So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Miramonte Elementary School teachers file grievance against LA Unified

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Miramonte students and parents protested a complete change in faculty and staff at the elementary school this February. The protest sign reads: "We don't want new teachers"

The 85 Miramonte Elementary School teachers, who were removed from their classrooms as part of an investigation into two teachers accused of sexual misconduct, have filed a grievance against the Los Angeles Unified School District, a union spokeswoman said today.

The grievance was filed Feb. 8 in the name of the teachers at the school who are now being housed on the still-under-construction and unopened Augustus Hawkins High School campus.

Superintendent John Deasy ordered all staff at Miramonte Elementary relocated over two pupil-free days during the first week of February. At a meeting with parents Feb. 6, informing them of the decision, Deasy said it was necessary to take drastic measures to make sure students are safe. An entire new staff was brought into the school along with a counselor placed in each classroom.


Update: LAUSD submits 77 teacher misconduct files to state's credentialing agency in internal investigation

L.A. Unified has submitted 77 files to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing over the last two weeks as part of an internal investigation, said district spokesman Thomas Waldman today.

The state agency warned Superintendent John Deasy in a letter Feb. 15 that the district putting students at risk by not filing a timely report on a former Miramonte Elementary teacher accused of lewd acts on children.

Deasy has ordered an internal investigation into the district's reporting to the state agency on teacher credentialing. He is asking for all files over the last three academic years, plus this year, be (re)filed.

"We're ulling all cases, regardless of whether they were previously filed," Waldman said.

The commission said Wednesday it had received 65 files from the district in the last week.


Calif. teacher credentialing agency receives 65 reports on LAUSD teacher misconduct in one week

Teacher Classroom Bondage

Damian Dovarganes/AP

Former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt has been charged with 23 lewd acts upon a child. LAUSD says it broke the law by not providing a timely report on his case to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has received 65 reports of teacher misconduct from LAUSD in the past week, an agency spokeswoman said today.

The commission sent Superintendent John Deasy a letter Feb. 15 by fax and U.S. post informing him that the district was posing a "potential risk to student safety" by not filing the timely reports required by state regulation when a teacher's employment status changes. Deasy said last week the district had still not received the letter.

The commission sent a follow-up letter by fax and post Feb. 17, which the district said it received.

In the case of former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, accused of spoon-feeding his semen to children, KPCC reported that the district did not file paperwork with the commission until nearly a year after it moved to dismiss Berndt.


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

Deasy talks Miramonte

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy addresses media at South Region High School 2 after meeting with parents and informing them that all staff from Miramonte Elementary School will be replaced because of lewd conduct charges against two teachers in separate cases.

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."


'Good people shouldn't be worried,' says LAUSD board member

Miramonte Elementary School

Grant Slater/KPCC

Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort children out of school on Feb. 6, 2012.

Here's a little context on what sort of policy might come out of LAUSD after a former Miramonte Elementary School teacher was accused of 23 lewd acts on a child, and other sexual abuse allegations have been reported against district employees in the last few weeks.

School board member Steve Zimmer said he hasn't yet seen the resolution being crafted by board member Nury Martinez, which will be presented to the board March 13 at their next meeting.

Zimmer said it is key the district ensures that it goes back and thoroughly combs through all its employees' personnel files.

"It's making sure that we don't have folks who are still in regular contact with children, who may have had incomplete investigations, or instead of completing an investigation the action was to transfer, that is what I'm most concerned about," Zimmer said.