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California Briefing / Lawndale

Teachers call in sick in protest

March 31, 2009|Catherine Ho

About 70 teachers called in sick Monday to protest proposed layoffs and state cuts to education in the Centinela Valley Union School District, forcing two schools to close early and the hiring of more than 50 substitutes.

Teachers at Hawthorne, Lawndale, Leuzinger and Lloyde high schools organized the sick-out last week, said Supt. Jose Fernandez. Of the 70 teachers who called in sick, more than half were teachers at Leuzinger, and 32 had received notices that they could be laid off in February or March, he said.

The district, which employs about 350 teachers, has issued potential pink slips to about 100 teachers, Fernandez said

Administrators at Leuzinger and Lawndale called for shortened days Monday, dismissing students after lunch.

"I think these things hurt kids when their regular teachers aren't at school," Fernandez said. "Hopefully, it doesn't happen again. I understand the rationale, but I think they could protest in different ways. When it starts hitting the kids, that's where we cross the line."

School districts around the state have been issuing preliminary layoff notices. Almost 27,000 of the proposed layoff notices, including 5,500 in Los Angeles Unified, were issued by March 15, the deadline for such warnings.

-- Catherine Ho

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