Friday, May 14, 2010

A major court victory in L.A.

 Tim Sullivan, principal of Markham Middle School in Watts

How many other inner-city schools will follow suit?

Calling it a "major victory," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hailed a judge's decision to issue an injunction blocking district-mandated layoffs at three Los Angeles Unified middle schools where civil rights groups said job cuts would deprive inner-city children of their right to an education. (AP Wire)
“'Today's landmark decision carries on the ideals of Brown v. Board of Education that no child may be deprived of the right to learn,” said Mark Rosenbaum, chief counsel for the ACLU of Southern California. “
 The class action suit was filed in February 2010 by students at three Los Angeles middle schools who alleged that one round of layoffs had already stripped their schools of many teachers, and that another planned round would devastate the quality of their education.
The Los Angeles Unified School District and the State of California were among those named as defendants. In 2009, LAUSD sent Reduction in Force (“RIF”) notices to 60% of the teachers at Liechty, 48% at Gompers, and 46% at Markham.  Many other LAUSD middle schools had less than 15% of their teachers laid off.  In 2010, LAUSD was set to lay off 49% of the teachers at Liechty, 21% at Gompers, and 30% at Markham.  At the same time, over 30 of the 69 LAUSD middle schools would lose less than 10% of their teachers. 
The evidence presented made it clear that the affects of the firings hit the hardest at schools in the poorest and most racially isolated neighborhoods--a clear violation of civil rights. The question is, how many other urban schools and community groups will file suit modeled on the one in L.A.  in order to prevent devastating RIFs before they occur?

The plaintiffs were represented pro bono by a team of lawyers from law firm Morrison & Foerster, as well as by the local chapter of the ACLU. Sean Gates, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office, was co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.

“Our case was so strong that the Governor and the State Board of Education, defendants in the case, agreed with our position,” Mr. Gates said. 
 A copy of the injunction with names and phone numbers of the winning lawyers, can be accessed here:

1 comment:

  1. Why aren't we doing this everywhere?


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