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LA Unified Blames ‘Cumbersome’ Law for Dismissal Delay

LA School Report | September 19, 2013

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David Holmquist via LA Times

David Holmquist via The Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Unified School District today blamed state laws for why it took the district so long to dismiss an El Sereno Elementary School teacher who is facing a lawsuit accusing him of sexually abusing students as long ago as 2007.

David Holmquist, the district’s chief lawyer, said in a press release today Armando Gonzalez was removed from the classroom in March 2010, when officials learned of the allegations, and he was placed on unpaid status in January 2012. He resigned – without a settlement from the district – last week.

“It is unfortunate that the state has created such a cumbersome and costly dismissal process,” Holmquist said. “As a school district, we took the leadership to work with state legislators to give us the final authority to fire teachers accused of misconduct. Unfortunately, the bill that was passed this session does not provide adequate protection for our students.”

The reference is to AB 375, which is awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. The bill replaced several other measures that had sought to streamline the process of removing teachers accused of misconduct against children.

The district said that it began dismissal proceedings against Gonzalez last year. “Unfortunately,” Holmquist said, “we are required by law to go through a set of potentially lengthy proceedings to make the dismissal final.”

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