Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sex Ed

You think they'd lose their charter?

Bet you they don't.

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Sex Scandals May Cost Helix High Its Charter

Grossmont Union High School District Governing Board President Larry Urdahl still can't believe that four Helix High School teachers violated students' trust by allegedly engaging in inappropriate relationships with them.

That's why the board wants the charter school to give them evidence it's curing these types of problems."This is not about the Grossmont Union High School District, it's not about the adults, it's about the safety of kids, and that is one of our prime concerns," superintendent Bob Collins said.

Specifically, the Grossmont Board is demanding Helix's governing Board address the four cases of misconduct, training planned or already provided, changes to employee and student oversight and supervision to prevent inappropriate relationships between staff members and students."We are going to fulfill our oversight responsibilities and we are going to ensure that Helix High School is a safe place for kids," district vice president Dick Hoy said.

Four teachers have been accused of sex-related crimes involving students since late 2006. In December 2006, former music teacher Frank Palumbo was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old female student and was sentenced to five years probation.Earlier this year, ex-band director Jessica Kahal got three years probation after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 17-year-old male student.

In May, geography teacher Garry Wilcox was arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old female student. He pleaded guilty and has a July 22 trial date. Finally, business teacher Jeff Wenham resigned after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with the same student allegedly involved with Wilcox. Wenham has not been arrested nor charged with any crime, and his case in being reviewed by the district attorney's office."We're in hopes that the investigation we've asked will bring this matter to conclusion so we can safely say to the community your kids are safe in our school," Urdahl said.

We tried to contact Helix High School Principal Dr. Douglas Smith to get reaction from him to the board's demands, but he did not return our messages.