LAUSD's 'Rubber Room' Population Has More Than Doubled
The number of LAUSD teachers who are spending their days outside the classroom and in administrative offices referred to as "rubber rooms" has more than doubled over the last year-and-a-half.Aggressive investigation of alleged teacher misconduct has skyrocketed ever since a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles was accused of feeding his semen to his students.
David Holmquist, the district's general counsel, told The Daily News, "You touch a child inappropriately, expect to lose your job. We have zero tolerance for inappropriate touching and that probably hasn't always been the case, to this degree."
The Daily News has the stats on how this is affecting the district, which are supposed to come out in a report by the California State Auditor's office tomorrow. Nearly 300 teachers are on administrative leave—more than double the number 18 months ago—and about 50 of those teacher are on unpaid leave as the district moves to fire them. A few teachers have appealed their unpaid status, but administrators don't want them back in the classrooms.
That means the district is paying $1.4 million in salaries to teachers as investigations move forward. $865,000 is being paid to the substitutes taking their places.
District officials say it's worth it to protect students' safety. Teachers' union, however, say the district is overreacting to the scandal and using it to target teachers they don't like.
Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, told The Daily News: "LAUSD is using the process to get rid of teachers they don't like or don't want by launching misconduct investigations against them when there's no reasonable belief on anyone's part that any real misconduct occurred."
Superintendent John Deasy fired back at those claims: "What we want is for students to be safe. A witch hunt would be if we were going after teachers. But the complaints come to us, and we're responding by ensuring that policies are enforced."