School Board Set Appeal Date for Peterson-Crawford Matter; Issues Strong Rebuke

Board Member Gina Daleiden (left) lays out board procedure at February 20 meeting as Sheila Allen (far left), Tim Taylor (right) and Nancy Peterson (far right) look on.

The Davis Joint Unified School District Board was nearly an hour late coming out of closed session.  When they finally did emerge, Board President Gina Daleiden announced that the board had agreed to hear the appeal in the administrative decision not to renew volleyball coach Julie Crawford’s VSA (variable service agreement) at their March 13 meeting – pushing that matter back by a week.

Four members met in closed session, with Nancy Peterson once again recusing herself as the matter involves a complaint filed by her husband Rob Peterson that Coach Crawford retaliated against their daughter in cutting her from the volleyball team last fall.

“The board has set the hearing date for the Crawford-Peterson complaint for March 13 in accordance with district policy on formal complaints/appeals,” she said.

It was at this point that the board issued its most strongly-worded statement to date on this matter.  Board President Daleiden stated, “However, the board strongly and unanimously urges the Peterson-Crawford parties to enter into mediation to settle this conflict.”

“We want to state in the clearest terms that we want our district removed as the battlefield,” she said.  “DJUSD needs our resources, our focus, and our energy moving forward in educating our students.”

“The board encourages both of the parties to seek professional mediation on this matter so that there can be some healing in this painful process and so that the district can get back to the business of serving the kids,” she concluded.

The statement more forcefully builds on their statement from two weeks ago in which they urged the parties to work out their differences: “The Board encourages the parties to come together to find a reasonable resolution that is in the best interest of the students and the School District.”

As the Vanguard has reported, the immediate conflict seemed to have been escalated last July when Nancy Peterson was the lone dissenting vote in a 3-1 vote to reinstate Julie Crawford as coach.  She escalated it not only in this dissenting vote, but in her comment, “My vote reflects nothing more than my continued pursuit of ideals centered on children. I cannot in good conscience vote to approve Ms. Crawford as a coach for young adults.”

Despite this comment, she and her husband would send their daughter, a senior, back to the team where Ms. Crawford, for reasons still unknown to the public, would cut her.

Mr. Peterson would file a complaint, as he stated last week: “My issue was a disagreement between this coach and her friend the previous coach and my wife at whatever level became simple retaliation.”

In a move that angered the public, the district would hire an independent investigation, with Alexander Sperry the lead investigator into a 99.3 hour investigation that cost the district $22,000 and produced a 72-page report.

Board President Gina Daleiden explained to the Vanguard, “Generally speaking, you might imagine that when an investigation involves a Board Member or a top administrator, it really needs to be done by someone outside the DO [district office] rather than internally. The nature of the complaint might also necessitate an outside person or an attorney/professional investigator.”

The 72-page report concluded that, by the preponderance of the evidence, the decision was at least partially influenced by Ms. Crawford’s relationship with Nancy Peterson.

The Enterprise reported it “has obtained a letter from Best summarizing attorney Alex Sperry’s investigation and which describes the violation of board policy that may have cost Crawford her coaching job.”

The paper added, “The investigation was triggered by a Sept. 3 complaint filed by longtime Blue Devil volunteer sports doctor Rob Peterson, Nancy’s husband and Ms. Peterson’s father, after Ms. Peterson was cut from the volleyball team.”

Further, the investigator concluded that “more likely than not, Coach Crawford’s decision to cut (Ms.) Peterson from the varsity volleyball team was influenced, at least in part, by Coach Crawford’s feelings about Nancy Peterson.”

Robert Peterson claims that, though we have not seen them, there are emails and threats and other evidence to substantiate the complaints.

Others have suggested that the “more likely than not” standard along with the language, “influenced at least in part” is relatively a weak finding.  The question that the board will have to decide is whether “the Administration’s conclusions are supported by a preponderance of evidence and whether the administrative remedy is appropriate to the conclusions.”

Adding to the intrigue was the decision by the district, whether it was the athletic director, HR Director Matt Best, or Superintendent Winfred Roberson, to delay their decision from the November conclusion of the investigation until a few weeks ago, literally on the eve of the beginning of the volleyball season.

According to accounts, Crawford was informed by High School Principal Will Brown that her service agreement had been pulled at the district level at the January 23 board meeting.

Parents reacted angrily to a letter from the school district less than 24 hours before scheduled tryouts.

The letter addressed to “boys volleyball families” said, “While we are looking forward to another great season of DSHS Boys Volleyball we have yet to identify a coaching staff for the 2014 season. As a result, we have posted these coaching positions and will be reviewing applications as they arrive.”

It continued, “In the meantime, practices will be canceled until a coaching staff is identified. If you know anyone with Volleyball coaching or playing experience that may be interested in coaching the DHS Boys Volleyball team this season please have them contact me directly. Our goal is to identify qualified coaches and get the season started as soon as possible.”

The board has not directly answered this question, and on Tuesday Gina Daleiden stated, “The Board entered this particular complaint/appeals case on Feb 13, when the Board granted the request for a hearing to appeal.  We will know further details as we go through the process.  The general timeline for complaints/appeals is detailed in the AR’s.”

Earlier she told the Vanguard that she had not yet read the 72-page investigator’s report.

Board President Gina Daleiden told the Vanguard, in addressing additional questions, that since “the School Board is now acting in a quasi-judicial role in a current appeal process, we each have to maintain impartiality until the conclusion. This means I cannot answer specific questions about my opinions related to the matter.”

She added, “The Board does desire to be as transparent as possible.  In order to follow through with our role in the appeal, however, we must protect impartiality.”

One of the key questions is whether Nancy Peterson should have recused herself from weighing in on the issue of a volleyball coach with which she had not just a relationship with as a board member, but who was her daughter’s coach.

We asked Ms. Daleiden, “At what point should a board member recuse?”

Ms. Daleiden responded, “Government code prohibits voting on matters in which the member (or  spouse or dependent children, business, or source of income) has a direct financial or real property interest.  In these cases, the member must, by law, recuse his/herself from the vote. “

Since that clearly does not apply in this case, she added, “Absent these financial conflicts, elected officials must exercise their own judgment in deciding whether or not they can be impartial.”

However, she continued, “I understand the standard for these ‘personal conflicts’ commonly used to be that if an individual feels they cannot consider a matter in an impartial manner (a personal rather than financial conflict), they should choose recusal.”

She noted, “This is not defined by law, but rather left to individual judgment.  And it is not automatic.  Applied to DJUSD, it would not necessarily be dependent on whether or not a member has a child in a program, class, or activity.  It would be dependent on whether or not there is a real or perceived ‘personal’ conflict of interest in the mind of the member.”

“It is a standard I’ve seen delineated in other public agencies, and would support for addition to our policies if the Board considers revisions to conflict language,” Ms. Daleiden concluded.

At the very least, the board will be looking to tighten their conflict of interest language as a result of this.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. SODA

    Am a little confused. Does the Board think mediation will resolve the appeal, the complaint? What specifically do they hope the outcome will be in terms of the VSA and the District role?

        1. SODA

          My point was that there is more to this whole thing than the disagreement and that has to do with Board ethics, District process and judgment. Mediation isn’t going to solve any of these ‘larger’ issues. Once again I am disappointed in Board leadership.

          1. Tia Will

            While I agree with you that mediation will not resolve the other problems that you note, I do believe that it is a wise suggestion for several reasons.

            First, it might have the benefit of tension reduction between a school board member and a continuing teacher in the community.

            Second, if successful, it could serve as precedent for handling future conflicts in this manner rather than launching expensive and less than definitive investigations.

            Finally, as a modality that is gaining more attention and more credence in a number of areas, adopting mediation as
            a primary rather than “last ditch ” effort in the future could save significantly in terms of finances and personal embarrassment and/or animosity.

          2. SODA

            Agree Tia, and I did not mean that mediation wasn’t a possibly positive way to deal with this, rather to point out that the whole process has identified issues with more than the two parties who are the principals. I think you agree?

      1. iPad Guy

        David, what is your source for this? Who told you that the board wants to rehire Coach Crawford? The formal complaint is a fait accompli, as is the investigation; the board will hear Coach Crawford’s appeal in less than two weeks.

        The board is fully empowered to rehire the coach regardless of any mediation.

        It’s not easy to decide what Ms. Daleiden “obviously wants.” Why not ask her?

        I’d be surprised if she’ll confirm your theory that she wants Coach Crawford to withdraw her appeal, Dr. Peterson to withdraw his complaint, Administrator Roberson to withdraw his decision not to rehire–all before March 13. Somebody obviously would be in denial to have such expectations.

        It’s possible that she is appealing that this fiasco get put behind everyone soon and that Crawford/Peterson mediation at some point would help the community and the district move on.

        The district missed numerous opportunities to facilitate mediation over a year that might have kept a formal complaint off the table–when the public comments were made, when the vote was taken, when the coach wanted to cut the player, when the player was cut, etc. The only effort discussed so far was one meeting that led to filing the official complaint.

          1. iPad Guy

            Thanks…LOL. Have you decided whether my wise pure speculation is better than your wishful pure speculation?

            I am curious what impelled Ms. Daleiden to toss this into the mix at this time. “Why don’t you just get together and agree?” is a lot like “Why don’t you just calm down?” in its ability be an unproductive utterance.

          2. David Greenwald

            Perhaps. The question at some point will be whether the school board decides to censure Peterson and whether the voters decide to remove her.

          3. iPad Guy

            Two separate issues that don’t connect into one question the way you’re trying to.

            If the school board wanted to censure Nancy Peterson for making the inappropriate public comment about her vote last July, they missed the chance. And, she has done nothing since then to raise any board censure consideration. The board isn’t about to throw more gas on this fire in spite of your personal calls for censure.

            On the other hand, Ms. Peterson can’t possibly be considering another term on the board. The daily demonization of the family in The Vanguard should make it clear that there will be no second chances for her, regardless of how the current matter plays out.

      1. PhilColeman

        My interpretation of the Board’s “rebuke” was more in the way of collectively falling on their knees and begging for this disaster to go away, or somebody else step in.

        The Board is in a no-win situation. Whichever way they rule the community impact is vast and lasting. They delayed the appeal another week with the hope that somebody, something, will come rescue them from having to rule on this matter. But it’s far too late for that and the train-wreck is coming.

        Putting myself in the Board’s quandary, I foresee only one possible ruling for them to take. This case is hugely flawed on process far more than substance. It’s there that the Board is compelled to take the only mildly lesser of two evils.

        Good will eventually come of this. There will be fundamental changes in current Board policy. We’ll no longer have a weekly meeting of 5 HR Directors. Instead, we’ll have the Board doing what it’s supposed to do. The Board President correctly described what should do, but now can’t.

        1. growth issue

          If I was Julie Crawford I wouldn’t sit down with the Petersons. Like I said before, I’d be talking to a lawyer. Why at this stage would Crawford want to give anyone the easy way out?

          1. Tia Will

            Maybe because it is the “grown up” non adversarial approach ?

            Maybe she could be the first to accept that the consequences of all of this are playing out against those most vulnerable, the kids, and that everything isn’t about her or the Peterson adults ?

            Maybe because causing more expense and public dissension regarding the school board is essentially a very selfish act on all of the involved adult parties parts and it would take someone big to step up and say, ok, none of us are blameless. Let’s settle this ?

            Just a few thoughts about why she might do that.

          2. Tia Will

            It depends. Let’s suppose that I reached out to the other side and got the response…” yeah, this is really crazy. Let’s see what we can do to put this behind us” then probably not. If I got a response that indicated that they were going to play hard ball in negotiation, then maybe.

        2. iPad Guy

          “This case is hugely flawed on process far more than substance.”

          Flawed process, indeed. But, as far as I’ve seen, everyone has followed the process. So, tossing something out on some kind of process technicality doesn’t seem to be an option. The process needs significant changes, but the board is stuck with the train wreck:

          1. By ignoring the complaint investigation and Superintendent Roberson’s decisions, the board says they don’t care about how coaches treat student athletes, that they micro-manage small personnel decisions, that they don’t trust the administration they’ve put in place to make such decisions and that they succumb loud public pressure. And on and on.

          2. By accepting the investigation and decisions, the board says they buckle under to parent complaints, that they aren’t responsive to those who elected them, that they put district leadership over the rank and file, that they don’t trust coaches to make decisions about who plays on their teams. And on and on.

          I agree with everything you’ve pointed out here…except that someplace under the pile of manure, there’s the pony of a lesser of the evils.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Not to be too picky, but since they are spending our tax dollars, could we get an update on the legal tab since the original number came out? They could have added $2,000, or $20,000, to the tab.

    1. SouthofDavis

      I’m wondering why the board didn’t “strongly and unanimously urge the Peterson-Crawford parties to enter into mediation to settle this conflict” BEFORE they paid $22K to “investigate” things (and run up who knows more money in additional legal fees). Any idea who is going to pay for the mediator?

        1. iPad Guy

          How do you know this to be true? I would hope the superintendent and school board president would be in closer communication.

          I agree with SouthofDavis’ main point, that the district should have sprung for some kind of serious mediation sometime before spending big bucks on an investigation.

  2. growth issue

    “Others have suggested that the “more likely than not” standard along with the language, “influenced at least in part” is relatively a weak finding.”

    So what is it? Just the other day you stated that in legal speak those terms are considered strong language.

  3. Conroy

    So Nancy Peterson can’t, in good conscience, have Julie Crawford as a coach for young adults, but is totally cool with Julie as a DHS PE teacher of young adults?

    1. darelldd

      Right! I’m not sure how many people realize that Julie Crawford is still on DHS staff, and that this is only about the volleyball coaching after school. Her staff position is not being challenged as far as I can tell. All this is ONLY about the volleyball piece of her employment. It was sure a surprise to me. That point is rarely (ever?) made clear in articles about the situation.

      1. Michelle Millet

        From my piece earlier this month:

        Coaches positions are not tenured, so while Crawford is a full time PE teacher at the high school, she must reapply for her position as head coach of both the girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams separately each season.

        1. Michelle Millet

          As an interesting side note, it is policy for the district to give preference to it’s employees when hiring coaches, even if the other applicants are more qualified. As long as a district employee met basic coaching qualifications criteria they would be given the job over someone applying from outside the district.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            Really? Wow. Where is that posted or noted? But it could make sense… continuity… familiarity.

          2. iPad Guy

            Interesting, if true. Where did you find such a district policy?

            It would seem the district would want to hire the best-qualified coaches over those who just meet “basic criteria.” Especially, since salary is the same.

          3. Michelle Millet


            Education Code 44919 (b) Governing boards shall classify as temporary employees persons, other than substitute employees, who are employed to serve in a limited assignment supervising athletic activities of pupils;provided, such assignment shall first be made available to teachers presently employed by the district. Service pursuant to this subdivision shall not be included in computing the service required as a prerequisite to attainment of, or eligibility to, classification as a permanent employee of a school district.

        2. Conroy

          The point is that Nancy believes in her heart of hearts that Julie should not be a coach of young adults, but Nancy has nothing to say about Julie being the teacher of young adults. It strikes me that if someone shouldnt be a coach for young adults, they shouldnt be a teacher of young adults… especially a PE teacher who probably has those young adults playing volleyball.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            The Peterson’s claiming that Coach Crawford was “incompetent” to coach volleyball was another indication that they seem to be irrational in this instance.

  4. wdf1

    Vanguard: “…decision from the November conclusion of the investigation until a few weeks ago, literally on the eve of the beginning of the volleyball season.”

    Where does this conclusion come from, that the investigation wrapped up in November?

  5. Mr.Toad

    This was an obvious signal from the board to the Peterson’s to fold and stop this madness before more damage is done to the school district by forcing the board to make a judgement.

    The part that has gone unnoticed is the most damaging aspect of this sordid affair, the overall damage done to the entire school community by accusations that a teacher retaliated against a student because of animus toward a parent. I have heard more than one parent express concern about this accusation. It is an accusation that drives a wedge between parents and teachers and sows mistrust among the entire community by an overzealous school board member.

    In Davis where teachers are rightfully wary of overprotective parents, and where overprotective parents are equally mistrustful of teachers, this incident threw gasoline on and lit a bonfire of distrust that won’t even begin to heal until after this story plays out. That it is going to take at least two more weeks to settle only lets this mistrust continue to fester.

    Proceeding in a casual, business as usual manner, hoping this case will be resolved by mediation was a mistake by a board that wishes it will go away. Perhaps it will but the damage that the Peterson’s have caused to the relationship between the stakeholders of the district will be with us for a long time barring some sort of mea culpa by the Peterson’s. Something I doubt will be forthcoming.

    1. SouthofDavis

      Toad wrote:

      > The part that has gone unnoticed is the most damaging
      > aspect of this sordid affair, the overall damage done to
      > the entire school community

      I was just talking to an older Davis resident (who went to Davis High when it was in the City Hall) whose kids graduated from Davis High ~30 years ago (and now live in Sacramento, Elk Grove & Fairfield).

      Like most older Davis residents (that may or may not actually pay it) he voted for the last few school parcel taxes, but after he read about the $20K “investigation” last week he said “F them” (actual quote) “I am never voting for a another penny for the schools.” (and then he went on a rant about how people like Nancy and Dr. Peterson have “ruined” Davis)…

        1. DT Businessman

          The proper remedy for a failure in leadership is to compound the harm by taking action against the organization? I think not.

          I cannot support this thinking/position at all. The proper remedy is to correct the leadership issue in order to improve the organization. Please keep in mind, we are talking about the education of the next generations, which is critically needed to sustain our community.

          -Michael Bisch

          1. growth issue

            And it’s that mindset that the school board and our city relies on to keep the tax dollars flowing even when they throw away our hard earned money. If we always come through with more taxes this type of behaviour will never end. It’s time to send a message.

          2. Matt Williams

            G.I., another step could be a “growth issue for Davis School Board campaign in November. Sheila’s seat will be vacant, and it is reported that the two other incumbents will also not be running for reelection.

          3. Matt Williams

            Yes they do let El Macero voters out of their cages for DJUSD elections. I would gladly vote for you.

          4. SouthofDavis

            DT Businessman wrote:

            > The proper remedy for a failure in leadership is to compound
            > the harm by taking action against the organization? I think not

            If the “organization” does not take action (and keeps spending more and more of the parcel taxes people want spent on the kids on reports and legal fees) the people have no choice but to “take action against the organization”…

            P.S. If a commercial real estate firm has a leasing broker that was working to fire a top performing retail clerk they didn’t like (resulting in tens of thousands of ongoing legal costs with no end in sight) should the owner of the building just suck it up take the abuse from the broker that wants the person he does not like gone (and keep paying the legal bills) or “take action against the organization”?

      1. Matt Williams

        Sentiment like his is going to present a challenge for the City’s June Sales Tax measure and the City’s likely November Parcel/Parks Tax measure.

        I was speaking with one of the Council candidates last night about the pervasive level of mistrust that currently exists in Davis. In the past few months the School Board, the City and the Co-Op have all added fuel to that mistrust/distrust fire. Re-establishing trust in Davis may prove to be the most important theme/issue in both the June Council election and the November School Board election.

  6. DT Businessman

    However, she continued, “I understand the standard for these ‘personal conflicts’ commonly used to be that if an individual feels they cannot consider a matter in an impartial manner (a personal rather than financial conflict), they should choose recusal.”

    Ms. Daleiden has this only half right. Proper governance and ethics requires the other board members, should they have knowledge of the potential conflict, to confront the conflicted board member about the conflict should said individual fail to raise the potential conflict themselves. It would go something like this, “Nancy, before we get any further into this matter, do you have something to share with the board?” Sure, it’s uncomfortable to call a colleague out in public, but that’s the nature of leadership. I’m curious why Ms. Daleiden failed to address the 2nd half of the standard.

    -Michael Bisch

      1. hpierce

        I believe DT’s main point remains… I always watch a friend’s “6”, and advise them if I think they might incur a self-inflicted injury. But that’s probably just me.

  7. DT Businessman

    Board President Daleiden stated, “However, the board strongly and unanimously urges the Peterson-Crawford parties to enter into mediation to settle this conflict.”

    “We want to state in the clearest terms that we want our district removed as the battlefield,” she said.

    “DJUSD needs our resources, our focus, and our energy moving forward in educating our students.”

    “The board encourages both of the parties to seek professional mediation on this matter so that there can be some healing in this painful process and so that the district can get back to the business of serving the kids,” she concluded.

    This is a very curious set of comments. The comments would have made more sense had the board not been an actor in the matter to date. But the opposite is true. Their actions in February of last year and again in July helped create the battlefield, indeed, were part of the battle. The board on both occasions should have urged Peterson to recuse herself, refrain from making the district the battlefield, and to seek professional mediation.

    The board is now acting as if they had no previous role in the controversy and are just now engaging for the first time. I’d be curious to hear their reasoning supporting this current position at odds with their previous actions.

    -Michael Bisch

  8. TrueBlueDevil

    1. I find it highly ironic that the Petersons continue to be aggressors and provocateurs in their attempts to be Judge and Jury; but when there is blow back, they then retreat to playing Victim.

    2. A friend forwarded me this insight. What kind of players did Coach Crawford pick for the 2013 team?

    It appears that 2 VERY talented young Club players (where the talent is supposedly better) came out for the girls team. These two FRESHMEN played a big role on the volleyball team. I couldn’t find statistics for the 2013 team on Maxpreps, but Davis Enterprise articles continually praise the play of these two young ladies! One of these players played the same position as Miss Peterson. So this makes perfect sense – as the team continued to do well, the Blue Devils and Coach Crawford attracted better players. (Yet in the prior year, Miss Peterson’s production went down.)

    Quotes from the Enterprise on this new Outside Hitter: “Freshman *player* bolstered that score with a trio of aces”; “…but a resurgence of *Freshman Player* kills”; “*freshman player*, who tallied nine kills and five digs in all, once more led the Davis attack force.”

    Note: I substituted *Freshman player* in place of the players name.

    3. On top of one player’s performance going down and 2 new talented players blossoming, if reports are true, a meddling Mrs. Peterson and a disrespectful reserve player make the coach’s decision a no brainer.

    4. Whichever way this ends … will Mrs. Peterson then pull the VSA for Coach Crawford’s girls volleyball assignment?

    5. Apparently having lost in the court of public opinion, Mr. Peterson relies on outlandish claims such as Coach of the Year Julie Peterson being “incompetent”. (Part of his Complaint to the DJUSD.)

    6. With a Freedom of Information Act request, can we find out how many school district, staff, and city hours were spent on this “pissing match”. (Bob Dunning)

      1. SouthofDavis

        hpierce wrote:

        > Can we keep the student and her performance out of this conversation? I hope so.

        It looks like most people are working to keep the name of Nancy’s daughter (and other kids) out of the conversation, but when the Petersons keep saying the “only” reason that “worst coach ever” cur their daughter who was “top player” it is important to point out that a “top performing coach of the year” cut their daughter who was a “reserve player” (and probably not as good as the high performing young players that replaced her and got a lot of positive press last season)…

        If Nancy’s daughter had letters from Stanford, UCLA and Penn State who all wanted her to play for them next year things would look better for Nancy and bad for Coach Crawford, but since that is not the case it is important for the truth to come out (unless you want to hide the truth to make things look better for Nancy and bad for Coach Crawford)…

        1. hpierce

          Trust me… I have no dog in this fight… I am concerned about the minor child.

          I have insufficient information to know what I would do, if I was on the board, but from what I have heard, substantiated or not, it would not be Crawford who would lose their position.

    1. Matt Williams

      TrueBlueDevil, I have asked this question before, and re-ask it again now, “Why do you post anonymously?” You share facts that for the most part stand on their own. Unfortunately, by posting them anonymously you undercut their objectivity, and even their believability. Wouldn’t it be better to follow in the footsteps of Coach Choate, and post using a real name? Do you fear reprisals?

      1. SouthofDavis

        Matt wrote:

        > TrueBlueDevil, I have asked this question before, and re-ask it
        > again now, “Why do you post anonymously?”

        I don’t want to answer for TrueBlueDevil but as I’ve said before I would rather have the mob mad at me than a California union (and I sure would not want to have Nancy trying to mess with me as Frankly found out is not something that is out of the question in this town).

        If anyone wants to read the article TrueBlueDevil mentioned I was able to find it with a Google search:

        I appreciate that TrueBlueDevil is reminding people (who unlike me are not beat in tennis and golf by young people all the time) that it is possible to have a “Varsity” team made up of the best players in a school without a single “Senior”…

        1. Matt Williams

          SoD, I fully understand your point and Frankly is living proof that blowback does occur. However, I do believe there is a middle course that TrueBlueDevil could follow. Specifically, have two login IDs, one with the pseudonym and the other with a “live person” identifier. When the information being shared is objective, post it with the “live person” screen name. When the information strays toward incendiary, then post it as TrueBlueDevil.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        I am everybody, and I am nobody. I am Joe or Jane Citizen. So whether I was Ted in West Davis, or Bess in Woodland, is irrelevant. I am not an elected official, and I don’t hold a public position. I don’t personally know a single dog in this fight.

        The facts I present can be verified. You can agree or disagree with my logic, which I think is usually fairly sound.

        I think that one-year in when Nancy Peterson tells our whole town to CALM DOWN, and Dr. Rob Peterson goes on a rant at a public venue, we can all imagine how these two highly educated people act **behind closed doors**. I think that is no stretch. Especially when they have a high school PE teacher in their sights.

        I think Nancy Peterson needs a job or several hobbies that don’t involve her children.

        I have also chosen to not use players names (some are 18, some aren’t), which I think some might find the cautious and correct thing to do, even though the names are publicly available to all. But I think we can still present relevant, objective facts, especially if we think this has turned into a small-town one-year witch hunt.

        These new facts add further objective support that Coach Crawford chose superior younger players over a reserve player who may have hit a plateau, and who brought a freight train worth of baggage.

        If the 72-page, $22,000 “investigation” does not mention these two new outstanding freshmen players, then the quality of said is very telling.

          1. growth issue

            Hey, in TrueBlueDevil’s opinion it’s Practical for him/her to stay anonymous. Leave him/her alone.

          2. Matt Williams

            S/he is very practical too, although occasionally if s/he forgets to lubricate, s/he becomes a bit rusty.

          3. Matt Williams

            I would think the example that you cite would have demonstrated to you that multiple personalities are a very practical way to have your cake and eat it too.

  9. iPad Guy


    A call for mediation is not a rebuke, strong or mild. Here, it’s simply an weird appeal to publicly disconnect the school board from what’s going on in its own chambers.

    I found the initial request for a mediated solution somewhat curious when Board President Daleiden offered it two weeks ago.

    This new, stronger-worded statement is totally incomprehensible.

    What possible purpose is served by asking that Dr. Peterson and Coach Crawford to “seek professional mediation” in an effort to “settle this conflict and get the “district removed as the battlefield”?

    There appear to be two fairly clear-cut decisions facing the board:

    1. Did Coach Crawford violate district policy against retaliation by cutting the student from the team? and

    2. Should the school board overrule Superintendent Roberson’s decision not to rehire Julie Crawford as volleyball coach?

    The first question appears to have be answered by the expensive investigation and puts the board in an awkward situation if it ignores its findings.

    The second question puts the board in an awkward position of doing the superintendent’s job by invalidating a $2,000 at will personnel decision.

    No wonder the school board must rue the day it decided to jump in with both feet on this appeal, especially given the vicious public outpourings.

    Still, answering these two questions actually is doing “the business of serving the kids”–nobody said all life on the school board is supposed fun and games. Making sure student-athletes and coaches are treated fairly serves the kids.

    1. Mr.Toad

      “The first question appears to have be answered by the expensive investigation and puts the board in an awkward situation if it ignores its findings.”

      Not so. First we don’t know what evidence supports that conclusion so it is quite possible that the board will simply reject that opinion.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I have discussed said “investigation” with a top-notch lawyer. Their opinion was that the “investigation” and legal opinion were intermingled (my wording), which causes its own problems. Mr. Geenwald of The Vanguard has also correctly and repeatedly mentioned the power imbalance. I believe the previous volleyball coach filed a Complaint against Nancy Peterson. If so, what was that legal bill? (FOIA)

        Now, in the 12th hour with public opinion against them, Dr. Peterson now claims “smoking gun” emails … which I would have to take in context to what appears, more and more, to be on the verge of bullying by the Peterson’s.

        I’ve seen nothing vicious, but I’ll read your proof thereof.

      2. iPad Guy

        You’re right that we don’t know what we don’t know, and that’s why I said “it appears.”

        It appears that way because the 72 pages contain enough (in the minds of the district administration) to support the carefully worded letter that was sent to the complainant. It appears that way because the DJUSD decided not to rehire Coach Crawford.

        “First we don’t know what evidence supports that conclusion so it is quite possible that the board will simply reject that opinion.”

        Why do you think it’s “quite possible” that the board will “simply reject” all of the administration’s work and the evidence in the $42,000 investigation? We don’t know what supports that conclusion, but the four school board members most certainly will know after studying every page very carefully.

        However, it’ll be awkward for the board regardless what they decide, wouldn’t you agree?

        1. Mr.Toad

          Common sense says there is no smoking gun but there is a history of animus from the Petersons. The administration was put in a bad situation by a board member and acted, perhaps, out of a desire for self preservation. It will be embarrassing for the school board to do what is right and over rule the administration and their lawyers. It will be more embarrassing and more detrimental to the district if they don’t. This is why they asked the Peterson’s to back down last night. by suggesting they find some face saving way to extricate the district from this debacle.

          1. iPad Guy

            What “common sense” says there’s nothing in the investigation report that supports the formal complaint?

          2. Mr.Toad

            I have spent over two decades in schools as a teacher and I know of no cases where a teacher retaliated against a student because of a parent. It just isn’t done. It makes no sense to do so. If anything you cave into demands to get the parents off your back. Its when a teacher stands up and holds the line and doesn’t give in that it hits the fan. Believe me I have been there and it isn’t fun. Coach Crawford is being put through the ringer because of the Peterson’s. She has stood up and held the line for what she believes is right. Yes i’m reading into what happened but I have been around and know what its like to be a teacher dealing with out of control parents. Coach Crawford is my hero.

          3. iPad Guy

            Thanks for clarifying that it’s really your own experience that leads you to believe there couldn’t be anything incriminating in the secret investigation report.

            It’s great that you’ve never run into a teacher who would retaliate in such a way.

            My own limited, general experience leads me to wait to find out. It’s interesting that so many people have had their minds made up the instant the report first came out.

    2. hpierce

      Wow… the report is not “in evidence”…. if you go by the letter Dr Peterson released. it is “hear-say” (perhaps), i.e. not a primary source… I’m thinking (and have ABSOLUTELY NO TANGIBLE EVIDENCE) that the investigation was ‘at least partially’ directed. “Based on the preponderance” of the lack of first-person evidence.

      1. Conroy

        The report might as well have said, “If we were in Crawford’s shoes, we would have cut the girl from the team out of spite. We believe Crawford’s decision was, in part, out of spite.”

  10. Robin W

    The School Board’s statement is not a rebuke of the Petersons, which is long overdue. It also attempts to bury the multiple serious failures of the district administration in this matter – commissioning a $22,000 “investigation” (which I put in quotation marks because it was done by the district’s law firm so is not an independent investigation), releasing confidential information about the “investigation” to the complainant, not making a decision in a timely matter when the “investigation” was completed in the fall, and dismissing a coach and canceling tryouts and practices on the eve of the volleyball season — not to mention the absurdity of an employee’s behavior being deemed unacceptable in a coach but acceptable enough to allow the employee to continue as a teacher.

    I would like to know what the majority on the School Board is going to do about these administrative screw ups as well as their out-of-control colleague.

  11. TrueBlueDevil

    A few statistics from Maxpreps.

    Year _ Section Rank _ State Rank _ Section Division Rank _ Coach

    2010 ___ 64 ___________ 518 ___________ 24 ___________ Leigh Whitmore

    2011 ___ 27 ___________ 233 ___________ 10 ___________ Julie Crawford

    2012* __ 19 ___________ 185 ___________ 8 ___________ Julie Crawford

    2013** _ 41 ___________ 329 ___________ 13 ___________ Julie Crawford

    * = 4 seniors
    ** = 2 seniors

    The 2013 Lady Blue Devils had 2 freshmen and 3 sophomores, a young and talented team. It also has 8 juniors, so next year could be special.

    1. hpierce

      Hold the phone… (per referenced Emptyprize article) a board member has implied, but not “said” that tires were slashed and windows broken. More “drama queen” behavior, or were police reports filed?

    2. Tia Will

      Regarding the Op Ed :

      I agree that non factual negative comments, threats, and property damage to any individual are completely unacceptable whether or not that individual or a family member has accepted a public position.

      However, when a public accusation has been made that a cut to a team has been done in “retaliation”it is reasonable to not take this at face value, but rather to examine other potential contributing factors such as team/player rankings to determine the validity of that claim. These are statistics available to the public which if favorable to the student, would doubtless be a point of pride to the parent, not something to be hidden.

      I do not believe it is reasonable for a public official, or anyone else to expect that if they take a claim involving a child public, that the public will not comment upon that claim.

    3. iPad Guy

      Wow, stunning. Why wouldn’t Ms. Peterson have continued to stay out of the fray until the school board makes its decision and the public has cooled down a little?

      I can’t imagine that anyone cares at this point why she voted against rehiring Coach Crawford last summer; no one needs assurances that it had nothing to do with playing time.

      The rest of the school board is faced with evaluating Coach Crawford and deciding whether to accept the investigation findings and Superintendent Roberson’s decision not to rehire her.

      The board won’t be considering whether Ms. Peterson’s actions somehow “justified” retaliation or whether Dr. Peterson had a “right” to complain–why even wade in to the public discourse now?

      While the family no doubt is suffering in a number of ways, including the blog battle, an op-ed appeal doesn’t seem likely to be helpful. It certainly won’t change the tone in The Vanguard. This is not a wise decision.

      1. SODA

        I agree with you. In effect, she is stirring the pot further. It is not the same as not recusing herself in a conflicted Board discussion or vote, but somehow seems similar. If the family felt they had to voice their opinion, it would seem more seemly for Rob Peterson to do it.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        They continue to beat a dead horse. Tone deaf.

        Unless there has been a change of heart after the strongly worded admonition (??) from her fellow board members, the slog will continue.

        I can only imagine that the Peterson’s are far worse behind closed doors. “Calm down” is probably Mrs. Peterson at her most polite. At what point do we investigate her continuing behavior?

  12. Mark West

    The School Board failed to act appropriately last year, allowing this fiasco to fester for more than a year. Sheila, Gina, Tim and Susan created this mess by not reining in their colleague’s inappropriate behavior. Now they need to take responsibility and act to correct their mistake, not sit back and hope it all goes away. Their call for mediation is nothing more than a feeble attempt to avoid facing the consequences of their prior decisions and failures to act.

    They should either do their job, or resign.

  13. growth issue

    From reading the comments of Nancy Peterson’s article in the Enterprise she sure didn’t seem to do herself any favors. From everything I can gather Crawford for the most part is just staying quiet and she’s winning big time.

  14. Michelle Millet

    “However, the board strongly and unanimously urges the Peterson-Crawford parties to enter into mediation to settle this conflict.”

    I wish the district had provided professional mediation a little sooner in this process. My guess is the outcome would have been better and the price tag would have been cheaper.

    1. Just Do What's Right

      It would have been nice I agree if the board had helped with mediation earlier. But there are two things to keep in mind.

      — The first is that this was not a Board issue until the appeal was filed. AD & Principal approved the VSA, but Winfred yanked it. So it never came to the Board, so there was no reason for them to be involved.

      — Second is that it takes both parties to do mediation, and the school district can’t force either side to participate.
      My bet is JC wants to try mediation, and NP refuses.

      Maybe we should be asking a whole different question. Why wasn’t the $, time, and resources put into investigating the formal complaint filed last year against NP by former coach Choate? You have a board member being accused of wrong doing, I would think you would want to pull out all stops to show she wasn’t guilty. Instead its swept away. But when the coach who NP has had it out for the past 3 years has a formal complaint filed, all of the sudden we pull out all stops? Seems a little one sided.

      While we are at it, lets not fool ourselves this is not about the kids. This is about a bad board member, behaving badly in a dysfunctional school district where the staff that makes decisions if ham-stringed by fear for their jobs if they upset board members. Fortunately we get to elect 3 board members in the fall, and it will very likely be 4 by the time the dust settles on this mess.

  15. Dave Hart

    At this point we can’t be sure NP or her husband didn’t slash her own tire or smash her own window if their display of judgement is indicative. While I’m as disgusted as can be, I won’t go so far as to vote “No” on school taxes. I do think we need to devise some better method of community vetting of candidates for elected office than the standard stress test of question and answer forums to get at candidates’ underlying character. Don’t know what that would be but what we’re doing ain’t working.

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