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Exploring L.A.'s Actions in School Sex-Abuse Investigation

The New York Times wrote an article today describing how the investigation into allegedly lewd behavior by teachers at a Los Angeles elementary school has prompted a widespread look at the entire 664,000-student district:

The accusations have raised fundamental questions for administrators: How does the sprawling district interact with local law enforcement agencies? Once school officials know about accusations of misconduct, when and how should parents be told? And how does the district track teachers who have been accused of wrongdoing but not convicted?...

John Deasy, who became the district's superintendent a year ago, responded by transferring the entire staff, shutting the school for two days and putting a new teacher and a social worker in each classroom. The rapid removal of a school's entire staff is unprecedented nationally, several education experts said. The old staff will remain at an unopened school until investigations by the sheriff and school district are completed.

"We really need to be erring on the side of caution on behalf of our students," Mr. Deasy said in an interview. "When something like this emerges, our only choice is to act, and the last thing I wanted was any more surprises."

Some people have said that Deasy's actions cast suspicion on all teachers at the school, even though they were innocent of wrongdoing. Deasy, however, said that parents literally applauded his actions, and attendance at the school is now almost back to normal.

One of the actions that Los Angeles officials are taking now is determining how the district should report criminal allegations against its employees. When sexual abuse allegations arose against a former coach at Penn State University, Education Week wrote about the reporting requirements for child abuse. You can find that story here.

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