State senator calls for audit of LAUSD’s ‘teacher jail’
The state Joint Legislative Audit Committee yesterday approved an request by Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) to examine LA Unified’s “teacher jail,” a controversial process the district uses when investigating allegations of wrongdoing by employees. “The goal of this audit is to examine the basis, extent, and impact ‘Teacher Jail’ has on student learning as well as...
By Craig Clough | January 14, 2016
JUST IN: LAUSD slapped with $1 billion lawsuit to end teacher jails
Following up on a months-long threat, high-profile attorney Mark Geragos today slapped LA Unified with a class action lawsuit, calling for an end to the practice of “teacher jails” and asking for more than $1 billion in damages. The suit was filed in state superior court on behalf of Rafe Esquith, a well-known teacher who was dismissed...
By Mike Szymanski | October 15, 2015
UTLA discusses new issues of unjustly housed teachers
When the union representing LA Unified teachers meets tomorrow afternoon to discuss “unjustly housed teachers,” one of the potential discussion issues is whether UTLA could get involved in the class action suit against LAUSD arising out of dispute involving Ralf Esquith. Lawyers representing have asked the union to join the class action but is still awaiting a response....
By Mike Szymanski | September 14, 2015
Suspended teacher sues LAUSD over Facebook page he says is fake
A teacher at LA Unified filed a lawsuit against the district Wednesday after he was suspended in 2014 over a lewd Facebook page that was created with his name and image on it. A student was eventually arrested by the LAPD and charged with creating the page, but not before the teacher, Jason Duchan, was suspended from...
By Craig Clough | August 21, 2015
JUST IN: Ian McKellen, Hal Holbrook join video to support Esquith
In response to the “teacher jailing” of a beloved LA Unified teacher, Rafe Esquith, acclaimed actors Ian McKellen and Hal Holbrook joined past and present students in a You Tube video to offer their support for Esquith and to show how money spent from his after-school program, Hobart Shakespeareans, benefitted his students. “It is our response to their request for 15...
By Mike Szymanski | July 29, 2015
To speed up probes, LAUSD has doubled investigation team
The staff that investigates allegations against residents of LA Unified’s “teacher jail” has doubled since the team started last year, with the aim of clearing cases faster. The Student Safety Investigation Team (SSIT) now has 15 members, including six full-time investigators, four LA school police, two forensic specialists and one supervising investigator. The team is...
By Mike Szymanski | July 20, 2015
Most in LAUSD ‘jail’ facing charges of sexual misconduct, violence
Despite persistent concerns about teachers sexually harassing or abusing students in the classroom, only slightly more than a third of the teachers and other school personnel currently in LA Unified’s so-called “teacher jail” have been accused of sexual misconduct, according to the district’s latest accounting. Almost the same number are facing accusations of “violence.” As of...
By Mike Szymanski | July 17, 2015
A closer look at the Mark Twain quote that led to ‘teacher jail’
Just what was it that landed Rafe Esquith, a nationally-renowned teacher, in LA Unified’s “teacher jail”? A line from Mark Twain, his lawyer said in a letter to the district. Esquith’s lawyer, Ben Meiselas, told the district no parent had complained, nor had a student complained. LAUSD officials, ever more sensitive to classroom issues and protections of students since...
By Mike Szymanski | July 15, 2015
JUST IN: Geragos plans class action against LAUSD over teacher jails
High-profile attorney Mark Geragos has notified LAUSD that he intends to file a class action lawsuit about the so-called “teacher jails” that could involve hundreds–and potentially thousands–of past and present teachers. The required notice for the class action lawsuit was stamped and received by the school board on June 22, and 45 days from that...
By Mike Szymanski | July 13, 2015
Cortines springs an art teacher after months in ‘teacher jail’
LA Unified art teacher Stuart Lutz had a celebratory homecoming today as he returned to the classroom after nearly eight months in so-called “teacher jail.” Lutz was pulled from South Gate Middle School on April 21 while the district investigated allegations of mishandling fundraising money for an annual field trip to Disneyland Art Studio. Throughout...
By Vanessa Romo | December 17, 2014