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Contract Clause Could Limit LAUSD From Disciplining Teachers

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The LAUSD is working to crack down on suspected misconduct in the wake of the sex abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School, but the district is struggling with a little-known contract clause that limits how long allegations can remain in a teacher’s file.

Under that clause, alleged misconduct that does not result in discipline is removed from personal files after four years.

Superintendent John Deasy says that information could include a warning, a reprimand or even a principal’s private notes.

The clause dates back to the 1990s, and was part of a package that also included a 10 percent pay cut for teachers.

All of this has been highlighted by a string of sex abuse cases that began with the arrest of Mark Berndt, who pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of lewd conduct for allegedly photographing students who were blindfolded and spoon-fed bodily fluids that tested positive for his DNA.

Several earlier investigations and complaints about Berndt’s conduct that did not result in criminal charges were not part of his official record.

Deasy says he has ordered staff to review teacher files for any potential misconduct, even if they have to go back decades to do so.

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