Santa Clara Unified Says It Has No Record of Sexual Harassment Claims in Past 18 Years

Santa Clara Unified took nearly two months to respond to Fly’s request for sexual harassment complaints by informing us that no such records exist. At least not from 2000 to May 3 of this year, according to Assistant Superintendent of School Support and District Development Andrew Lucia.

No claims, Lucia says, not even in response to Santa Clara High teacher Dominic Caserta’s alleged harassment of a few girls in spring of 2002, or seven years later when records indicate that he behaved inappropriately with yet another female student.

That’s because instead of looking up the relevant allegations, the school district took the liberty of narrowing the scope of Fly’s CPRA request for all claims of sexual harassment to just “written demand claim[s], or request[s] for damages.”

Even Santa Clara police—who failed to locate documentation of a 2002 incident memorialized in Caserta’s school personnel file—apparently have a better handle on record-keeping and transparency than Lucia, who’s in charge of monitoring such things for the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights division.

A search for police reports involving sex crimes at Santa Clara High alone turned up 45 incidents in the past decade, including four involving district employees.

On May 2, 2013, a former student reported having a sexual relationship with a teacher when she was 16 years old. On Sept. 23 that same year, a janitor reportedly found a teacher and a high school girl alone late at night in the teacher’s car and later found a mattress under the teacher’s desk, along with bras, panties and condoms.

On Jan. 8, 2016, a 16-year-old girl told cops she was “inappropriately touched” by a 46-year-old school employee. And on April 27, 2017, a 62-year-old male coach walked into the girl’s locker room while students were changing.

Further, a cursory Google search turns up headlines about ex-Wilcox High teacher Edward Slate pleading guilty to having sex with a student, Santa Clara High custodian Joe Miller recruiting students to model for him, SCH teacher Hugo Guzman being charged with statutory rape and Walden West counselor Edgar “Papa Bear” Covarrubias getting busted for allegedly downloading child porn.

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24 Comments

  1. > Santa Clara Unified took nearly two months to respond to Fly’s request for sexual harassment complaints by informing us that no such records exist.

    An excellent report, Mr. Fly.

    An extra ration of gruel for your supperdish.

  2. It comes of no surprise to Padres Unidos California that SCUSD has no records to share … They were either destroyed, or choose not to surrender them . The Hernandez family made complaints about harassment and sexual harassment by substitute teachers that were taken by former superintendent Steve Stavis . Various SCUSD management and former board members knew but did little to address the problem. The SCUSD legal counsel cares more about district financial liability than the trauma harassment and sexual harassment cause permanent trauma ( PTSD). They and various police department #SCPD and #SunnyvalePD officers involved in the no action taken to protect victims . #Karma #DivineIntervention #Somefolksjustlie ‼️🎓

    • Steve Stavis made it pretty clear that advocating for a 49er stadium (how on earth was this his business?) was more important to him than anything else while he was superintendent. It doesn’t surprise me that sexual harassment complaints were buried.

  3. SCUSD is organized for the care and feeding of the adults in this asylum. I know as I experienced it first hand. The school district is run by incompetent fools who gained their positions by loyalty and not competency in a culture of Me First, My Family First, and My Friends First. This is just one more huge and unbelievable artifact of the cesspool called SCUSD. And they are not too good at educating children either as you can see from three years of academic achievement data that I visualized on the data visualization page of http://sipbigpicture.com.

    This great reporting by the Fly reiterates the absolute necessity of planning and implementing an independent investigation of professional staff trying or actually having sex with young children or aiding and abetting the illegal actions of others. And while they are at it, they should also conduct a complete financial audit of the system as well because there are significant shenanigans there as well.

    For Board members and administrative staff to claim that they had no knowledge of these sex crimes in their midst, is not an absolution of their culpability. The children and families were handing the District this information on silver platters! For the head of the Union to claim that the solution to this problem is to hire more teachers is equally ludicrous and unacceptable.

    God help the families who send their children to this absolutely incompetent playland of lust and sexual impropriety. It is time to run from the system and seek a decent and safe education for your children somewhere else!

      • Here’s the deal. I was an assessment and accountability agitator within the system who ultimately offended the sensibilities of the incompetent loyalists within SCUSD. I advocated for a more comprehensive and complete system for assessing, monitoring and reporting student progress on early reading skills such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary, and comprehension. The District was using a Fountas and Pinnell assessment system that was at best a weak formative assessment for teachers and not a valid and reliable assessment system that would support true accountability. For the same reason, I recommended the use of more the more valid and reliable NWEA Math and ELA assessment system.

        I also opposed Kanavel’s and Paolonetti’s Retention policy which through abundant research has been shown to actually subtract ELA and Math knowledge from students.

        I advocated strongly for EL students in the system, recommending that the the District move from a paper-driven compliance system led by overwhelmed Classified staff to one that actually focused on the needs of the EL children and the development of systems that better supported teachers in advancing student acquisition of English as well as academic achievement. Check out the abysmal performance of EL students on state ELA and Math tests at my web site http://sipbigpicture.com. I also advocated for parents whose children had been inappropriately placed into the EL system.

        I advocated for more accountability as it related to the organization and visualization of student academic achievement producing numerous data visualizations that were ignored and not communicated to the community by the District Leadership. I was also in the process of replacing the School City Data system that was a total boondoggle within the District.

        I supported more District accountability when the State identified the mis-allocation of Title III funds to schools as required by law.

        Rather than continue to focus on assessment and accountability, I was asked to support school principals and teachers in the technical uses of the School City Data Decision support system. Of course, true accountability, openness, and transparency were too much for Stan and crew to take in and I was told that my vision for the District was different than theirs which of course was true.

  4. Four seats are up for election to the SCUSD school board this year–that’s a majority of the board. Anyone who wants to help improve the culture in SCUSD should consider running.

  5. This starts at the elementary school level at SCUSD. A toxic work culture with an emphasis on loyalty during employee orientation. I’ve heard it before. Profanity, inability to maintain emotional control, physical harassment, and a lack of professionalism at the K-5 level in front of children. Perhaps the administrators should spend more time in the classroom environment to learn what really happens. I now work with teachers in another school district and the level of professionalism is much higher.

    • Beautiful descriptions San Jose Outside the Bubble! So apropos!
      May I suggest Exhibit B as Susan Ellenberg – SJUSD Board President – who wraps herself in the thin mantle of love of children and political correctness and then fails to deliver on student achievement. You can see the evidence at the web site I developed at your urging! http://sipbigpicture.com. She uses her position and ultra-weak performance as a springboard for County Commissioner.

      These Board Members are really amateur hour and so easily bamboozled by special case presentations of professional practice and student performance while totally missing the big picture of uneven professional practice system-wide and overall poor student academic achievement. And they hire incompetent superintendents like Nancy Albarran who is protected by her goon Assistant Superintendent Stephen McMahon.

      Hey, they are doing us a favor by honoring us with their presence and providing us with mediocre to poor student outcomes. They take our money and go home to their families with not even a hint of real accountability. A great gig if you can get it!

      • > Hey, they are doing us a favor by honoring us with their presence and providing us with mediocre to poor student outcomes.

        Dr. Bill:

        The GENIUS of Donald Trump is that he knows he can fire people, AND he does. The people working for Donald Trump KNOW that they can be fired and are serious about about their jobs, delivering what that said they would deliver, and giving a fair days work for a fair days pay.

        The people working in public education KNOW that they CANNOT be fired. As far is they are concerned, the job of public education is to provide them their pay and benefits. They may have to fake some education claptrap from time to time, they can buy politicians to take the heat.

        If Donald Trump were put in charge of public education, he would fire twenty percent of the bozos and have the place humming with the other eighty percent.

        The fundamental problem of public education is NOT lack of funding, NOT racism, NOT a lack of education theories, it is simply a lack of leadership and lack of accountability.

        Elections of school boards are NOT enough accountability to have competent, effective schools.

        • I would definitely stay away from advocating for the Donald as a paragon of governmental leadership with more than half of the staff that HE HIRED leaving office or being fired for cesspool activities. Scott Pruitt would be Exhibit A in his cavalcade of skullduggery and incompetence.

          That being said we are both in agreement that the root cause problem in education is not funding. As you point out, accountability plays a big role in the issues we face in education. Incompetent administrators get paid well whether they deliver or not.

          I would also suggest that there may be several other root cause issues at play as well. I have been reading Peter Senge’s old but great book called the Fifth Discipline where he advocated for the importance of big picture or systems thinking in business. The idea of Systems thinking was adopted by educators as a fad way back in the day It resulted in the idea that what students should know and be able to do should be codified into what we now call Standards. The Systems Thinking education fad is now long gone. We have replaced it with any number of month to year long fads such as social-emotional learning, personalized learning, PLCs, yada yada yada!

          It would be great if we could resurrect Systems Thinking as an antidote to the current fad-driven magical thinking that suffuses the fog of education for at least a couple of years. Systems thinking would require educators to commit to a big picture mental model for educating our children. I humbly suggest that the mental model include a commitment to student goals that emphasize academic achievement and college and career readiness, professional practices that are clearly identified and implemented systemically, quality assessments a long with the implementation and monitoring tools that would ensure accountability to implementation and real student results.

          I know this is crazy talk and will never be considered by the education community because it would require a lot of commitment, work, and accountability which is in very short supply in K-12 education these days!

          • > I would definitely stay away from advocating for the Donald as a paragon of governmental leadership with more than half of the staff that HE HIRED leaving office or being fired for cesspool activities. Scott Pruitt would be Exhibit A in his cavalcade of skullduggery and incompetence.

            Bill:

            You missed the point.

            Firing people IMPROVES the situation.

            IF Scott Pruitt were guilty of “skullduggery and incompetence”, than the solution is to fire him.

            If half of the staff that Trump hired aren’t performing, fire them and get people who CAN perform.

            Why are you defending poor performance in government?

  6. Dr. Bill:

    What do you know about Kalen Gallagher?

    Apparently, he’s some kind of education entrepreneur who invented something that clueless and susceptible education bureaucrats will spend public money on. Gallagher’s company/product is something called “ClassDojo”.

    >“We were getting calls from Austin, Denver and San Francisco, practically rolling out the red carpets,” Gallagher tells San Jose Inside. But when dealing with San Jose, “it was hard to get someone on the phone.”

    Whatever “ClassDojo” is, I never missed it, and the American Republic survived 242 years without it.

    Is ClassDojo anything more than wealth transfer from taxpayers to Kalen Gallagher?

  7. I am not familiar with Kalen Gallagher or ClassDojo but it sounds like another technology boondoggle looking for a purpose inside SJUSD! You know when you are in trouble when technology companies ask how many children are in your school district cuz they charge by student even when a small % of students use the technology! District administrators LOVE technology because it is an easy way to dump money that they forgot to spend within legal time limits AND tech companies love to provide kickbacks and or cushy “speaking” gigs in luxurious vacation spots for “administrators” looking out for themselves!

    Also this is just another isssue with conflating means with ends!

  8. Just had an informal conversation at a volunteer organization who responded to me ask her how she liked Mountain View High School from which she just graduated! She told me that it was great except for the creepy teachers who were trying to have sex with the students!

    WHAT??????

    Looks like sexual harassment and assault infest more than just SCUSD! I wonder if Mountain View is collecting sex harassment and assault reports?

    Time to get busier Jennifer!

  9. I volunteer in San Jose and met a young lady who recently graduated from Mountain View High School. I asked her how she liked her high school and she said that it was good except for the creepy teachers. I asked her what she meant by creepy teachers and she told me that that some of them seek sexual favors and harass the girls.

    WHAT?

    I wonder if the Mountain View High school district maintains any records of sexual harassment or assault or if they are compromised and complicit like the SCUSD Board and administrative staff.

    Looks like we have an SCC System wide sexual harassment problem. CDC recently reported that 10% of girls report sexual assault in their school career and 20% of all students report bullying.

    Looks like Jennifer will have a full time job investigating sexual harassment and assault in SCC schools. Very sad!

  10. We need to broaden the independent investigation of sexual harassment and assault to all school districts within SCC. It seems to be everywhere. We might want to consider an investigation for all SCC governmental agencies. We have a system gone wild!

  11. Does anyone have serious ideas about how we can hold these jokers accountable for their actions? They’re counting on this story to fade from the public discussion, so they can return to business as usual. We need to do something, our children’s well being is at stake. I am tired of feeling like we have no power over the board or district officials. If your job is to serve the community, try that for a change. If you don’t believe it’s your responsibility to protect students, work elsewhere.

  12. > If your job is to serve the community, try that for a change.

    The first job of bureaucracy is to protect the bureaucracy.

    Administrators and educrats protect the job security and benefits of administrators and educrats.

    Union bureaucrats protect the job security and benefits of union bureaucrats.

    Children have their parents to protect them.

    Relying on administrators and unions to protect children is like relying on anteaters to protect ants.

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