Supt. Deasy orders new look at L.A.'s teacher misconduct reports
L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy has ordered his staff to submit or re-submit reports to the state credentialing commission on hundreds of teachers accused of misconduct over the last four years.
[UPDATED at 5:30 p.m. Deasy added that the district has not been intentionally holding back any reports to the state. The goal of the new review is to ensure that L.A. Unified has submitted any and all reports of potential teacher misconduct, he said.]
Deasy announced the step Wednesday after a Times story in which L.A. Unified said it had no evidence anyone in the school system reported to the commission that a substitute teacher had been under investigation for sexual abuse allegations. George Hernandez left L.A. Unified in 2007 and weeks later was hired by the Inglewood school district. Hernandez was never arrested after the three L.A. Unified investigations.
If L.A. Unified had reported Hernandez to the state, it’s possible that he would not have been hired elsewhere.
Inglewood Unified has sued L.A. Unified for not filing a report with the state, as has the family of the alleged victim in Inglewood.
In another case, L.A. Unified was late in filing a report on Mark Berndt, who has been charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct against students at Miramonte Elementary School. Berndt was never hired elsewhere after L.A. Unified moved to fire him in February 2011.
“I’m horrified,” said Deasy, regarding recent revelations about the handling of past abuse allegations. “And the rest of my comments can’t be printed in the language that the L.A. Times uses. I don’t think I’m overreacting.”
When Inglewood Unified checked with the state agency, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, it found that Hernandez had no blemish on his record. Deasy’s directive would help prevent future, similar occurrences for any employee who left L.A. Unified under a cloud over the last four years.
For its part, Inglewood did not follow its own hiring policies, which require recent letters of recommendation. Nor is there a record that Inglewood contacted anyone in L.A Unified as a reference for Hernandez.
-- Howard Blume
Photo: Los Angeles Supt. John Deasy attends a regular meeting of the Los Angeles school board this month. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times