Parents and guardians of LAUSD students will now be informed within 72 hours of sexual misconduct allegations against school employees, according to a news release from the school district.
The new policy, set to be completed by the start of the 2012-13 school year, mandates parents be told if a "certified employee" at their child’s school has been removed from the classroom amid allegations of sexual misconduct against students.
The alterations come in light of a spate of teacher abuse scandals, during which parents and school employees expressed outrage that some cases took months to come to light.
Parents and staff at Telfair Elementary School were informed in February about the Oct. 2011 arrest of a third grade teacher at that school.
Paul Chapel, of Chatsworth, was accused of sexually abusing four kids under 14-years-old, including one student, over the span of 30 weeks between Sept. 13, 2010, and April 5, 2011.
"People were angry, and rightfully so," Nury Martinez, a board member who represents the northeast San Fernando Valley area that includes Telfair Elementary School, told NBC 4 in February.
Wednesday’s policy change follows a unanimous approval of resolutions authored by Martinez and board member Tamar Galatzan calling for changes to how the district informed parents about alleged teacher abuse.
The district’s previous policy did not specify a deadline for informing parents and guardians about alleged teacher misconduct.
Parents at the Telfair Elementary were only informed that Chapel was removed from the classroom, but not why.
LAUSD officials said they delayed notification, which was largely accomplished by a slew of news reports, because they "could not comprise the police investigation."
Police said they would not ask the school district to withhold notifying parents of the allegations, according to a February statement.
That circumstance, however, is the only caveat in the district’s new mandate, according to the release. Parents would not be notified if law enforcement specifically asked the school to withhold that information.
"The intent with our policy has always been to enable law enforcement to conduct investigations in an environment free from bias, and to let parents and guardians know within a reasonable amount of time if a teacher has been accused of a serious offense," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. "We believe that the new rule strikes the proper balance between the two."