News


Ohlone teacher charged with child abuse

Superintendent: Palo Alto school district initiates dismissal proceedings following news of 'deeply disturbing' allegations

An Ohlone Elementary School teacher has been placed on unpaid compulsory leave after the district discovered he is facing charges of sexual abuse of a former Palo Alto Unified student from more than a decade ago, Superintendent Max McGee confirmed Thursday evening.

Mike Airo of San Mateo, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Ohlone, has been charged with one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and three counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child, McGee wrote in a message sent districtwide to parents, faculty and staff on Thursday evening. Ohlone Principal Nicki Smith also sent a message to parents notifying them on Thursday.

The district became aware of the charges Thursday morning when Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Scott Bowers received a "court-ordered booking" via fax from the California Department of Justice listing the charges, McGee said.

After obtaining and reviewing related court documents and consulting with a district attorney, the district as of Thursday afternoon initiated dismissal proceedings for Airo, McGee said.

"Having read the allegations in the court document I am literally sickened and disgusted," McGee's message states. "Although these events allegedly transpired over a decade ago, we are immediately launching an investigation aimed at identifying any students who may have been victimized since then so we can provide them with all the support they might need."

The child, who will be identified as Jane Doe to protect her privacy, was a former female student in the district, now in her early 20s, who disclosed the alleged sexual abuse to her psychologist in 2014, according to a police report obtained by the Weekly. The Palo Alto Police Department conducted an investigation after receiving a report from the San Mateo County Department of Children and Family Services in May 2014.

Doe told police in June 2014 that years before, when Airo lived in her Palo Alto home as her mother's boyfriend, he would inappropriately kiss her breasts, stomach and buttocks while she was taking showers. The alleged abuse took place between 2002 and 2005, when she was between the ages of 11 and 13 years old, according to police. It never progressed beyond the kisses in the shower, Doe told police.

An attorney for Airo told Palo Alto police in September 2014 that Airo claimed innocence, but he did not provide a statement at the time, according to the police report. Airo did not immediately return a request for comment for this article.

In an interview with a Palo Alto police officer, Ohlone's Smith said she had not received nor heard of any complaints filed against Airo. She "described him as a teacher that gives his students a lot of attention and care" and said he had also become a "favorite teacher" with Ohlone parents.

"She said she would never imagine suspect Airo touching or harming the children in any way and does not know of any suspicious circumstances involving him," the police report states.

Doe first met Airo when she was 8 years old. He worked as an aide at an after-school daycare program at El Carmelo Elementary School in Palo Alto that she attended, according to police. At the time, she was a student at El Carmelo, police said.

Doe's older half-sister, close in age to Airo, worked at the same daycare program, according to police. Airo also worked at a summer camp that Doe attended, her mother told police. Airo was first hired by the district in 2008 to teach third grade at Juana Briones Elementary School and then transferred to Ohlone a year later, according to McGee.

When Doe began third or fourth grade, Airo and her mother started dating. In 2002, he moved in with the family — Doe, her mother and half-sister — into a new home in Palo Alto. He was in his young 20s at the time, much younger than Doe's mother and only two years older than her half-sister, Doe told police. He and Doe's mother had started dating shortly before he left the daycare program following a complaint filed by another parent, Doe's half-sister told police. (Police later interviewed this parent, who said she filed it because he was "overly involved" with her daughter and with Doe and "ignoring other children.")

As Airo's relationship progressed with Doe's mother, he "began to express more interest in being involved in (Doe's) life," the police report states. He would often ask her to sit on his lap, tuck her into bed at night, read her bedtime stories with the door shut and offer to pick her up after school and watch her until her mother got home, according to both Doe's and her mother's interviews with police.

Doe told police that it was when he watched her after school that he would "become more affectionate toward her." Once, when she was in sixth grade, she came home after what she believed to be cheerleading practice and was going to change out of her uniform, according to the police report. Before she could do so, Airo walked into her bedroom and sat down to talk to her. When she grabbed her clothing and started to walk to another room to change, he stopped her and told her that "since he was planning to be her father one day, it was OK if she wanted to change her clothes in front of him," Doe told police.

Airo frequently told Doe he wanted her to see him as a father figure, she told police. He said the same to Doe's mother, and his "desire to be a supportive male figure in (Doe's) life made a dating relationship more appealing to her," she told police.

Doe said throughout middle school and her freshman year, whenever she arrived home after school and took a shower, Airo would enter the bathroom to perform a "ritual" of saying he was going to brush his teeth or use the toilet, asking for a kiss and then kissing each of her breasts, stomach and butt cheeks in the same way, she told police. Doe told police that Airo would always approach her in these instances by asking to give her a kiss.

"He acted as if his request was normal," the police report states.

Doe's half-sister told police that she witnessed Airo walking out of the bathroom while Doe was taking a shower three or four times, each time when she had not been expected at home.

As Doe became older, she began to resist Airo's advances, but he was often "persistent" so she would eventually "give in to his requests," the police report states. He did walk into the bathroom less as she got older, she said.

Doe also told police that Airo took photographs of her while she was sleeping.

Doe's mother told police that Airo was far more affectionate with her daughter than with her and she felt like their relationship was focused on Doe. If the three of them were walking in public, Airo would "usually be found walking ahead of her holding hands with (Doe)," the report states. He would frequently go into her room at night to read her "bedtime stories," close the door and claim they "needed their privacy," the report states. On a family trip to Los Angeles, Airo returned from checking in at the front desk to say that there were not enough beds for everyone and that he and Doe would have to sleep in the same bed.

Doe's mother told police that "she did not feel as if her relationship with Airo was a loving relationship; she said it felt more like 'this relationship is convenient and I really like your kid.'"

Doe's half-sister said she never saw her mother and Airo "kiss, hug, hold hands or go out on dates."

Airo and Doe's mother ended their relationship in October 2007. Airo still attempted to be in Doe's life by attending her birthday party and asking if he could take her bowling. Doe's mother asked if she wanted to go and she said she felt uncomfortable; her mother assumed it was because they had broken up and didn't ask any other questions, according to the police report.

Doe told police she did not tell anyone about the alleged abuse until years later, after her mother and Airo had ended their relationship.

Airo, now 34, was charged on Dec. 28, 2015, with four felony counts: the continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 - resident child molesting; and three instances of performing a lewd or lascivious act on a child by force, violence, duress, menace and fear, according to court documents.

Smith wrote in her message to parents that a substitute teacher has been placed to take over Airo's class.

Extra counseling support will be provided at Ohlone on Friday, McGee said.

"It's deeply disturbing, to say the least," McGee told the Weekly on Thursday. "We realize ... you're innocent until proven guilty, but given the severity of the allegations, the fact the charges have been filed (and) there's $500,000 bail, we think that initiating dismissal proceedings is certainly warranted."

McGee said he did not know if Airo was in or out of custody, but Airo did not respond to calls from Bowers.

McGee is encouraging anyone who suspects a current or former student may have been victimized by Airo to contact the Palo Alto Police Department and school district office. Police asked that anyone who believes that their child may be a victim call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

According to a Palo Alto Police Department press release, detectives attempted to contact Airo to serve an arrest warrant issued by a judge on Jan. 6, but he self-surrendered at the Santa Clara County Main Jail on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 13. He immediately posted $500,000 bail after being booked by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, police said.

Detectives investigated Airo's work history with the school district, and determined there was no indication that there were any additional victims.

Explaining the stretch of one-and-a-half years in between learning of the abuse allegations and an arrest warrant being filed, Palo Alto police Sgt. James Reifschneider told the Weekly Friday that investigating allegations from more than a decade ago adds a "layer of complexity" -- tracking down witnesses or other people who might have pertinent information from that time -- to an already complex case. He said it is also "not uncommon" in a case of this nature for the police detectives to have a lot of back-and-forth collaboration with the district attorney's office, adding to the length of time.

Related stories:

Overcoming abuse

Crime: Child molest case raises fears

Bill Giordano sentenced to four years in prison

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of felony counts Airo was charged with. He was charged with four, not three, counts.

Comments

27 people like this
Posted by Ms
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:32 pm

I don't know if you are to read this, Mike.
I hope justice is served. May the gavel be in your favor.
Please hold your head up high still, even if you really are guilty, I'm sure you have changed.


31 people like this
Posted by A STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF YOURS MIKE
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Mike,

Hold your head high! You are genuinely one of the kindest, most patient, amazing teachers I have ever had the privilege of knowing. You are extraordinary. I will pray for your swift exoneration of all charges.

I am disgusted that Max McGee would say such awful things about you . He should be ashamed of throwing you under the bus. Let's leave the legal judgements to what I hope will be a truly fair legal process.

INNOCENT until proven guilty.

Stay strong Mike!


38 people like this
Posted by Support of Mike
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

I am saddened to hear of this and am shocked because Mike has been a great teacher.

Our hearts go out to all the families impacted and wish for a speedy resolution to the truth in the matter.


15 people like this
Posted by Formerohloneparent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:31 pm

These allegations are truly shocking and I hope they are not the truth.


108 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:39 pm

I think, without question, a teacher has to be put on leave when there are these kind of charges, but McGee's letter really bothered me when I got it this evening. There have been charges, but no trial. McGee writes as if Airo's already been convicted. These sort of cases are incendiary enough without McGee adding fuel to the fire--Airo has a right a fair trial.

Anyone remember the uproar of the McMartin Preschool case? Lives were ruined and, after six years of criminal trials, no convictions. I think McGee needs to back off and let the judge, lawyers, and investigators handle this.


49 people like this
Posted by Paly parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Max's letter was so unprofessional. He has been charged, not convicted. Mike hang in there!


Posted by that's it
a resident of Barron Park

on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:01 pm


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37 people like this
Posted by come on
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:03 pm

And what would have happened if McGee had done anything differently? You've been around long enough to know.


62 people like this
Posted by ex_Ohlone mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm

I also want to lend my voice in saying that Mike is one of the best people and teachers that we have had the privilege of knowing.
Shame on you Max McGee for not supporting one of your teachers in order to dodge liability. Guilty until proven innocent (and even then, ruined) is the way PAUSD treats its teachers.


8 people like this
Posted by wt98
a resident of Addison School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:05 pm

[Post removed.]


121 people like this
Posted by ohloneparent
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Of course we all hope these charges aren't true. But what's with doubting the victim and her accusations? What would she possibly have to gain? I know the law is innocent until proven guilty, but I have a hard time presuming innocence in a case like this. Just because he's a fabulous teacher doesn't mean he couldn't have done this. And what's with the criticism of McGee? How could he not remove Mike given the accusations?!?


69 people like this
Posted by Poff
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Poff is a registered user.

Remove the teacher from his post, sure, but do not forget that these are still just accusations (from 11 years ago!) and nothing has been proven yet. McGee's letter sounds as if Mike is already convicted.


80 people like this
Posted by jlsohloneparent
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:48 pm

jlsohloneparent is a registered user.

Mike was a wonderful teacher to my children. They adored him and they grew so much during their time with him. Obviously this news is troubling, and we certainly don't know the details of the case. My heart goes out to everyone in this case, to the child and her family and to Mike and his family. All are hurting, no matter the facts.

I too was troubled by the letter. I would not expect the district to defend in light of these charges, but the language was inflammatory. I have young teens who are seeing someone they placed their trust in for years accused of something they can't comprehend. Having such language flung by the superintendent does not help the hundreds of children Mike has taught. They need loving support. My kids have not seen the letter, and I hope that they never do, but please PAUSD - think of all the kids that have gone through that classroom. One can be sensitive to the victim and fair to the accused.


82 people like this
Posted by Chaya
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:18 am

Chaya is a registered user.

As Shakespeare said "Don't shoot the messenger". McGee did the right thing dismissing Mike until this whole thing gets sorted and his expression of disgust over the allegations was one I'm sure most of us would share having just read the details tegarding sexual abuse of a child. Mike was my child's teacher and was a very caring and nurturing teacher. Hoping like everyone else this is not true but sad for the victim and Mike if it is.


164 people like this
Posted by PADad2323
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:27 am

PADad2323 is a registered user.

As the father of a child currently at Ohlone, I'm 100% supportive and appreciative of Max's tone, message, and actions -- as well as his justifications. I'm not sure what everyone is upset about re: Max's direct/honest messaging -- please provide context. I read it as someone with a bias to protect children first.

Then there's the other side of the camp -- "Please hold your head up high still, even if you really are guilty, I'm sure you have changed."

That's unbelievable/reprehensible to say about a male adult who is trusted with children.


172 people like this
Posted by Buddhalove
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:52 am

Buddhalove is a registered user.

I see a large outcry of support for an (admittedly) beloved teacher. But where is the outcry of support for the victim who (if the charges are true) was sexually abused from the ages of 8 to 11 years old?? We’re talking about an innocent, little girl being violated here! Shame on all of you for being so quick to throw your sentiments and backing around someone who may have committed this horrific monstrosity.

We're talking about a young lady who is from THIS community! Think of how you would feel if you were this (now) young woman reading all of these calls for support for her (yes, "alleged") perpetrator. Think of how you would feel if you were the parent of this girl. I am ashamed to be a part of this community who seems so quick to support the accused instead of the victim. Ridiculous!

And a note to the victim: I am SO sorry for YOU. I hope you are getting the support and help you need to navigate through this incredibly difficult time. There many of us out here who have heartfelt feelings for what YOU are going through!


107 people like this
Posted by PADad2323
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:17 am

PADad2323 is a registered user.

@Buddhalove thanks for your comments. I too am disappointed in parts of this community. Like everyone, we hope for the truth to surface, but comments like...

"You are extraordinary. I will pray for your swift exoneration of all charges. "

Man, whether this teacher is guilty or not, and I absolutely hope he gets a fair trial -- for other victims of sexual abuse by their teachers etc. trying to find the courage to speak out (and protect others), seeing comments like that from the community may just shut them down.


70 people like this
Posted by jlsohloneparent
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 8:01 am

jlsohloneparent is a registered user.

I agree that our support should go to this child. All victims have the right to be believed. I just wish that the superintendent had used a more factual tone as the school principal did. These charges are confusing enough, and I will believe the victim here and talked to my children. But they loved this person and it is hard enough to comprehend the charges without the language. I think the district is probably doing the right thing with its administrative response. I think in cases like this of abuse, the victim needs to be believed, but having gone through this within my family it is important to remember that there are people - real people - who love and care for every person involved in this event. I truly believe we can be supportive to the victim and take appropriate measures, while understanding the emotions and need for support for the other kids. I did not lie to my kids. I did not tell them that it probably wasn't true. I told them the truth, that the charges were made and that this is really hard to hear and understand. I asked them if they were aware of anything or if they were ever in danger so that they could get the help that they need.


23 people like this
Posted by Poff
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 15, 2016 at 8:38 am

Poff is a registered user.

It is the nature of this crime to make people (who don't necessarily know Mike) feel disgusted and find the alleged acts reprehensible. I see nothing wrong with giving support to someone that we know very closely and dearly, and to give him our support. I wonder what would have happened to Mike if he was implicated in a hit and run accident 14 years ago.


157 people like this
Posted by southville
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 15, 2016 at 9:26 am

southville is a registered user.

To everyone jumping to Mike's defense, I would suggest you reserve judgment.

My kid had Mike and had a good experience. I had an in-law who was also a very respected teacher and community member. It turned out he had molested several, but not all, of the young family members. No one said anything for decades. The legal process is still playing out but we have learned a lot about child sex abuse in the meantime. One of the main reasons that offenders get away with it for so long is that everyone close enough to get some hints cannot process it without their psyches exploding. It is very hard to believe we can be so wrong about a person. The kids also often feel a little complicit so even when it goes past the point of wanted attention/affection they don't talk.


I would suggest everyone respect the process here - both the innocent before guilty part and "I liked him so he can't have done it".

Parents - the district will be sending out much needed guidelines on how to talk to kids about this. It is important that a kid feels the answer could be yes or could be no. The one thing I would criticize about handling is this should have been done first, before mass email to district.


18 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 15, 2016 at 11:33 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

I hope justice is served. I recall the Palo Alto nursery school teacher who was exonerated after the Palo Alto police "irrefutable evidence" turned out to be false. Of course that teacher's reputation was smeared all over the place and I wonder if he ever recovered. On the other hand bad things like the allegations do happen and it is awful if true.
It too early to conclude anything.


78 people like this
Posted by Midtown Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 11:41 am

Midtown Citizen is a registered user.

I'm more than a little taken aback by people writing in support of Airo. While I understand your desire to support a person who you strongly believe to have had positive influence on your child's life, you need to reserve judgment in favor of Airo every bit as much as those with the opposite reaction need to reserve their condemnation of the man until the allegations can be corroborated or demonstrated to be false.

My gut reaction is that I do not see the benefit to the victim or her family (particularly her mother, who comes out of this looking really bad) to make this up out of whole cloth. Anything short of a complete fabrication renders Airo unsuitable to be working with children. I am surprised McGee reacted by instituting termination procedures and sending out the letter, particularly given the recent experience with the Paly teacher. I'm assuming he may be privy to non-public information (either from the police or through the PAUSD's own investigation) that convinced him of Airo's guilt as well as the legal consequences of publicly terminating Airo the way he did.


8 people like this
Posted by Chaya
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Chaya is a registered user.

It just gets "curioser and curioser"! Hope the truth prevails...


27 people like this
Posted by southville
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

southville is a registered user.

Was Mike teaching during the week between the arrest warrant and self-surrender?


57 people like this
Posted by Shoes
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 1:37 pm

Shoes is a registered user.

I am quite shocked to come across this article; and frankly even more shocked to read through the community's comments. Two things come to mind; for those who want to support Airo; do so in your own ways. Contact him, his family [portion removed], his friends to show your support. Do it privately. This case is resonating through the community with two sides. It is human nature to sit and judge but if you wish to do so, please do it privately and not in a public forum. This is not a place to support/judge Airo and the girl.

It is unfortunate in a case like this that the girl will not be identified therefore harder for the public and the community to publicly support or condemn her.

Airo will have his day in court; his lawyer is the one responsible for defending him to the community. The community's responsibility is not to publicly support or condemn all parties involved.

It is saddenig; I truly hope there are no more victims that he may have violated out there but if there are, this public forum is not reflecting on a community that would be supportive or kind to those who do speak out against him.

Please remember that many other popular figures (ie, Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Catholic priests, etc), were figures in their community and quite frankly to many that were in their "inner circle," the accusations were shocking and many people were in disbelief.

Please keep Palo Alto a community where the accused have a fair shot at a trial and those who have been wronged have a safe haven to find justice without worrying about being victim-shamed or condemned.



106 people like this
Posted by Town Square Moderator
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Town Square Moderator is a registered user.

Moderator's Note: The following comment is being moved here from a separate topic so all comments are together.

----

I was fondled, forcibly kissed, physically restrained, and molested 5 times by 5 men in different circumstances from the ages of 10-14. I had one thing in common with this case: a mother with issues of her own who was unable to see what was going on. After the first molestation, I'm sure I radiated a sense of insecurity and vulnerability that drew pedophiles and abusers to me, and I was already traumatized and terrified of male strangers. If I had the misfortune to get isolated with one with bad intent, I was an easy victim: I froze in fear.

I am horrified by the vigorous public support some school parents are unquestioningly giving the teacher. If it is undisputed that he moved in with a student's mother and had an unaffectionate relationship with the mom while publicly holding hands with the child (irrespective of the other allegations), his judgement about appropriate boundaries renders him questionable as a teacher. Any teacher in the current era who is not acutely aware of, and avoiding the appearance of, inappropriate physical touching of a child is not fit to work with children. It's unfortunate that this reduces the degree to which teachers can support their students, but those are the rules, and the rules are there to PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL TRAUMA.

Boys and girls are prevented from developing healthy self-concepts (self-identity, mind-body connection, self-worth, independence, self-confidence, etc.) when they are taken advantage of and used by adults (or older children/teens) who are only able to think of their own excitement and pleasure at the use of a child's body for the adult's lust or obsession. Molestation is a theft, a violation, a burglary, an invasion. It causes deep harm that is very difficult to cure. A molested child will never have the security or freedom of being able to unquestioningly trust others, because their psyche has been rewired to blame themselves for any bad outcome. Such a child may always question and doubt their parents' love, their value as a person, their ability to be recognized for any value other than someone else's use of their body. The cost to the child and the adult that child grows into is incalculable.

It doesn't matter in the slightest how many students this teacher has helped if he has damaged one child in this way. It is unseemly for parents to shout out their support for the teacher when the uncontested facts are so clearly in violation of a teacher's requirement not to harm children: he moved in with a student's parent and gave the child physical attention he did not give his adult partner -- he created a domestic situation where the child was put into competition with her mother. It was reported that another parent had previously noticed and complained about this teacher's inappropriate focus on that parent's child as well as the child in this case. He appears to have crossed boundaries in ways that his profession forbids.

Do try to put yourself in an empathetic perspective: even if this teacher was great for your student, does that at all balance the damage he's done to another student? Try to understand the damage you may be participating in by demonstrating that the person with more power will be publicly supported over the young victim. If you absolutely have to tell the teacher you support him, do it privately instead of shouting in public. Try to understand that those molested as children have huge obstacles to overcome and do not make these issues public without great courage and at personal cost. There are too many clues here for unquestioning support of the teacher; if your support for the teacher could compound the impact he's had, temper it.


63 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:45 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

I am posting to make a few points, starting with the observation that this is as serious as it gets. [Portion removed.]

1. According to this story, the police began their investigation in May 2014, more than 18 months ago. As part of that investigation they interviewed Ohlone principal Nicki Smith. So here are the important questions that the Weekly should put to McGee and Smith:

A. When was Smith interviewed by the police;
B. When did Smith alert the district, if ever, that the police interviewed her in connection with a criminal investigation of a teacher;

2. The story says that the fingerprint check went to the DOJ and the DOJ eventually sent the booking form to the district. But the warrant was issued more than week prior to the district being notified. [Did] the PAPD notify the district when it had the warrant? And why was he permitted to self-surrender a week after issuance of the warrant during which time he remained in the classroom and around children?

3. The story states that Airo was dismissed from his position at PACCC onsite daycare but then he before "left the daycare program following a complaint filed by another parent, Doe's half-sister told police. (Police later interviewed this parent, who said she filed it because he was "overly involved" with her daughter and with Doe and "ignoring other children.")."

[Portion removed.]

4. If [portion removed] Nicki Smith failed to inform the district that a teacher was under investigation by the police, should she be terminated? I think so. In fact, I think McGee should put her on leave pending the outcome of that investigation. [Portion removed.]

5. If [portion removed] Scott Bowers failed to check references that would have revealed this situation long ago, should he be terminated? I think so. If Scott Bowers was informed by PACCC of the allegations but hired Airo anyway [portion removed], he should not only be fired, he should be reported to the credentialing commission for malfeasance himself. McGee should investigate this matter and place Bowers on leave pending the outcome of that investigation.

6. The district needs an anti-grooming policy. Scott Bowers is the same official who failed to understand the significance of grooming allegations against Kevin Sharp and perhaps he has now done it again. The district needs help.

[Portion removed.]


124 people like this
Posted by southville
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

southville is a registered user.

I want to make it clear that I am not typically your hysterical parent. In this case, however, I am stunned at how far the balance went to protect a reputation rather than kids.

I was sitting on the fence until the details were released. Everything about this is classic textbook for a certain profile of abuser - a type that is very charismatic and typically has many victims and does not get caught for decades. While it is not proof of guilt, it puts the case into a high risk basket.

Given the specifics, you have to actually talk to kids to find out if anything was going on. You cannot get any comfort from a lack of reports or general popularity. I won't go into any details, but there is no doubt in my mind that our family should have been contacted by the police in the investigation.

I like Mike, but I like kids more.


63 people like this
Posted by Condor1
a resident of another community
on Jan 16, 2016 at 11:54 am

Condor1 is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] I understand the horror and sickness many parents and children must be experiencing and my heart goes out to them fully, that said I would very much encourage ALL parents to really employ some critical thinking when assessing what makes a proper educator. Behaving like, and creating your entire classroom like you yourself are a child is unsettling. Basing your assessments of a teacher on whether or not student likes them is irresponsible, people who commit crimes like this often wouldn't have the opportunity to do so if children didn't like him. Now this is not a defined statement saying that he did it, but maybe some of you supporters should have been looking at him different. God bless all involved, it's a hideous mess.


44 people like this
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 3:49 pm

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

Hug your kids and keep them safe and especially OUT from under any circumstance that could cause grief and regret for the next 40-50 years.
Andre Edwards was convicted of sick stuff at Ralston Middle School also. If any of you saw the Patch article about Andre Edwards 2-3 years ago you would remember all the outpouring of love and support for Andre Edwards - written in the comment section of those then Patch articles. Mothers galore were supporting this criminal for the mere fact that "he had never done anything to one of their daughters". Now in this case in Palo Alto - the alleged criminal is being supported in the comments section (once again) because "we think he is a fine teacher and my kid likes him".

Here is MY note to those supporting the gross behavior of those trusted to protect kids - BUT - in stead - take advantage of them: Wake UP. These-types of people don't give out warning signs to those parents of kids that are NOT vulnerable - they prey on others all the time functioning within their current job.

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