As of Tuesday, Los Angeles Unified School District teachers who are being investigated for breaking school rules will be confined to their homes instead of reporting to “teacher jails” in designated district offices. But the move has been receiving complaints from individuals on both sides.
Approximately 250 teachers who are currently facing allegations of misconduct such as verbal and physical abuse, sexual wrongdoing, mishandling money, or breaking district rules will be required to stay within their homes during school hours, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The general counsel for the school district cites this decision as having much to do with costs associated with “maintaining employees in a workplace,” and that the spaces could be used for “other opportunities.”
The decision comes on the foot of months of mounting pressures and complaints from parents, the school community, and educators themselves who have been “housed,” sometimes for years, in these ad-hoc disciplinary jails and subjected to “horrible conditions,” the Times notes. The model is being implemented following similar measures taken by other government agencies in evaluating cases of their employees’ misconduct.
Sometimes the teachers don’t know what they are being accused of for months on end, a point on which both representation for the LAUSD and teacher unions agree. Many of the accused instructors pose no threat, and their absence could prove to be a greater punishment to the students who need them. But the reason many of these non-threatening instructors are confined has to do with LAUSD fears that they will “compromise evidence” during the evaluation process, according to the Times.
Among the complaints included is the feeling of sheer “humiliation” teachers have reportedly suffered, as they are not allowed to communicate lesson plans to their students’ substitute teachers. Most teachers do, however, continue receiving pay during the judgement process.
Teacher unions have opposed this move, as they believe the new policy of home confinement simply covers the fact that innocent teachers are being subjected to removal “based on speculation, with few basic legal rights,” adding that the only thing it does is “make teacher jails invisible to the public.”