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Majority of Los Angeles School Board Supports Bill to Speed Dismissal of Teachers Who Prey on Children

Resolution Backing Senate Bill 10 Passes Five to One

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 15, 2013) – Because firing a teacher for misconduct can take years and cost, on average, $300,000, a majority of the Board of Education backed on Tuesday a
resolution supporting a bill that would speed up the process, and make it more cost effective.
SB 10 would also transfer the final authority for dismissals from the Commission on Professional
Competence to local school boards.

School Board President Mónica García, Board Vice-President Tamar Galatzan and
Board Member Nury Martinez sponsored the resolution, which was opposed solely by
Board Member Marguerite LaMotte Poindexter. Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic
was absent.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that every child is provided with a safe learning
environment,” said Board President García. “We must continue to demand that our
state leadership stand with our children and pass legislation like SB 10 that is consistent
with the state audit and serves the interest of children.”

"When school districts decide to dismiss a teacher for unprofessional, immoral or
criminal conduct, state policies make the dismissal process ineffective and costly," said
Board Vice-President Galatzan. "Senator Alex Padilla's SB10 is a critical step towards
keeping children safe in the classroom."

School Board Member Nury Martinez worked with Senator Padilla to create the first
version of the bill, SB 1530, which last year passed the State Senate but was ultimately
killed in the Assembly's Education Committee. School Board Member Martinez
introduced the resolution with School Board Vice President Galatzan as a co-sponsor to
support Padilla’s current bill SB 10 and to put pressure on Sacramento to do the right
thing this time around.

“I am pleased that Senator Padilla has taken this issue back to our State Legislature and will fight for the rights of our children in every classroom. I am hopeful that this time around Sacramento will wake up and understand the urgency of this matter. As a School Board Member and a mother of a 3 year old who just started pre-school, I believe wholeheartedly that we cannot take any chances when it comes to the safety of our students,” School Board Member Martinez said.

In a reference to the increasing number of teachers accused or convicted of
inappropriate sexual conduct with students, the resolution states: “Recent events make
it clear that heightened vigilance and more proactive measures are needed for the
District to more effectively identify, prosecute and terminate any employee who
endangers the physical or emotional health of our students.”

While recognizing that the overwhelming majority of teachers “are competent and caring
professionals committed to the safety and academic success of all students,” the
resolution also emphasized, “In balancing the safety of our students against the rights of
adults, children always come first.”

SB 10 would expedite the dismissal process for certificated public school employees in
cases involving sex, drugs or violence involving children. It is a repeat attempt by State
Sen. Alex Padilla to improve the plodding and expensive teacher-termination process.
His previous effort was defeated by the California Legislature.
 
Contact: Tom Waldman, (213) 241-6766
 
 
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