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Mark Berndt

Teacher Rafe Esquith's misconduct investigation is a high-profile test for LAUSD's 'tiger team'

Teacher Rafe Esquith's misconduct investigation is a high-profile test for LAUSD's 'tiger team'

When a colleague complained that Rafe Esquith, the most celebrated teacher in Los Angeles, had made a joke about nudity to his fifth-grade students, the district called into action a newly formed squad of investigators to get to the bottom of it.

Internally dubbed the "tiger team," the unit was created last year in the wake of repeated sex abuse scandals that had long plagued the nation's second-largest school district. These investigators were supposed to cut through the bureaucracy's red tape and investigative backlog and quickly ferret out wrongdoing.

In Esquith, they had their highest-profile subject and their biggest test.

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