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L.A. Unified removes teacher, principal from Wilmington school

March 19, 2012 |  2:32 pm

George De La Torre Junior Elementary School in Wilmington
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has replaced the principal of a Wilmington elementary school shortly after opening an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by a male teacher.

The veteran teacher, whose name has not been released, worked at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School and was pulled from classes Friday. The investigation began Thursday night when five children and their parents made allegations against the teacher at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Harbor station, according to district and law enforcement sources.

Investigators have identified at least 11 alleged victims: One is an adult employee who complained about inappropriate touching and other behavior; the rest are students as young as 8, a law enforcement source said. The name of the teacher will not be released unless an arrest is made, police said.

School district and law enforcements sources have requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the investigation.

Principal Irene Hinojosa was replaced Friday. Her interim replacement is Zan Colazas, who started Monday. He has 40 years of experience as a principal at schools in the Wilmington area.

L.A. Unified will not comment on the reason for Hinojosa’s removal, calling it a confidential personnel matter. The district also confirmed that a male school employee was removed and is the subject of a police investigation.

A letter to parents about the change in principals is going home with students Monday. The school also has been holding meetings for parents, including meetings Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Monday morning.

For the record, 4:30 p.m. March 19: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated there would be a parent meeting at 5 p.m. Monday. There will be no meeting then.

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-- Hector Becerra and Howard Blume

Photo: George De La Torre Junior Elementary School in Wilmington. Credit: KTLA-TV

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