The Los Angeles school board last week fired renowned elementary teacher Rafe Esquith amid allegations of misconduct, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In turn, Esquith’s attorney, Mark Geragos, has filed a class action on behalf of some 2,000 teachers. The $1 billion suit targets an investigative squad established by the district after the 2012 teacher sexual-abuse scandal at the city’s Miramonte Elementary School. Geragos called the new unit an “investigative hit squad” seeking to fire veteran teachers and to deprive them of their retirement benefits.
Known for his dynamic teaching style, Esquith had taught at Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles for 30 years. He is the author of several influential books.
He was suspended from the classroom in April after a colleague expressed concern about a joke Esquith had made to his students in reference to nudity.
Evidence in the case is confidential, but the district investigation was reportedly looking at whether Esquith exchanged inappropriate emails with students and kept sexually explicit images on his school computer. Esquith has repeatedly denied those charges.
A version of this article appeared in the October 21, 2015 edition of Education Week as L.A. District Sued for $1B After Firing Famed Teacher