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CERRITOS : Court Upholds Firing of 26-Year Teacher

August 25, 1994|PSYCHE PASCUAL

A state appeals court has upheld a decision by the ABC School District to fire a music teacher accused of improperly touching his students.

The district suspended junior high teacher Kenneth Haar, a 26-year employee, in 1992 after students accused him of immoral conduct. One girl testified that Haar stroked her thigh with his fingers. Other students said Haar dressed up as Santa Claus and told his female students he would give them extra raffle tickets in exchange for sitting on his lap and hugging and kissing him.

A school district panel decided in June, 1992, that Haar did not engage in immoral conduct and ordered Haar's reinstatement. But the school board took the matter to court, and a Superior Court judge ruled that the district had grounds for dismissing him.

ABC attorney James Baca said the appellate court ruling confirms the district's duty to protect students from harassment by teachers. "It's an indication that . . . children who are being sexually harassed by their teacher have some recourse," he added.

Haar's attorney, Lawrence Rosenzweig, said Haar has not decided whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

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