10 days, so no students should be at risk after the 13th. All kids in the teachers’ class were given antibiotics.

Barraza says she has concerns because even though her daughter wasn’t in the teacher’s class, she still spent time with her.

“They could give the shot to everybody,” Barraza said.

Dr. Benjamin Schwartz from the health department says that could do more harm than good.

“If they’re used unnecessarily they may help the development of antibiotic resistance,” Schwartz said.

The disease is spread through direct contact with saliva or mucous. Parents were told the entire school was sanitized, reassuring some parents.

“If they said it then I need to believe it,” Parent Yazmin Mery said.

Students identified the teacher as Ramona Gedney, a 16-year veteran of the LAUSD. Candles were lit for her at a small memorial outside the school.

As Barraza worries for her daughter’s health, her daughter says she still can’t believe Ms. Gedney is gone.

“Very sad. On the day that they told us, everybody started crying,” third-grader Prissia Barraza said.

Comments (2)
  1. The Meningitis Foundation of America offers extensive information regarding diagnosis, immunization, recovery and the after effects of meningitis. ***MFA survives entirely by donations.*** Since 1997 we have assisted people through resources and advocacy in efforts to help those affected with meningitis overcome and those around them understand the journey ahead. We promote prevention and safety measure in at risk communities and help explain the short term, long term effects and recovery treatments of meningitis to the media and public at large. Meningitis is a dangerous & often times fatal infection that can lead to serious life-long physical problems and even death. Every life is worth vaccinating. We are here to provide emotional support to those who need it; please feel free to reach out to us at
    Caroline L. Petrie
    National Secretary
    Meningitis Foundation of America, Inc.
    World Meningitis Day 24 April
    Be Proactive & Educate~Vaccinate~Eradicate

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