Hawthorne School District

Educational
March 26,2012
BOARD

Excellence

OF TRUSTEES
MONTEIRO

ALEXANDRE President

DR. EUGENE M. KRANK Vice President CRISTINA Clerk CHIAPPE

Mr. Rob Kuznia Daily Breeze 21250 Hawthorne Blvd. Torrance, CA 90503 Re: Records Request

JOHN VARGAS Member LUCIANO AGUILAR Member

Dear Mr. Kuznia: The District has received your request for records dated March 22, 2012. You requested: • • • • Access to and copies of the district's policy on teacher conduct; The policy for reporting and investigating claims of misconduct; The status of any and all investigations into teacher misconduct dating back to the 2006-07 school year; Copies of any forms sent to the state requesting revocation of teacher credentials due to misconduct dating back to the 2006-07 school year.

ADMINISTRA

TlON

HELEN E. MORGAN, Ed.D. Superintendent STEVE TABOR Associate Superintendent Pupil Personnel Services SHELLEY ROSE Assistant Superintendent Human Resources

A determination has been made that, to the extent records responsive to your request exist, the request in part seeks disclosable public records. The following documents will be copied and provided to you at a cost of 15 cents per page: • Exhibit E, Evaluation Procedure, of the collective agreement between the District and the Hawthorne Teachers Association The California Standards for the Teaching Profession Nondiscrimination 0410) In District Programs and Activities (Board Policy bargaining Elementary

• •

• •

Complaints Concerning School Personnel (Board Policy 1312.1) Complaints Concerning School Personnel (Administrative 1312.1) Uniform Complaint Procedures (Board Policy 1312.3) Uniform Complaint Procedures (Administrative Regulation 1312.3) Regulation

• • •

Drug And Alcohol-Free Workplace (Board Policy 4020)

14120 South Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250. (310) 676-2276.

FAX (310) 675-9464

• • • • • • • • • •

Nondiscrimination in Employment (Board Policy 4030) Complaints Concerning Discrimination in Employment (Administrative Regulation 4031) Employee Use Of Technology (Board Policy 4040) Employee Use Of Technology (Administrative Regulation 4040) Suspension/Disciplinary Action (Board Policy 4118) SuspensionlDisciplinary Action (Administrative Regulation 4118) Sexual Harassment (Board Policy 4119.11) Sexual Harassment (Administrative Regulation 4119.11) Code of Ethics (Board Policy 4119.21) Unauthorized Release of Confidential/Privileged Information (Board Policy 4119.23)

The above records are available for your review during regular business hours, and copies will be provided upon your payment of the per-page copying charge. The District will not waive the copying charge, which is authorized under the Public Records Act and will only partially cover the District's cost of locating and producing the records. Please note that the Board Policies and Administrative Regulations are also available free of charge on the District's website, www.hawthorne.k12.ca.us. To the extent the records are exempt or include information that is exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Public Records Act, including but not limited to Government Code sections 6254(c) (personnel exception), 6254(a) (preliminary drafts, notes, or intra-agency memoranda not retained by the District in the ordinary course of business), 6254(k) (privileged material, including those within the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine, including Evidence Code sections 915, 950 et seq., and 1040) and 6255 (catch-all exception), such information will be withheld or redacted, as appropriate. (Government Code section 6253(a).) We will advise you of the basis for withholding any otherwise responsive records. As part of this initial response, we note that one of your requests lacks sufficient specificity for us to determine the existence of the records you seek. To assist you in identifying records and information that are responsive to your purpose, insofar as those records exist and are disclosable, we ask your cooperation in clarifying the scope of the remaining request for "the status of any and all investigations into teacher misconduct dating back to the 2006-07 school year." This request does not seek an identifiable public record. The District investigates complaints and allegations of misconduct regarding its employees, as appropriate and as required by law and Board policy. However, the Public Records Act does not require the District to create a record identifying the status of such investigations. Additionally, we are uncertain as to your intended meaning of the phrase "teacher misconduct." There is no legal definition of "teacher misconduct," and even the state credentialing body recognizes that not every complaint or allegation against a certificated individual constitutes an allegation of "misconduct." Depending on one's definition of "misconduct," any determination of

the existence or status of investigations regarding District teachers within the time period you specify is extremely uncertain. Therefore, without clarification of these terms, we are unable to respond to your request for "the status of any investigation into those complaints." Please specify what constitutes "teacher misconduct" in the context of your request. We enclose for your information a copy of Education Code section 44932, which describes the specific grounds for disciplining a teacher in California, in the hope it may assist you in refining the request to describe "misconduct." We also ask that you consider the fact that a teacher may not be disciplined for any conduct that occurred more than four years prior to the teacher's receipt of a formal notice of disciplinary action. (Education Code section 44944(a)(5).) Accordingly, the scope of your request, "dating back to the 2006-07 school year," could result in an extensive and expensive search for dated documents which, if they exist, could not lawfully lead to the discipline of any teacher. We respectfully request that you consider narrowing the scope of your request to a more recent time period. Additionally, you requested "Copies of any forms sent to the state requesting revocation of teacher credentials due to misconduct dating back to the 2006-07 school year." The District does not possess any documents responsive to this request. The District reports to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) teachers' separation from service as a result of allegations of misconduct, pursuant to Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 80303 (copy attached). However, the District does not "request revocation of teacher credentials." The CTC is responsible for determining whether a teacher's credential should be subject to disciplinary action such as suspension or revocation. Insofar as teachers are identified in these reports, if any, we believe the teachers' names are exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act, pursuant to the "personnel" exception of Government Code section 6254(c). Please note that all investigative processes of the CTC are closed to the public and remain confidential until "final action" is taken, pursuant to Education Code section 44245. In fact, unauthorized disclosure of such information is a misdemeanor. (Education Code section 44248.) We will review our files for the existence of any such reports in an effort to provide you with the information requested. We will redact the names of the individual teachers involved and of any other persons identified in the records, as appropriate. We anticipate having copies of the reports prepared for you no later than April 3, 2012. The copying cost of 15 cents per page will apply. We are happy to speak or meet with you to ensure disclosure of nonexempt records that meet your objectives. If you would like to discuss your request in more detail, please contact my office during business hours.

Shelley Rose Assistant Superintendent

SRlh Enclosures

Education Code Title 2. Elementary and Secondary Education Division 3. Local Administration Part 25. Employees Chapter 4. Employment--Certificated Employees Article 3. Resignations, Dismissals, and Leaves of Absence § 44932. Grounds for dismissal of permanent employees; suspension of employees (a) No permanent employee shall be dismissed except for one or more of the following causes: (1) Immoral or unprofessional conduct. (2) Commission, aiding, or advocating the commission of acts of criminal syndicalism, prohibited by Chapter 188 of the Statutes of 1919, [FN 11or in any amendment thereof. (3) Dishonesty. (4) Unsatisfactory performance. (5) Evident unfitness for service. (6) Physical or mental condition unfitting him or her to instruct or associate with children. (7) Persistent violation of or refusal to obey the school laws of the state or reasonable regulations prescribed for the government of the public schools by the State Board of Education or by the governing board of the school district employing him or her. (8) Conviction of a felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude. (9) Violation of Section 51530 or conduct specified in Section 1028 of the Government added by Chapter 1418 of the Statutes of 1947. (10) Knowing membership by the employee in the Communist Party. (11) Alcoholism or other drug abuse which makes the employee unfit to instruct or associate with children. (b) The governing board of a school district may suspend without pay for a specific period of time on grounds of unprofessional conduct a permanent certificated employee or, in a school district with an average daily attendance of less than 250 pupils, a probationary employee, pursuant to the procedures specified in Sections 44933, 44934, 44935, 44936, 44937, 44943, and 44944. This authorization shall not apply to any school district which has adopted a collective bargaining agreement pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 3543.2 of the Government Code. CREDIT(S) (Stats.1976, c. 1010, § 2, operative April 30, 1977. Amended by Stats.1981 , c. 100, p. 676, § 18; Stats.1983, c. 498, § 51, eff. July 28, 1983; Stats.1995, c. 392 (A. B.729), § 2.) [FN11 See Penal Code §§ 11400 to 11402 (Repealed). Code, as

California Code of Regulations Title 5. Education Division 8. Commission on Teacher Credentialing Chapter 3. Committee of Credentials Article 1. General Provisions

§ 80303. Reports of Change ln Employment Status.
(a) Whenever a credential holder, working in a position requiring a credential: (1) is dismissed or nonreelected; (2) resigns; (3) is suspended or placed on unpaid administrative leave as a final adverse employment action for more than 10 days.; (4) retires; or (5) is otherwise terminated by a decisi.on not to employ or re-employ; as a result of an allegation of misconduct or while an allegation of misconduct is pending, the superintendent of the employing school district shall report the change in employment status to the Commission not later than 30 days after the employment action. (b) The report shall contain all known lnformaticn about each alleged act of misconduct. (c) The report shall be made to the Commission regardless of any proposed or actual agreement, settlement, or stipulation not to make such a report. The report shall also be made if allegations served on the holder are withdrawn in consideration of the holder'S resignation, retirement or other failure to contest the truth of the allegations. (d) Failure to make a report required under this section constitutes unprofessional conduct. The Committee may investigate any superintendent who holds a credential who fails to file reports required by this section. (e) The superintendent of an empl'oying school direct shall, in writing, inform a credential holder of the content of this regulation whenever that credential holder, working in a position requiring a credential, is dismissed, nonreelected, resigns, is suspended or placed on unpaid administrative reave as a final adverse employment action for more than ten days, retires or is otherwise terminated by a decision not to employ or re-employ as a result of an allegation of misconduct or while an allegation of misconduct is pending. Failure to comply with this subdivision by a superintendent of schools constitutes unprofessional conduct which shall be investigated by the Committee of Credentials.

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