SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/–– The Assembly Education Committee yesterday killed SB 1530, a bill that would have narrowly modified the dismissal process in cases where a teacher has been accused of sex, violence or drug offenses involving children. The Padilla Bill would have empowered school boards to act decisively in cases of sex, drugs or violence against children. “SB 1530 was narrowly crafted to focus only on cases in which school employees are accused of sex, violence, or drug us with children. It is difficult to understand why anyone would oppose a measure to protect children,” said Senator Alex Padilla.
“It is very disappointing,” added Padilla.
“SB 1530 would have empowered school boards to act decisively in the most egregious cases while maintaining important due process rights for California’s teachers,” said Senator Padilla.
“Every parent should have confidence that their local school will be a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Because a school board is ultimately responsible for ensuring a safe learning environment, the school board should be empowered to dismiss employees they determine to be a serious threat to the health and safety of students,” added Padilla.
Senator Padilla authored the legislation in response to a series of allegations of child sexual abuse by teachers and school personnel in schools throughout California. The current dismissal process for certificated personnel often takes years and costs school districts thousands of dollars.
Specifically, SB 1530 would have expedited the dismissal process and empowered school boards to make the final decision while maintaining important due process rights that included allowing a teacher to present his/her defense, to be presented by counsel, to require disclosure and to present witnesses. The teacher would have also been able to request a hearing by an independent arbiter.
Key provisions of SB 1530 for certificated personnel who have been accused of sex, violence or drug offenses involving children include:
– Allow for immediate suspension
– Clarify that a notice of dismissal or suspension in a proceeding for immoral conduct or serious or egregious misconduct may be issued any time during the year
– Require a dismissal hearing be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge whose decision would be advisory to the school board in these cases
– Allow evidence older than 4 years to be used in investigations and during proceedings involving allegations of sex abuse, violence or drug offenses involving children
– Grant the employee an opportunity to give a written or oral statement before the school board considers the ALJ’s advisory decision
– Empower the School Board to make the final decision on dismissal
– Provide the employee the right to appeal the decision of the board to the appropriate court
Senator Alex Padilla, 39, graduated from MIT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He currently serves on the Board of MIT and as President of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. He is Chair of the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and represents the more than 900,000 residents of the 20th State Senate District which includes most of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles.