Board Passes Resolution to Improve State Teacher Dismissal Process

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 11, 2012) – Taking aim at the state’s “lengthy, expensive dismissal process,” which can take years to fire a teacher, the Los Angeles School Board approved today a resolution calling on California lawmakers to put children first when balancing the rights of adults and the safety of students.

Sponsored by Board President Mónica García, Board Vice President Tamar Galatzan and Board Member Nury Martinez, the resolution acknowledged “that the overwhelming majority of District employees are competent and caring professionals committed to the safety and academic success of all students.”

But the new policy emphasized, “No accommodation or protection can be extended to any employee who preys on our children and violates the trust between the student and the adult.”

“Not only are we responsible for each student’s education, but we are responsible for the well being and safety of every student in and out of the classroom,” said Board President Mónica García.  “The District must implement the recommendations listed in the report, and we must demand that our state leadership stand with our children and pass legislation that serves the interest of children and helps us ensure their safety.”

Board Vice President Galatzan said, “LAUSD had made huge strides in improving its handling of child abuse allegations, but much work remains. This resolution is a start. Moving forward, the District must find the bottlenecks in the current system, fix them, and streamline the process, so that teachers are treated fairly and, above all, our students are safe in the classroom.”

Another sponsor, Nury Martinez, said, “As a School Board Member and a mom, the safety of all of our kids is something always in the forefront of my mind. Our schools are intended to be the ultimate safe haven for our students, and our teachers are intended to not just be educators -- but protectors. This resolution sends the message loud and clear that our children's safety comes first by expediting the termination process of teachers who have harmed students that currently is too complicated, lengthy, and expensive."

Referencing the recently released Bureau of State Audits report titled “Los Angeles Unified School District: It Could Do More to Improve Its Handling of Child Abuse Allegations,” the resolution identifies improvements that have been made to the District’s policies and procedures in this area. It also renews the request to change the state’s permanent employee dismissal process when it pertains to a violation of student safety.

Contact: Tom Waldman (213) 241-6766