They had been removed for their handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a former assistant principal.
By Mary Engel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 7, 2008 - Two senior Los Angeles school district administrators who were removed from their jobs last month for their handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former Assistant Principal Stephen Thomas Rooney will return to work Monday, according to a Los Angeles Unified School District statement released late Friday.
Rooney, who is being held in lieu of $1-million bail, faces sexual misconduct charges in connection with three current and former district students.
In the statement, Supt. David L. Brewer said an internal investigation of the two administrators' roles in the scandal concluded that they should be returned to their work sites "as quickly as possible." Brewer could not be reached for further comment.
The statement did not name the administrators. But in early May, Senior Deputy Supt. Ramon C. Cortines had announced that local district Supt. Carol Truscott and Scott Braxton, who formerly worked for Truscott, had been relieved of duties and assigned to work in the central office for their roles in assigning Rooney to Markham Middle School.
Rooney had been removed from a previous school and assigned to a desk job for allegedly waving a gun at the stepfather of a student.
Although an investigation turned up allegations of a sexual relationship with the student, an apparent communications breakdown led to his being reassigned to the Watts middle school, where he is accused of molesting two students. Truscott oversaw the last three schools where Rooney worked.
smf chimes in: Earlier reporting in the Times on May 7th reported:
"Two senior Los Angeles school district administrators have been removed from their jobs for failing to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against an employee and then clearing him to work at a Watts middle school, where he allegedly molested two additional students.
"Local district Supt. Carol Truscott and Scott Braxton, who formerly worked for Truscott, have been relieved of duties and assigned to the central office pending further investigation into how they dealt with former Assistant Principal Stephen Thomas Rooney
"Braxton was slated to be principal at the long-awaited Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, originally named the Belmont Learning Complex, scheduled to open next fall. He was managing the setup of that school on the edge of downtown – an assignment that would go only to a highly regarded administrator. Under Truscott, he had responsibility for administrative assignments, including Rooney’s."
SUPERINTENDENT BREWER’S STATEMENT REGARDING ONGOING ROONEY INVESTIGATION -AGGRESSIVE NEW SAFEGUARDS IMPLEMENTED
"A thorough preliminary investigation has revealed that the key central office personnel most responsible for the mishandling of the Rooney case, including the previous chief operating officer, are no longer working at the District."
June 6, 2008 - This statement concerns the recent completion of an investigation into the handling by two LAUSD administrators of the deeply disturbing case involving Mr. Steven Rooney. After a thorough investigation of their respective roles in the matter, LAUSD has concluded that both administrators should be returned to their worksites as quickly as possible on Monday morning. The Los Angeles Police Department has further assured the District that no criminal investigations are pending on either of these two employees.
I want parents to know that we take allegations of abuse very seriously. A thorough preliminary investigation has revealed that the key central office personnel most responsible for the mishandling of the Rooney case, including the previous chief operating officer, are no longer working at the District. However, further investigations are ongoing, and discipline of other personnel may result in the immediate future.
The investigation also concluded that while the District routinely handles such matters effectively, in this instance there were multiple systems breakdowns that led to a tragic situation. Based on these findings, the District has immediately implemented aggressive safeguards to ensure this does not ever happen again.
Those changes include:
a. A comprehensive District-wide educational campaign to raise awareness, including parents and students;
b. Strategic realignment of key divisions that respond to reports of abuse, as well as creation of a Safety Task Force;
c. Creation of the Superintendent’s Reassignment Committee to review each case involving employees removed from the worksite, pending allegations of wrongdoing;
d. Oversight by the Superintendent, who will be routinely briefed by the Reassignment Committee and will personally make all final decisions in critical cases;
e. Clearer definition of accountabilities, roles and responsibilities throughout all lines of LAUSD leadership and support personnel;
f. Enhanced formal collaboration with law enforcement;
g. Expanded professional development and training for staff; and
h. Effective use of technology to manage and track key information.
With respect to Mr. Rooney, we understand that he has been held to answer and will stand trial on multiple criminal counts. Because the District is determined to fully cooperate with law enforcement, further details regarding his case cannot be released at this time.
We will act immediately upon receiving reports of abuse. We have policies and procedures in place to investigate such cases, even when the police are unable to bring charges. Any individual posing a threat of abuse to students is removed immediately from the school site.
The students and families of LAUSD have a right to expect that children will be safe at school. Ensuring student safety is a moral imperative, and it is my highest priority.