If you are a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) you have no civil rights and no union rights. LAUSD may target you for removal, because you either refuse to go along with the longstanding and highly profitable financial scam they have been running for generations now called public education, aka minority daycare.
It is being played against predominantly students of color in a school district that Whites abandon long ago (only 6% left in LAUSD), making it more segregated that it was prior to Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. Or if you are just “guilty” of having a great deal of seniority, which puts you high on the salary scale, you can be removed from teaching with no collective bargaining rights and especially no arbitration as guaranteed by the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is now systematically ignored, even if UTLA voted for it. With a $408 million budget shortfall, it’s open season on older high-seniority and better paid teachers who either suffer from good teaching or honesty in the face of endemic LAUSD/UTLA corruption.
As in my case and or in the case of hundreds of other invisible LAUSD teachers who have been removed from their livelihood without honest cause, you will be put through a series of pro forma meetings, where the results are predetermined and those representing LAUSD will admit that they have never even read your responses to the knowingly false charges being brought against you.
Furthermore, there will have been no investigation- other than talking to the principal who brought the charges against you- as to whether the charges are true nor even a cursory reading of your answers to the charges. After a Skelly hearing, mine was with then Chief Education Officer for LAUSD Judy Elliot, your name will be submitted to the LAUSD Board for termination as a teacher without any proof being offered of the bogus and self-contradictory “evidence” being offered against you or even a minimal according of fundamental notions of due process of law..
While this might seem to be a pretty extreme statement, I think Richard J. Schwab, esq. of Trygstad, Schwab, and Trygstad put it best when I first met him on November 17, 2010 on the occasion of my own dismissal proceedings that had just been rubber stamped by the LAUSD Board. At that time he said,
“You have no civil rights, you’re chattel to LAUSD.”
Attorney Schab, a partner in Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad, seems to have an exclusive license to see to it that you are removed from employment at LAUSD in a manner that will be least strenuous and costly for LAUSD, while making their law firm a fortune as the only law firm that teachers union UTLA will pay any money to for your defense in a process where Schwab and Co. start out by assuming you are guilty of all the outrageous fabrications that LAUSD has made up against you.
Hell knows an attorney can make a great deal more money coercing you to cop a plea to something that you didn’t do, rather than having to get themselves involved with the tedious business of actually advocating on your behalf.
And aggregating all of the bogus cases against all teachers falsely accused or sitting in rubber rooms around the district or on unpaid level into one claim against LAUSD or seeking equitable relief in the form of an injunction, according to Richard Schwab, “Would be a separate action,” which he and his law firm will not engage in on your behalf with the money supplied by UTLA, unless of course you give him a sizable separate retainer. It doesn’t take a Rhodes scholar to figure out that getting as many innocent teachers to cop a plea is far better for his law firm’s bottom line than actually having to litigation on their behalf.
If you point out to either UTLA or Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad that they have a potential conflict of interest and should be allowed to take any money that UTLA rarely and begrudgingly gives for your legal defense to another attorney, Joshua Pechthalt of UTLA and Richard Schwab will deny this vehemently and UTLA will tell you that they will not give the money to any other attorney. Ironically, this unwillingness to allow a dues-paying UTLA union member under siege by LAUSD to pick their own defense attorney is probably the best proof of the conflict of interest, since UTLA as of this writing has been unable to state what interest they have in determining who advocates on your behalf- something Richard J. Schwab esq. also seems loathe to do.
Joshua Pechthalt wrote me an email on November 3, 2010:
The legal services committee will take this up and get back to you asap
I’m still waiting for Joshua Pechthalt or anybody else from UTLA to get back to me. It is worth mentioning that because of my blog, I am contacted on a weekly basis by teachers who are being subject removal from LAUSD who have also been told by Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad that they have no case and should settle.
Proposed Rule 1.7 of the American Bar Association dealing with conflicts of interest clearly states that the client’s consent must be obtained prior to representation and, in addition, where the fees of the client are paid for by a party other than the client, the client must sign a waiver. Attorney Schwab has no signed agreement for my representation and no signed waiver, but that has not stopped him from continuing to sell me out to LAUSD until last Friday, June 17th, when I received a letter from him stating that he was withdrawing as my attorney. I guess he was finally able to consume the $15,000 that UTLA had given for my “defense.” But that will have to be the subject of future posts on this subject.
In meeting with Deborah Esaghian, esq, an associate of Attorney Schwab who passed the bar in 2006, she made the most telling remark about where Trygstad, Schwab & Trygstad stand in terms of defending teachers, “I would never send my children to an LAUSD school.” So why would a union like UTLA have attorneys who clearly care so little about public education and the teachers doing the thankless job of trying to teach with no support and hostility from LAUSD administrators, UTLA, and its attorneys?