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Why Did California Lawmakers Kill Miramonte-Inspired Bill to Help Fire Pervy Teachers?

Mark Berndt, the Miramonte Elementary teacher who allegedly fed his semen to kids, was a tough dude to fire.

KPCCMark Berndt, the Miramonte Elementary teacher who allegedly fed his semen to kids, was a tough dude to fire.

Senator Alex Padilla (D-Paicoma) is fuming this morning over yesterday's decision by the Assembly Education Committee to throw out SB 1530 -- that famous Miramonte-inspired bill that would have made it easier for school districts to fire teachers accused of "sex, violence or drug offenses involving children."

Any bill involving sex offenders or pedophilia is usually a shoo-in, because no politician seeking re-election wants to be the guy who stood up for the rights of some drooling child-snatcher. In fact, only one re-election power in Sacramento is greater:

The teachers unions. So it comes as no surprise that, according to the LA Daily News...

... the powerful California Teachers Association, as well as United Teachers Los Angeles, lobbied against [SB 1530], saying it would have violated due process for teachers.

Warren Fletcher, UTLA's relatively new president (the old one ironically moved into the charter-school industry), says in a statement today that the bill "solves nothing, places teachers at unfair risk, and diverts attention from the real accountability issues at LAUSD."

Padilla disagrees wholeheartedly in his own frustrated statement, arguing that the bill...

"... was narrowly crafted to focus only on cases in which school employees are accused of sex, violence, or drug use with children. It is difficult to understand why anyone would oppose a measure to protect children. It is very disappointing."

Of three similar teacher-punishment bills making their way through the Legislature, Padilla has always felt that his was more focused.

It would have given school districts the power to immediately suspend teachers accused of misconduct; it would have streamlined the firing process; and it would have allowed "evidence older than 4 years to be used in investigations," among other red-tape removals.

At yesterday's committee meeting, five assemblymembers voted "Yes," two voted "No" and four abstained. But the bill needed six votes to pass through to Assembly -- making the abstentions just as damaging as the "No" votes.

We're waiting on Padilla's office to send us a list of who, exactly, voted "No" or abstained. (Aka, who on the Assembly Education Committee is slave to the CTA-UTLA empire, and would sacrifice the safety of California's kids so as not to piss off their sugar daddy.) Updates to come.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]