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Ratliff raises concerns about LAUSD rehiring fired attorney

Mike Szymanski | October 13, 2015

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Monica Ratliff LAUSD school board meeting 8.26.2014Board member Mónica Ratliff asked why a controversial attorney was rehired by the district before members of the LA Unified board went into closed session today, .

The lawyer in question, Keith Wyatt, won a case for the school district, absolving it from damages, but the way he argued it continues to cause a lot of negative press for the district.

Wyatt argued in court that a 14-year-old girl was partly responsible for her own sexual abuse at the hands of her teacher at Edison Middle School. He was removed by the school board, then was rehired in February, which surprised some of the school board members.

“I had no knowledge he was going to return to the district,” Ratliff said. “I have issue when someone is removed for good cause and then is back.”

Then she read an excerpt from an article in Atlantic Magazine with the headline: “How California’s Largest School District Blamed an Eighth Grader for Her Molestation: The LAUSD’s indefensible effort to defend itself.”

“I think it is completely inappropriate that he was brought back,” Ratliff said.

Board member Mónica García echoed Ratliff’s concern over the reputation that the district is getting because of the position Wyatt took. The distgrict’s chief counsel, David Holmquist, confirmed that the attorney was rehired in February.

School board member George McKenna said that Wyatt was brought back to work on past cases he had worked on during his nearly decade of working with the district. “He has been given nothing new,” McKenna said.

Ratliff argued that if the attorney’s office is going to take such a controversial stand to defend the district, then the school board should know about it.

Board president Steve Zimmer said he would put the issue on the agenda for future discussion.

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