California Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan has introduced AB 215, a bill that would quicken the dismissal process for teachers accused of egregious misconduct - including sexual abuse, child abuse and some drug crimes.
Currently, teachers suspected of those crimes go through the same hearing and appeal process as those accused of incompetency.
During the Miramonte Elementary School sex abuse scandal several years ago, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said state dismissal regulations tied their hands, preventing them from taking quick action to suspend or fire accused teachers. The new bill proposes that egregious misconduct cases be handled separately from hearings that are held for teachers accused of incompetence.
AB 215 would speed up the appeals process in cases where teaching staff have been dismissed for sexual or physical abuse against students or colleagues. The bill proposes that one administrative law judge hear egregious misconduct cases, instead of a three-person panel. It also calls for litigants to have no access to the Superior Court for suspension appeals.
The education reform group, EdVoice has advocated for a quicker teacher dismissal process; but the California Teachers Association had voiced opposition, citing concerns about protecting due process rights. Now both groups, along with Governor Brown, have said they'll support the new legislation.