K-12 Investigations

Retained by General Counsels for school districts, as well as human resources departments, PII has conducted difficult and complex investigations at all levels of K-12 education. Given the potential impact of these cases on the parties and the surrounding communities, PII approaches these investigations with care and attention.  PII’s investigators are always mindful of the unique needs of student witnesses, of the school’s individual culture and demographics, and of the privacy concerns of the involved parties.  While PII investigations are generally confidential, the firm has presented detailed findings to public school boards, which have drawn the attention of the community and triggered public debate.

PII has investigated complaints that:

• A high school student was sexually harassing his classmate during a community college program they both attended, creating a hostile educational environment.
• A teacher inappropriately yelled at, and picked on, a special needs student at a middle school.
• A school district did not provide a safe working environment when a high school student suffering from mental health issues threatened one of his teachers.
• A high school science teacher engaged in misconduct by weaving profane language into his lessons.

Case in Point

A high school guidance counselor was accused of touching female students in ways that made them uncomfortable, and staring at their breasts and/or bodies while speaking with them.  Some of these incidents happened off school grounds when the teacher met the students at community events, or on field trips.  There was considerable evidence supporting the students’ accounts, and the guidance counselor was terminated.

Case in Point

When the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) faced whistle-blower accusations about toxic school sites and other environmental problems, PII was asked to conduct a large-scale investigation of the District’s procedures and practices.  During this assignment, PII focused on the controversial campus of Belmont Learning Complex to determine if LAUSD complied with laws related to school construction.  Presenting its findings at executive sessions and public meetings, PII issued a report that was praised by Board of Education members, the state legislators, the media, and other stakeholders in the District.

Eventually, PII’s recommendations became part of a District-wide plan to improve LAUSD’s performance in this area.