Starting today, Los Angeles Unified School District teachers suspended amid misconduct investigations will be allowed to remain at home rather than report during the workday to district offices known within the profession as "teacher jails," a newspaper reported.
The change, ordered by L.A. Unified Superintendent John Deasy, will affect about 250 instructors who face allegations such as breaking district rules, mishandling money or abusing students, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"There are costs associated with maintaining employees in a workplace," district general counsel David Holmquist said in remarks quoted by The Times. "There are supervision issues. There also are other opportunities to use the space."
United Teachers Los Angeles had pushed for ending the practice of informally confining teachers during school hours, but the district said its action was not in response to the union. Other government agencies, Holmquist pointed out, routinely have employees wait out investigations at home.
Although suspended teachers continue to be paid, many said they consider the mandatory reporting obligations humiliating. Housed teachers cannot do work outside of their regular duties, such as help the central office with filing. They also cannot contact substitutes to provide lesson plans for their students while they are away.
Not all instructors were celebrating the end of teacher jails.
"This new policy does nothing to correct the moral injustices of the teacher jail system," Scott Mandel, a union officer for the San Fernando Valley, said in remarks quoted by The Times. "Innocent teachers are still being removed based on speculation, with few basic legal rights. If anything, all this new policy does is make teacher jail invisible to the public."
—City News Service