Accusations Rarely Fell LA's Tenured Teachers

Review hearings costly, unreliable: principals
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2009 3:59 PM CDT
It's remarkably difficult to fire a tenured public school teacher in California, a Los Angeles Times investigation has found.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – One Los Angeles high school teacher allegedly ridiculed a student for failing to commit suicide. Another kept a trove of pornography, marijuana, and cocaine at school. A third drank alcohol in front of students. None was fired, the Los Angeles Times reports in an investigation of a school district afraid to pursue tenured staffers accused of misdeeds or poor teaching skills.

Demonstrating a teacher’s incompetence can be tricky, say principals, who are more likely to transfer troublesome staffers rather than slog through years of legal disputes. Those who do brave review hearings at the Los Angeles Unified School District often face reluctant witnesses and faded memories. One principal was even sued by a teacher accused of sexual harassment. “Kids don’t have a union,” groused one frustrated school attorney.