LOS ANGELES (CBS) — School district officials were one step closer on Wednesday to having the power to terminate teachers accused of gross misconduct.

Lawmakers in the California State Senate approved SB1530 sponsored by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla that would allow school boards to directly dismiss teachers instead of deferring to a disciplinary commission.

Padilla, who represents the 20th District in the San Fernando Valley, introduced the legislation in response to allegations earlier this year that Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt blindfolded his students and spoon-fed them what was reportedly his semen.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO this kind of bill would have been helpful in rooting out Berndt and other teachers at Miramonte.

“The Board of Education would have dismissed the teacher summarily for the terrible crimes that he committed instead of it going through the process of the tribunal,” said Deasy.

The legislation would apply the disciplinary process only to cases of violent, sexual or drug offenses involving children and not any teacher performance-related issues.

“This is not about repeatedly unable to get better at your craft of teaching,” Deasy added.

Union leader have publicly warned the bill could harm teachers’ due process rights.

SB1530 passed the Senate on a 33-4 vote on Tuesday. The legislation is now headed to the Assembly.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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