Given the amount of persecution facing teachers at the hands of the LAUSD, they may want to keep both Los Angeles bail bonds companies and law firms on speed dial. For years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has made practice of removing teachers from their classes and putting them under “review.” Though, at points, it has been a sincere effort to protect the children, it often has less benevolent, and even sinister intentions.
Making recent headlines is the case of Rafe Esquith, a career elementary school teacher, who has gained fame and notoriety for his dedication to his field. He has published several books on teaching, is a consultant and adviser to many other educators, and has even been recognized by multiple celebrities. Among others, he has guested on the Oprah Winfrey show, and has been lauded by Sir Ian McKellan and Hal Holbrook. Beyond that he has been recognized by multiple awards and accolades, including the Walt Disney Teacher of the Year award and the Order of the British Empire, where he was made an honorary member. However, he more recently has found himself investigated and terminated.
$1 BILLION LAWSUIT
Esquith alleges that the LAUSD is targeting and terminating senior teachers, in an effort to avoid paying out pensions and benefits. This allegation has led to a massive $1 billion, class-action lawsuit against the entire school district. His account of the the experience is alarming, with allegations of a bizarre “hit squad,” interrogation, and subversive tactics to elicit desired testimony from students and fellow teachers. The allegations are founded enough that over 1000 other teachers have come forward with similar claims. Of note, less than half of LAUSD teachers put in “teacher jail” ever return to work.
“Teacher Jail” came to media and public attention following the Miramonte sex abuse scandal, where a single employee, Mark Berndt, was discovered committing heinous acts on his students. LAUSD implemented a reactionary and controversial practice of removing all teachers from the school regardless of their involvement in Berndt’s case. Most certainly due to fear of further litigation, this sweeping action led to more disruption and further punished the students and teachers. It almost goes without saying that not one other teacher investigated in that case was found guilty of anything other than minor, unrelated infractions.
WAIT AND SEE
More will be revealed as this lawsuit continues, yet it is of note that no student has an account of any wrongdoing from Mr. Esquith and his lawyers are working to get him status as a “whistleblower.” What do you think? Is LAUSD targeting even their good teachers just to save on funding? Is the “teacher jail” practice helpful at all? Let us know: Facebook and Twitter.
October 16, 2015 / Ryan Serey