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LA District's Own Misdeeds Spark New Legislation on Misconduct Charges


Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Los Angeles) has introduced a bill that would implement a change recommended in a recent state report that slammed the Los Angeles Unified School District for improperly handling child abuse charges.  Sen. Lara is seeking inter-district communication about a classified employee who has left a district while under investigation of misconduct with a student.

SB 160 is co-authored by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and together with Sen. Lara, says they plan to work with labor on the bill. They want to make sure students are safe and no employee becomes "blacklisted" because of unfounded accusations.

Sen. Lara piloted the original legislative panel that authorized the state "performance audit of the district," and he wrote SB 160 to respond to the audit finding that "there is no statewide mechanism to communicate among school districts when a classified employee at any school district separates by dismissal, resignation, or settlement during the course of an investigation involving misconduct with students."

The performance audit also criticized the LAUSD for repeatedly failing to report abuse allegations against certificated personnel. This failure came despite the legal requirement that officials inform the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) about the allegations.  The CCTC can yank a teacher's credential if charges warrant. Without a credential, an educator can't work in any district in California.

Classified employees, by definition, don't have credentials – so they're not subject to the CCTC's oversight.

CTA does not currently have a position on the bill, but will be monitoring the legislation and working with labor coalition partners.

Read more about the audit entitled Los Angeles Unified School District: It Could Do More to Improve Its Handling of Child Abuse Allegations.

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