H’wood’s posh school for scandal

Los Angeles school learns a new lesson

Wealthy Angelenos often bestow big-ticket items on their kids’ private school teachers at holiday time — sometimes with the hope of preferential treatment for their children.

A recent New Yorker article on private school gift-giving by Caitlin Flanagan implied that West Hollywood’s tony Center for Early Childhood Education, which her kids attend, was above the practice.

“Ours is a profession that is under seige all the time,” school director Reveta Bowers told Flanagan. “When we allow ourselves to be tipped — brought to the level of service workers — we invite people to view us as less than professional.”

But L.A. parents got a timely reminder last week that influence peddling at L.A. private schools isn’t limited to expensive Christmas presents — even at a relentlessly egalatarian academy like the Center.

With alumni parents like Denzel Washington and Jack Nicholson, the school probably isn’t having any fundraising problems. The school is even known in Hollywood as the “Center for Early Materialism.”

Disney CEO Michael Eisner also sent his kids to the Center. And Bowers, a former Disney director, was named last week in Securities and Exchange Commission charges, when Disney settled a long-running SEC investigation that Disney board members had children working for the company.

That includes Bowers’ son Craig Bowers, who was employed at Disney Internet Group to the tune of $81,863 during fiscal 2001.

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