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California Briefing / Los Angeles

Teacher appeals decision on firing

September 03, 2009|Jason Song

A special education teacher whom the school district removed from the classroom over seven years ago for alleged sexual harassment has appealed a decision giving the district permission to dismiss him.

Matthew Kim, a former special education teacher at Grant High School in Van Nuys, was dismissed in 2003 for allegedly groping co-workers and making inappropriate comments to students. Kim, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, denied the claims, and the case has been appealed several times.

Kim has been paid his full annual salary of up to $68,000 while his case was being heard and, per district policy, has been barred from the classroom and given no tasks.

Kim was featured in a Times article last spring as an example of the district's inability to swiftly discipline employees accused of egregious or immoral acts. In July, a Superior Court judge ordered a state panel that oversees teacher discipline to give L.A. Unified the authority to fire Kim.

The teacher's attorney appealed, and the state panel declined to let the district fire Kim until the appeal is heard.

-- Jason Song

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