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Judge orders L.A. Unified teacher to be fired

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered this morning that a city school district teacher who was removed from the classroom and has been paid to do nothing for more than seven years be dismissed within two weeks.

Matthew Kim, a former special education teacher at Grant High School, was accused of touching co-workers' breasts and making improper advances and comments toward students. He was fired by the L.A. Unified School Board of Education in 2003, but a state commission that has final say on teacher dismissals overturned the firing.

The district then appealed that decision and has been fighting to terminate him ever since. In the meantime, the district has continued to pay Kim, who was born with severe cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. Because of the district's longstanding interpretation of the teachers contract,  Kim has not been given any duties while he has been outside the classroom.

A Times story in May 2009 found that Kim was one of about 160 district employees who have been "housed" while accusations against them are investigated or their terminations are contested.

Judge David P. Yaffe said the Times exposed the issue and it has become "an embarrassment."

Yaffe ordered the Commission on Professional Competence to allow the district to fire Kim by Jan. 26. If he is later reinstated, the district will give Kim back pay with interest.

Kim has denied any improper behavior and his attorney said he may file a petition to the court of appeal.

L.A. Unified has spent more than $2 million in legal fees and salary on the Kim case.

-- Jason Song

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Comments () | Archives (86)

O.K. this article begs the question: Why has it taken so long to determine if he behaved improperly or not? Firing someone who is innocent of charges is wrong as is keeping someone who is guilty. But SURELY it shouldn't take 7 years to come to a decision.

This is what's necessary to fire just one lousy teacher. Is it not clear to everyone why LA schools are failing our children?

I find it incredible that a story regarding LA Unified being forced to spend MILLIONS on this guy elicits not one comment from anyone; yet the story on Conan O'Brien and NBC gets all sorts of commentary. You South Staters amaze me - another reason why we in the North want to make two Californias - Sheesh!

Embarrassment is not the word.

let's see who has more power, this judge or the UNION.

Bout Freakin' Time!

good riddance then! Who needs Northern California anyway? If it wasn't for Southern California, Cali would be a random state nobody cares about like Vermont!

It certainly got my attention. A prime example of wasting taxpayers money and then needing to layoff hardworking employees. The bureacratic red tape is destroying our economy. Between politically correct and corrupt supervision we will never win the battle of a budget. This is not just on local levels, it goes all the way to the top!

Dear leftcoast gal. I bet you're not even from California in the first place! You left New Jersey and thought you'd become an arrogant person from "Frisco"! Apparently, you took the time to read all the Conan O'Brien comments. And then took the time to make dumb remarks about all Southern Californians. I used to live up North. What a bunch of self-involved weirdos...so glad I came back to vibrant Southern California! Go back to New Jersey.

How does someone with severe cerebral palsy grope a woman?

I agree with you, I hope they get around to firing the other 160 useless employees who are managing to suck the school district budget dry, while fine arts and other vital programs continue to be cut. On the other hand, why Conan O'brian gets more attention is beyond me...I for one am sick and tired of all of these millionaires with nothing to lament about but ratings and getting more money, while the rest of us are in a recession and losing our homes. Who gives a rats ass about hollywood.

Hey, left coast dingbat, as of now (2:25pm), the O'Brien story has 37 comments in the L.A. Times, and the same story has 91 comments in the S.F. Chronicle. Keep your smug stupidity to yourself!

This is a reminder that bad teachers are impossible to fire, regardless of their inexcusible actions. It should be a requirement for teachers to pass a pysch exam as well as a background check. This is one of many stories throughout California regarding teachers and it needs to be addressed.

Newsflash leftcoastgal, Sacramento, the core of this rotten apple, is in Northern Ca. If this state sucks, start by looking in your own backyard.

Unbelievable. Maybe spend the $2 million on new lawyers to revise these "contracts" that allow this to happen. I suppose if I were accused of that kind of blatant wrongdoing knowing I would be paid to fight about it, I'd probably do it intentionally. Ha. What a country.

they are probably at work!!!

No one down here in the South and in the school system speaks English anymore.

Its not the south staters who allowed this to happen. blame it on the California Teachers Association (union). the CTA is so strong that few teachers get fired. The CTA also voted for Arnold, the govenor, not once but twice.

Well, here's a tidbit from a proud born and raised Southsider.......you Northern loons are the precise reason people from other states refer to California as The Land Of Fruits and Nuts.

People scream about wasteful government spending. This is a prime example. In any other job, even within the city or county, you would be immediately fired. You could appeal and if you won, then you would get back pay. This parasite has been wasting our money for SEVEN YEARS. There should be a way to take this pervert to court and re-coupe the money. If not, find out who has allowed this to continue for seven years and get it from them.

to Leftcoastgal:
I never commented because I've never heard of it till now. Probably same with others.Makes me sick.

What a waste of money on this clown especially in light of the fact that California's schools are suffering due to lack of funding and budget cuts.
What exactly was the reason for the state commission reinstating this freeloader? Anyone care to elaborate? This guy is also not the only one getting a free ride from what this article says.

Fine with me, leftcoastego. No. Cal is a nice enough place to visit, but you illustrate perfectly why I would never want to live there.

While they are spending 2 million dollars on this nonsense my sister who has been teaching for 2 years and loved it was laid off from lausd. Leftcoastgal I am surprised you are surprised this is the land of Hollyweirds so many people are living in a warped reality show that they call life. Born and raised here I am never surprised at the shallowness of my neighbors.

This is just one reason why Calif. is going down the toilet. Payting for teachers to do nothing, giving full services to illegal immigrants, trying to legalize marijuana, banning citizens rights to protect thenselves under the Constitutions 2nd amendment, trying to promote gay marriage etc etc...the list goes on and on...this state is a joke, it used to be used as an example to follow, but no longer, now it has become an example of what not to do and how socialed excess can ruin a State. This state is an embarassment to all the others.

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