State Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) ups the tone of his comments on LAUSD's handling of child abuse claims in a release today on his request for a state performance audit on the issue.
Lara, who represents southeast Los Angeles, said he made the request after recent reports on "LAUSD's negligence in managing and documenting" claims of child abuse.
"The violation of trust and safety has left our communities grapping to understand how abuse can happen in our schools," Lara said. "...The continuous reports of the district's mismanagement of child abuse cases are appalling, and it is our responsibility to investigate the lapses in administrative oversight and idenity corrective actions so that predators are stopped."
The request for the performance audit was unanimously approved today by the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, and will begin immediately, said Julia Juarez, a spokeswoman from Lara's office.
Courtesy Cal. State Assembly Democratic Caucus website: http://asmdc.org/
Assemblymember Ricardo Lara represents California's 50th Assembly district
State officials unanimously approved a request today by an assemblyman representing southeast L.A. to conduct a performance audit into how L.A. Unified handles child abuse claims, a spokeswoman said.
The audit begins immediately, said Julia Juarez, a spokeswoman for Bell Gardens Democratic Assemblyman Ricardo Lara.
Lara, who chairs the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, requested the committee perform the audit after two teachers from Miramonte Elementary School were accused of lewd acts on children. L.A. Unified has since seen an increase in reports.
In his request, Lara asks the state auditor evaluate the district according to at least eight possible areas to identify policies and practices that need to be strengthened to improve oversight.
Superintendent John Deasy said he "welcomes" an audit that will strengthen laws to protect children.
Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy speaks during a press conference at South Region High School #2 in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.
L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy released a statement today saying he "welcomes a legislative audit" into the recent incidents of alleged sexual abuse at some of the district's campuses.
"The District supports any audit from governing agencies that seeks to strengthen laws to protect children," Deasy said in the statement. "This would include speeding up the process by which the District can dismiss emplyoees proven to have engaged in sexual misconduct. It's my expectation that any thorough audit would also look at the policies and procedures law enforcement follows in these cases."
Deasy said the district and its board are working to strengthen guidelines on how it notifies parents of sexual misconduct allegations in their children's schools. Details of these guidelines will be officially unveiled at a March 13 board meeting, but board member Nury Martinez provided KPCC with some details on the resolution she is crafting last week.
Here are some more details on Democratic Assemblyman Ricardo Lara's request for a performance audit of the Los Angeles Unified School District's handling and documentation of abuse claims against children.
Lara asks that the state auditor evaluate the district according to at least eight possible areas stated on page two and three of his Feb. 21 letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
We've posted the three-page letter below:
The Miramonte Elementary school's principal, Martin Sandoval speaks to the media outside his school in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2012.
The head of the administrators union said a directive by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy for principals to review all personnel files at their schools to ensure no misconduct went unreported is "virtually impossible to complete" in the allotted 60 days.
Deasy sent a letter to principals dated Feb. 15 directing them to immediately review all working folders at the school for certificated and classified employees to determine if all necessary reports have been made to authorities per state law. The review was ordered after a former Miramonte Elementary School teacher was accused of lewd acts on children.
The letter also requires principals to review current and past folders for any references to "complaints, letters, etc. from students, parents or adults regarding allegations of misconduct and/or any inappropriate behavior" even if the child protective agency determine not to investigate or determined the conduct was not a crime, so that appropriate administrative action such as discipline or dismissal can be taken.