Senate Democrats Choose Adults Over Student Safety

Quash SB 1059 (Huff, R-Diamond Bar), pass watered down SB 1530 (Padilla, D-Pacoima)
Thursday, April 19, 2012

On a party-line vote Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee defeated Republican-sponsored bill SB 1059, shortly after passing a watered-down version of a similar bill, SB 1530 (Padilla). Both bills addressed reforms proposed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Unified School District in the wake of recent reports of several teachers being charged with lewd crimes against their students, but SB 1059 went further providing local school districts the ability to take swift action to suspend or dismiss teachers under investigation for unprofessional conduct and/or criminal behavior.

“We should have a zero tolerance for those entrusted with our children,” said State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff. “Instead we get bureaucratic protections that keep teachers under investigation for offenses involving sex abuse, drugs and violence against students in the classroom. Parents should be outraged.”

“All parties agree that the teacher dismissal process is costly and hopelessly ineffective,” said Senator Sam Blakeslee. “The comprehensive proposal, SB 1059, was supported by Mayor Villaraigosa and the LA Unified School District, but was defeated after special interests mobilized against reforms. The Legislature missed an opportunity to make major progress, and instead settled for minor changes.”

See “SB 1059 – Zero Tolerance, SB 1530 – Zero Enforcement,” (pdf) for a chart comparing the elements of both bills with LAUSD’s resolution.

As passed, SB 1530 (Padilla) fails to ensure that teachers are removed from the classroom while investigations are conducted, that allegations and evidence of misconduct are not removed from personnel files just because they occurred over four years prior, and that misconduct includes such outrageous behavior as making a 14 year-old girl urinate into a bucket in front of her classmates, locking a student in a cage or calling a student "Jew boy."

See “SB 1059 vs. SB 1530 – Which Better Protects Students?” (pdf) for a chart that contains two dozen recent examples of real-life teacher misconduct examples that SB 1530 (Padilla) deems acceptable.

“The Senate Education Committee’s actions exemplify the comments made by Albert Shanker, former head of the United Federation of Teachers, who stated, ‘When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren. Once again the Democrats on the committee have chosen to put the demands of some union bosses over the safety of our children.”

See “The Eight-Year Path to Dismissal” (pdf) for an overview of the multi-year process that can cost up to $300,000.

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