Statement by Los Angeles Unified School District General Counsel Regarding Misconduct Allegations at George De La Torre Elementary

Los Angeles — The Los Angeles Unified School District’s general counsel responded today to comments made by attorneys Martha Escutia and John Manly about the recent arrest of a former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher on allegations of misconduct and the school district’s handling of the case.

The following is a statement by David Holmquist, general counsel for the school district, regarding the claims made by the attorneys:

“The school district is committed to providing the safest schools possible for all of our students. Anytime an incident like this occurs, it impacts our entire community. Every child we serve is important, and we would never willfully place students in harm’s way. We are consistently working to strengthen student safety, including implementing numerous policy changes and supporting meaningful statewide legislative reforms like Senator Padilla’s teacher dismissal bill. We would encourage Senator Escutia and Mr. Manly to work with us to support statewide legislative reforms that will provide a safer learning environment for our students.”

The school district has consistently worked to ensure that its policies and practices provide the safest learning environment possible. Over the past year, school leaders have engaged in extensive internal and external review of how it handles and responds to claims of misconduct. Among the student safety efforts supported by the school district in the past year are:

  • Updated internal reporting structure for notification of alleged misconduct to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). This enhanced review process has allowed the school district to improve the flow of information and report to the CTC more quickly than mandated.
  • ·         More specialized resources at the local level. Through the reorganization of the school district into Educational Service Centers, there are now more dedicated specialists at the local site to advise on misconduct issues and bolster student safety.
  • ·         A 72-hour parental notification policy for allegations of employee misconduct. Parents must now be notified in that window, unless the school district is specifically directed otherwise by law enforcement.
  • ·         Working with State Senator Alex Padilla to author a legislative package that would eliminate the appeals process and allow school districts to promptly dismiss teachers as a result of sexual misconduct.
  • ·         Participating in a full external audit by the California State Auditor of school district practices and efforts.
  • Creating a special investigative commission led by retired California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos Moreno and distinguished civil rights attorney Connie Rice, which will further expand on the work and recommendations presented by the state auditor’s report.