26 Oct 2015

Teacher sues LA school board for 1 billion dollars after he says the district makes up charges to get rid of older and better paid teachers to strip their pensions

California educator Rafe Esquith is one of the most celebrated teachers in the United States, a recipient of the National Teacher of the Year Award, the President’s National Medal of the Arts, and even an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Since April, however, Esquith has been barred from his classroom at Hobart Boulevard Elementary pending an investigation, after a fellow educator “complained about a joke he made to students relating to nudity,” CBS Los Angeles writes
Following reports on Thursday that the Los Angeles school board had voted unanimously to fire Esquith, attorney Mark Geragos announced the teacher’s filing of a class-action lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – to the tune of $1 billion.
But it may be what this lawsuit alleges that winds up making this case even bigger.
Contending that the LAUSD intentionally seeks to get older teachers fired in order to save money, Geragos said of the district:
“They have what I would charitably call an investigative hit squad that goes out and basically intimidates and tries to extract statements from students that they then use for kangaroo-court style proceedings in order to get people to resign so that they don’t vest with their retirement benefits.”
Calling for nothing less than the “complete shutdown” of the “corrupt” LAUSD, Geragos noted that his client is filing the lawsuit on behalf of 2,000 other area teachers as well, all of whom, he says, have been the victims of a “witch hunt.”
The LAUSD declined to comment on the case, saying they were still “reviewing” the matter.
Current and former students, as well as parents, initially protestedEsquith’s removal from the school, where he had worked for more than 30 years. 
The LAUSD isn’t the first school system to be accused of making questionable decisions when it comes to spending.
Former head of Chicago Public School Barbara Byrd-Bennett pleadedguilty to fraud on Tuesday amid allegations of bribes and kickbacks involving millions of dollars.

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