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UTLA discusses new issues of unjustly housed teachers

Mike Szymanski | September 14, 2015

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UTLAChildrenWhen 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.

“We would love to have the union be involved in our efforts because I’m sure they could provide more cases of the egregious use of the teacher jail,” said Esquith’s attorney Ben Meiselas at Geragos’s lawfirm. “We have already collected hundreds of stories.”

UTLA began holding meetings about the teacher jails soon after former Superintendent John Deasy ramped up the practice of pulling unwanted teachers out of classroom under the guise of protecting students. UTLA is developing strategy to determine how to handle the situation.

Two “jailed” teachers who stated their cases to the school board at the last meeting said they haven’t received much help from the union. Teacher Jay L. Stern said he is fighting his dismissal next month after spending months in what the district calls the “housed teachers” situation.

“The union hasn’t been able to help stop this witch hunt,” Stern said.

In another teacher jail case, Blake Clement said, “I have been getting more help from other teachers in my situation who have told me where to check on my status and giving me tips about what to do. The teacher’s advocate at UTLA isn’t there anymore.”

The Unjustly Housed Teacher Committee meeting is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at UTLA headquarters. It is only opened to LAUSD teachers.

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