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No walkout for teachers; rallies planned

May 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles Unified School District teachers will be in class Friday, despite the threat of a citywide teacher walkout.United Teachers Los Angeles, the union representing the LAUSD teachers, has agreed to abide by a Superior Court judge ruling that bars educators from walking off the job Friday.

Instead, teachers will picket outside schools for an hour before class and at LAUSD headquarters after school, to protest thousands of potential district layoffs to close a massive budget deficit.

The union had planned a one-day walkout Friday, but Judge James Chalfant issued a restraining order Tuesday blocking the union from staging the strike. The judge cited student health and safety.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit from the district. Teachers who violate the order could face up to a $1,000 fine and possibly lose their teaching credentials.

"Responsible leadership acts responsibly," said UTLA president A.J. Duffy. "I could not, in all good conscience, hold the teachers up to thousands of dollars in fines and the revocation of their credentials for defying a court order."

Aside from the picketing, set to begin at 7 a.m. Friday, the union also said teachers would take part in an act of "civil disobedience" at an undisclosed time and location.

LAUSD Superintendent Ray Cortines said he was pleased with the union's decision.

"We are united in our goal to educate our students," said Cortines. "We have to start working together. A climate of us-versus-them hurts everyone, especially our students."

City News Service contributed to this story.

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