ACLU sues LAUSD over teacher layoffs

Feb. 24, 2010 at 7:58 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A group of plaintiffs that includes the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging teacher layoffs in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The suit claims students at three of Los Angeles' worst-performing middle schools were denied their right to an education, and seeks to head off further teacher layoffs, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Fifty percent to 75 percent of teachers at Gompers, Edwin Markham and John H. Liechty middle schools were laid off last year, resulting in chaos on some campuses that made it virtually impossible to educate students, the class-action lawsuit, filed in LA County Superior Court, alleges.

The layoffs were ordered as the district faced deep budget cuts. More layoff notices are expected to go out this year.

State law requires school districts to go by seniority in laying teachers off, a requirement that hit Gompers, Markham and Liechty harder than most other campuses because administrators at those schools had recruited younger teachers who were particularly interest in teaching in the inner city. The laid-off teachers were replaced by teachers who did not want to work in that environment, or by substitutes who did not know the material they were supposed to teach, the lawsuit alleges.

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