California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that was supposed to make it easier to fire teachers charged with molesting students. It would “create new problems,” Brown said in his veto message.
The union-backed bill made it easier for abusive teachers to stall the dismissal process and force districts to settle, charges Larry Sand City Journal. A retired teacher, Sand is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.
Mark Berndt, a Los Angeles teacher charged with 23 counts of “lewd acts” against first-graders, was paid to resign.
Last year, district officials agreed to pay him more than $40,000 to resign in lieu of exercising his “due process rights,” which could have dragged out his termination for months or possibly years—while he continued to collect a salary and accrue pension benefits—through a series of contractually mandated hearings and appeals. This past March, the district announced that it would pay $30 million to the parents of 61 of Berndt’s former students.
In response to the Berndt case, a bill was proposed to let districts suspend teachers credibly charged with abusing students. The state teachers’ unions blocked it.
“The influence of the California Teachers Association was rarely more apparent—or more sickening, editorialized the San Francisco Chronicle. “The union showed its willingness to defend an expensive and cumbersome process for firing bad teachers at almost any cost – even if that means school districts must continue to spend exorbitant sums of time and money to dismiss teachers in cases involving sex, drugs or violence with students.”