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UTLA files more than 600 complaints with LAUSD

United Teachers Los Angeles filed more than 600 Williams Complaints with the Los Angeles Unified School District. (May 8, 2012)
United Teachers Los Angeles filed more than 600 Williams Complaints with the Los Angeles Unified School District. (May 8, 2012)
Shirley Jahad/KPCC

United Teachers Los Angeles has filed more than 600 Williams Complaints with L.A. Unified stating that the district is failing to provide equal and sufficient critical services to students. 

The complaints written by teachers and parents are from more than a hundred schools in the district. The union held a 4:30 p.m. press conference to deliver the forms, which assert the district is not following state law.

"I have in my hand 600 forms representing 175 schools that have been identified as lacking in school nurses, librarians, counselors," said Unified Teachers L.A. treasurer Arlene Inouye. "These are the health and human services professionals they are saying are desperately needed."

Union officials say the district has severely impacted health and human services professionals, such as nurses, counselors and psychologists, through outsourcing, replacing them with other employees and volunteers, and issuing of 9,500 preliminary pink slips to teachers and such professionals.

In one Williams Complaint the author writes that the nurse is at the elementary school for 1/2 a day per week, that it is a "dangerous situation!" and that there are "no counseling services for students with emotional and behavioral problems."

In another complaint a mother writes: "My son [name redacted] has juvenile diabetes and requires a school nurse to monitor his blood sugar. His life depends on it. Please make sure there is a school nurse or my child's life could be in danger."

An audit report on nurses by the district's Office of the Inspector General released in February found that the budget had negatively impacted schools from providing nurses, that 13 out of 20 schools, or 65 percent, needed more nurse time. It found most campuses had nurses on average one to two times a week. The report recommended the district "consider increasing school nurse time at sites to ensure the health and safety of the students are protected."

L.A. Unified's Nursing Services agreed with the recommendation but said the "district budget deficit prohibits consideration of this recommendation." The district is facing a $390 million shortfall that has forced it to cut many programs in its budget plan and send preliminary pink slips to thousands of educators.

For more background on Williams Complaints and the district's comment click here.

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