September 10, 2013
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Testifies on School Employee Dismissal or Suspension Bill
Good morning. Thank you, Senator (Carol) Liu and Senator (Mark) Wyland, for the opportunity to be with you today.
The safety of our children is our top priority. That's why I come before you today: to thank you for taking this important step forward in our work to make sure every child is safe at school.
I am doing all I can to gather the tools schools need to succeed in this critical work.
Assembly Bill 375 streamlines the system of teacher discipline and dismissal.
AB 375 increases the protection we afford our children by expanding the types of charges for which a school can—or, in some cases, must—place an employee on leave.
It doesn't place an arbitrary deadline on the consideration of abuse in dismissal proceedings.
And it does all this while protecting the rights of teachers.
Fundamentally, this is about having the collective will to take further steps necessary to protect children.
That's why I want us to get more serious about mandatory reporting, and it's why I urge you to pass AB 375.
Those of us who have made the care of children our life's work have accepted a tremendous honor—but we've also accepted a tremendous responsibility.
The overwhelming number of teachers in our classrooms today are deserving of the trust we have placed in them.
And as a teacher, like all teachers, I firmly believe that anyone who breaks that trust deserves the consequences.