LAUSD BLACKLISTING THOUSANDS OF TEACHERS- HOW THEY DO IT
(Mensaje se repite en Español)
One fundamental principal of any honest legal system is that those who are party to a dispute are not allowed to call all the shots as to what is relevant and what is not in investigating and fairly resolving the dispute. If this were allowed to take place, that party's own actions or interests in arriving at a predetermined unfair result would never be scrutinized by a truly neutral party. And yet that is precisely what has now gone on for years at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) without any outside governmental intervention in a process where thousands of teachers have not only been removed from their jobs based on completely fabricated charges, but it has also subsequently led to their being blacklisted in a manner that almost assures they will never work again as a teachers in any setting.
The euphemistically named Student Safety Investigation Team (SSIT) at LAUSD- that sounds and seems to function in a manner similar to the Committee of Public Safety in the French Revolution- who determined those who were to be sent to the guillotine- now has 15 members, including six full-time investigators, four LA school police, two forensic specialists and one supervising investigator. However, the problem here is that SSIT is headed by 30 year LAUSD veteran José Cantu, who in no way shape or form is independent enough from LAUSD to be given the power of a sole arbiter as to whether predominantly senior teachers should lose their jobs- especially when LAUSD has the strong incentive of saving $60,000 a year for every top-of-the-salary scale teacher they remove.
One might also note as past LAUSD Board President Richard Vladovic pointed out that, "No exculpatory evidence of innocence or right-doing is ever presented to the LAUSD Board in actions brought before it to terminate [these expensive teachers]."
So what ensues is a completely one-sided process where a file is built that not only fabricates charges against teachers, it also solicits false statements in support of these fabricated charges, which LAUSD students and employees seeking to ingratiate themselves with their superiors are only too happy to give- especially since their statements are not verified under penalty of perjury as the law requires- but this fact continues to be ignored.
Faced with the daunting task of trying to defend oneself without any help from your union United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), most teachers without the financial or emotional ability to sustain and defend themselves for what becomes years against this formidable array of LAUSD power, jump at the chance to resign, when they are told by LAUSD, "We will take no further action against you if you resign." What they don't tell these teachers is that this "no action" doesn't include reporting them to California Teacher Credentialing (CTC), where they might have their credential suspended or lifted.
But if losing your job or having your credential lifted or suspended in this rigged process is not enough, what subsequently takes place is even worse. As teachers apply for other jobs with another school district or private school, they are faced with the following all too common job application questions that assure they will never work again as teachers. If they answer yes to any of them, their application will never make it past the initial screening. And if they answer no and are ultimately discovered, that is in and of itself grounds for teachers being fired by their new school:
Common Teacher Job Application Questions
- "Have you ever been discharged, dismissed, or not reemployed for the ensuing school year, pursuant to Education Code Section 44949, from any position because of misconduct or unsatisfactory service."
- "Have you ever had teaching or administrative credential suspended or revoked?"
- "Have you ever resigned a teaching position or other employment in lieu of disciplinary action?"
- "Have you ever left a teaching or administrative position without official approval of the governing board?"
- "Is any adverse action pending against any credential you hold which authorizes public school service or teaching in California or any other state?"
What these questions and others like them amount to is a presumption of guilt on the part of a teacher who has never received anything even remotely resembling due process of law in determining his or her guilt or innocence.
And of course, if a prospective employer calls LAUSD Human Resources, the conversation goes something like this:
New School: Did Leonard Isenberg ever work at LAUSD
LAUSD HR: Yes.
New School: Can you give us the dates?
LAUSD HR: Yes, he worked from 1988 until 2010.
New School: Can you tell us anything more?
LAUSD HR: (SILENCE)
So in fact, if you resign, LAUSD will say nothing negative about you...but I don't think the silence is going to get you another job no matter how impressive your resume or teaching skills.
"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
― Robert F. Kennedy
If you or someone you know has been targeted and are in the process of being dismissed and need legal defense, get in touch:
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