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Teacher misconduct bill voted down; LAUSD board shocked, disappointed

June 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Unified School District board is reacting with shock and disappointment to an Assembly committee's rejection of a bill that they say would have protected students from sexual predators.

Superintendent John Deasy says rejection of the bill is shameful and beyond comprehension. The State Assembly Education Committee voted down Bill 1530 sponsored by State Sen. Alex Padilla. It would have dealt quickly with teachers accused of sex, drugs or violent offences involving students.

The LAUSD has dealt with several allegations of sexual misconduct this year. The most shocking case involved former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, who is accused of giving semen-laced cookies to his students.

The LAUSD tried to fire Berndt while he was under investigation but he fought dismissal. The district ended up settling with him for $40,000.

Deasy said Bill 1530 would have avoided a similar costly scenario in the future.

"This would have allowed in a narrow set of cases where a child is molested or uses drugs with a teacher or is actually harmed physically, you could have expedited with full due process that teacher's dismissal," Deasy said. "That won't be the case."

Meantime, the LAUSD board is scheduled to vote Thursday afternoon on the superintendent's final budget.

The agenda includes final approval of furlough agreements with various unions and adoption of the district budget.

Deasy has committed to finding $7 million needed to keep funding the district's afterschool program. He says that about 42,000 kids benefit from the program across the city.

Elimination of the afterschool program had been proposed as a means of helping to close the district's $390 million deficit for the coming year.


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