Rich Kitchens, Attorney at Law           925-338-1858


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TeacherLaw News

Rich Kitchens
Attorney at Law
4418 Water Oak Ct.
Concord, CA. 94521

(925) 338-1858

The content on this website is intended for educational and informational purposes only. We focus on California law. Nothing on the website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship. Readers are responsible for obtaining legal advice from their own legal counsel.

The latest news from around California relating to teachers, schools, and education law. This page is updated every few days. To get to the stories, copy and paste the particular URL into your browser. Postings beginning in September, 2015 are below. To see prior stories, contact Rich Kitchens. The latest update was on May 6 2016. 

Vergara Trial Court Decision Overturned
The California Court of Appeal overturned the trial court Judge’s ruling. It unanimously concluded: “In sum, the evidence presented at trial highlighted likely drawbacks to the current tenure, dismissal, and layoff statutes, but it did not demonstrate a facial constitutional violation. The evidence also revealed deplorable staffing decisions being made by some local administrators that have a deleterious impact on poor and minority students in California’s public schools. The evidence did not show that the challenged statutes inevitably cause this impact. Plaintiffs elected not to target local administrative decisions and instead opted to challenge the statutes themselves. This was a heavy burden and one plaintiffs did not carry. The trial court’s judgment declaring the statutes unconstitutional, therefore, cannot be affirmed.” You can read the opinion at:

Report: Schools increasingly turn to 'underprepared' teachers to fill vacancies 

[EdSource, 1/18/16]

To cope with a widening shortage of teachers, California school districts are hiring an increasing number of teachers with “substandard” permits and credentials, as well as relying on short-term substitute teachers, according to a new report.

Court of appeal to hear arguments in Vergara lawsuit next month

[EdSource, 1/15/16]

A state appeals court will rule on the high-profile Vergara lawsuit against the state and the California Teachers Association this spring.

Teacher misconduct investigations to be focus of state audit 

[EdSource, 1/14/16]

At a legislator’s request, the California State Auditor will audit the cost and results of Los Angeles Unified School District’s practice of removing teachers from the classroom, sometimes for hundreds of days, when the district investigates allegations of misconduct.

L.A. Unified to pay $320,000 settlement in teacher misconduct case 

[Los Angeles Times, 12/11/15]

The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $320,000 to the family of a girl who was the victim of misconduct by a teacher when she attended Portola Middle School in Tarzana.

Mt. Diablo school district argues that former teacher Joseph Martin did not abuse kids

[Contra Costa Times, 11/24/15]

A former Woodside Elementary School teacher Joseph Martin sits in a Central Valley cell serving a 12-year prison sentence for molesting seven boys, his former school district is denying that any abuse occurred as part of a surprising strategy to fight civil lawsuits filed against it on behalf of the students.

California student suspension rate drops as ‘willful defiance’ punishments decline 

[EdSource / Capital Public Radio, 11/23/15]

School suspension rates have fallen in California for students of every ethnicity in the last three years, a sign that a shift in discipline practices in many school districts is starting to have an effect, according to a study released Monday by the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project.

Why some LAUSD teachers are balking at a new approach to discipline problems 
[Los Angeles Times, 11/7/15]

In a South Los Angeles classroom, a boy hassles a girl. The teacher moves him to the back of the room, where he scowls, makes a paper airplane and repeatedly throws it against the wall. Two other boys wander around the class and then nearly come to blows.

Cellphone videos pose new challenges for school administrators 
[Sacramento Bee, 11/6/15]

A decade ago, before cellphones could record video and share it instantly, there was relatively little worry over how students might use devices on campus.

L.A. Unified again fires attorney who blamed student for having sex with teacher 

[Los Angeles Times, 10/28/15]:

The attorney who argued in court that a 14-year-old was partly to blame when a teacher induced her to have sex has lost his job with the Los Angeles Unified School District for a second time — after an outcry over his rehiring.

In L.A., Tensions Rise Over Teacher-Misconduct Investigations

[Education Week, 10/27/15]

A high-profile lawsuit targeting the Los Angeles school district highlights the collision of two little-known, murky areas of teacher policy: the district's process for investigating teachers accused of misconduct, and the state's rules for dismissing a teacher found guilty of it.

Teacher Rafe Esquith's misconduct investigation is a high-profile test for LAUSD panel 

[Los Angeles Times / Washington Post, 10/15/15]:

When a colleague complained that Rafe Esquith, the most celebrated teacher in Los Angeles, had made a joke about nudity to his fifth-grade students, the district called into action a newly formed squad of investigators to get to the bottom of it.

Teacher Evaluation Litigation Roundup

[Education Law Professors Blog, 10/14/15]

For those who missed it, Edweek published a chart and a synopsis of all the current litigation challenging states' teacher evaluation systems.  Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee, and Texas all have ongoing cases.  Most of those states actually have more than one case proceeding.

Here is the chart/synopsis:

California district target of teacher sexual abuse suit, even though local prosecutor found no grounds for criminal charges

[NSBA Legal Clips, 10/14/15]

The Pasadena Star-News reports that Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) and a teacher at Cleveland Elementary School have been named as defendants in a suit alleging that the teacher sexually abused seven students, even though local prosecutors declined to bring criminal charges.

Vergara's Big Problem: The Trial Court Ignored the Causes of Ineffective Teaching

[Education Law Profs Blog, 9/21/15]

The briefs are in the appeal of Vergara v. State. Amici in support of the state are exposing a huge evidentiary flaw in the plaintiffs' case: the lack of causation.

If you are following the Vergara case, check out the flurry of legal filings at the Student Matters website [9/16/15]:

For background on The Constitutional Challenge to Teacher Tenure issue [Derek Black in the Calif. Law Rev., 2/24/15]:

  • Education Law: Representation and consultation
  • Estate Planning: Wills and Trusts for single individuals and families
  • Public Sector Employment: Training for employees and employers, representation
  • Harassment: Prevention training and legal representation
  • Negotiation: Training, consulting, and legal epresentation
  • Personal Injury

Rich Kitchens    4418 Water Oak Ct.    Concord, CA. 94521    925-687-0143 

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