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LA Unified Supt. Deasy says he wants to change teacher's contract to protect students

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LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said today that the district will be starting discussions with the teacher's union to change or eliminate a practice in their contract that allows for allegations of misconduct to be removed after four years if it does not lead to discipline.

Deasy said in a statement that the district discovered this practice "inserted at the insistence of the teacher's union two decades ago," during the couse of its internal investigation into how it reports serious sexual misconduct committed by teachers against students.

The Los Angeles Times reported this morning that a clause in the contract requires unproven allegations of misconduct and reprimands that didn't result in discipline be removed from active personnel files after four years.

"In the interests of affording greater protections to our students, I have instructed the Los Angeles Unified School District's negotiating team to enter into discussions immediately with the teacher's union to change or eliminate this practice."

UTLA spokeswoman Marla Eby declined to comment. But according to the terms of the UTLA contract, administrators appear to have the ability to keep a separate "expired" file of what was reported after the four years have gone by.

The contract's Article X, Section 10.1 states: "Employees shall be permitted to "live down" or "work off" a pre-disciplinary document by the passage of a period of four years without a recurrence of the same or similar conduct (unless a shorter period is agreed to by the parties). After achieving that passage of time, if the document is retained by the administrator (as may be required by law), it should be kept in a separate "expired" file and not become a basis, in whole or part, for a subsequent formal disciplinary action."

School board member Nury Martinez is also crafting a resolution to put before the board at its next meeting March 13 that would direct the superintendent to review and reassess all personnel files from the last five years to ensure misconduct reports were properly responded addressed by officials.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).

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