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Teacher's $1B Lawsuit Accuses LA District of Targeting Older Educators

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By    |   Friday, 16 Oct 2015 01:56 PM

A well-known, popular Los Angeles teacher filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit Thursday along with 2,000 other instructors who are accusing the city's school district of taking action against older educators.

The lawsuit filing was led by 61-year-old Rafe Esquith, and court documents accuse the Los Angeles Unified School District of pushing disciplinary action against older teachers in the district to avoid paying retirement benefits, CNN reported. The suit also wants to end "teacher jail," a situation in which teachers are removed from the classroom for alleged misconduct and many are thereafter fired.

Esquith, who has received national awards for his teaching, has been battling the district over allegations he made inappropriate jokes and also touched students inappropriately, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to anonymous sources, the school board voted Tuesday night to fire the teacher who has spent 30 years in the district. Esquith's attorneys told CNN they had not received any notification that their client was fired.

The lawsuit, which attorney Ben Meiselas called the "largest class-action by teachers in the history of public education," asks for whistleblower status for Esquith, CNN said. It also alleges that what happened to Esquith has been a pattern of treatment for older, higher-earning teachers in the LAUSD.

"LAUSD provides no description of any pending complaint or charges against the teacher whatsoever," CNN quoted the lawsuit filing. "Disturbingly, from the very outset, LAUSD administrators label the teachers as immoral, unethical, thieves, abusers or criminals, while at the same time the LAUSD places the teachers under a gag order."

In a press conference about the lawsuit, Esquith's attorney Mark Geragos accused the district of having an "investigative hit squad that goes out and basically intimidates and tries to extract statements from students that they then use for kangaroo-court style proceedings in order to get people to resign so that they don’t vest with their retirement benefits."

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A well-known, popular Los Angeles teacher filed a $1 billion class-action lawsuit Thursday along with 2,000 other instructors who are accusing the city's school district of taking action against older educators.
teacher, billion, dollar, class action, lawsuit
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2015-56-16
Friday, 16 Oct 2015 01:56 PM
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