A male teacher at a Winnetka middle school has been removed from the classroom after accusations he possibly abused female students.
School district officials on Friday would not release his name, a grade level, nor allegation, saying the information is confidential. He is being housed in a non-teaching office, said Ellen Morgan, a spokeswoman at the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Parents received letters and a phone message on Thursday, saying officials are investigating allegations of misconduct by a school employee, Morgan said.
"The employee has been removed from the campus and will not return until the investigation is complete and the allegations are determined to be unfounded," the phone message said. "The details of this incident are confidential and cannot be disclosed."
The news comes on the heels of a 72-hour notification policy requiring school officials to disclose basic information when a teacher is removed from the classroom for allegations of sexual misconduct. The only exception would occur if the district was specifically advised by law enforcement not to release the information within that time frame, LAUSD said.
"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."
Attorney Brian Claypool, who is representing several families in litigation involving a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School over alleged abuse, said a colleague of the teacher at Sutter sent a letter to school administrators raising concerns about possible inappropriate behavior.
In the letter, the teacher claimed that several female students complained to him about the actions of the teacher -- including touching and flirting.
“He overheard these kids talking in his classroom about this other teacher, so he intervened and said, ‘Hey, what are you all talking about?’” Claypool said during a Thursday press conference. “And then these kids opened up to him and said, ‘Hey we feel very uncomfortable around this teacher. We're afraid, we don't feel comfortable.’”
Claypool told reporters that school and district administrators failed to act on the allegations in the letter for a week.
“We've learned from Miramonte that 20 years ago nothing was done to take those complaints serious,” Claypool said. “And had they been taken serious, we could have avoided the entire Miramonte tragedy.”