Today, the California State Senate Education Committee is scheduled to discuss Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff’s (R-Diamond Bar) SB 1059, which seeks to streamline and improve the process for suspending or dismissing teachers for unprofessional conduct and/or criminal behavior. The bill addresses reforms proposed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the board of the Los Angeles Unified School District following recent reports of several teachers being charged with lewd crimes against students.
SB 1059, which has been co-authored by all Senate Republicans, will reduce mandated timelines that can often take several years by restructuring the tenuous and costly hearing and appeals processes; prevent the elimination of evidence from personnel files; amend current state law prohibiting the commencement of suspension or dismissal procedures against a teacher from May 15 to September 15; and require teachers under investigation for offenses involving sex, drugs or violence against students to be placed in non-classroom settings with no student contact.
“We should have zero tolerance for misconduct and abuse by those entrusted with our children’s safety,” said Huff. “Teachers under investigation for certain sex, drugs or violence offenses against our children should be immediately removed from the classroom and assigned duties not involving contact with children.”
Under current law, suspending or dismissing a permanent teacher can be more than a 12-step process that takes several years. In addition, current law prohibits introduction of evidence at a dismissal or suspension hearing if it relates to matters that occurred over four years prior. These dismissal proceedings are also extremely expensive, costing LAUSD an average of $300,000 for each case.
“Suspension and dismissal procedures and any subsequent appeals should be initiated and conducted in a timely fashion,” said Huff. “Justice delayed is justice denied, and that truth holds not just for students and their parents but for teachers too. I urge my Democrat colleagues to help pass this bill and work to put the safety of our students before the interest of some union bosses.”
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