LAUSD: Reckoning with abuse?

By Marlith on Flickr
By Marlith on Flickr

Today, the L.A. Unified School District’s board will consider reforms that are supposed to make it faster and easier for the district to get rid of teachers and personnel charged with crimes. They’re also supposed to better inform parents when crimes are suspected to have occurred in a school.

Right now, tenured educators have a right to an administrative hearing within 60 days of being dismissed from the classroom. That process can take years according to L.A. school board member Tamar Galatzan. “Right now, it’s a very lengthy process. It gives school districts very little leeway in getting rid of people for unprofessional conduct,” said Galatzan. “From the time a person is dismissed by a school board to the time that appeals and everything run out usually takes somewhere between two to seven years. And in many cases that person stays on the district payroll the entire time.”

According to Galatzan, once a school board votes to fire a teacher that’s just the beginning of the process. The teacher has a certain amount of time to file an appeal with a state appeals board and then there is a hearing, and potentially more appeals. “And frequently people avail themselves of many options, especially if they are being paid the entire time,” Galatzan said.

The resolutions before the board today would allow the district to to remove an instructor immediately after starting dismissal hearings. New rules would also require teachers to agree to hearings within a certain number of days or risk losing salary and benefits during the adjudication process.

Other resolutions would require the school district to find better ways to communicate with parents when there are suspicions of misconduct at a school.