Special Commentary: District’s Failure to Conflict Out Board Member at Heart of New Controversy

volleyballThere is nothing worse than attempting to cover a personnel dispute where one side cannot talk and only self-serving pieces of information get out to form, at best, a skewed picture.  This is the case in the once again controversy over Davis High Volleyball Coach Julie Crawford.

Like most of these disputes, we will probably never know what really happened, but we know enough, I think, to see critical problems here with the way things were handled.  The fact that this is happening again only underscores the apparent failure by the school district and school board to fix things last summer.

The message, however, sent by the school board in closed session yesterday begins to send a strong message.  Not only did four board members vote in favor of hearing the appeal, but one board member did not vote – the one who should have gotten out of this far sooner.

“Nancy Peterson was absent because she recused herself from public comment, closed session and voting on this matter,” Gina Daleiden, Board President, told the Vanguard in a statement.  That is too little too late, but it finally acknowledges the inherent conflict that has existed from the start.

The other strong message was the last line: “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.”

The message suggests to us that the board sees this as a personal dispute between a school board member and a coach.

Last summer, after much controversy, the board voted 3-1 to reinstate the coach, with Nancy Peterson being the dissenting vote.  This followed a long string of events in which Ms. Peterson – a board member with a child on the team – took the lead in singling out the coach.

So then, this past summer, allegedly Ms. Crawford would then cut Nancy Peterson’s daughter from the team.

Here is the crux of the problem, because Nancy Peterson meddled in the coaching situation rather than staying out of it and allowing an administrator and potentially her board colleagues to make an impartial determination, so any action by the coach is going to seem retaliatory.  But what if she had legitimate reasons for cutting the board member’s daughter?

It is here where we are teased with a little information, but the Davis Enterprise’s article does a tremendous disservice to Ms. Crawford and the community.  They focus a lot of heat, based on a very limited finding from the investigator, and they fail to fully scrutinize the report.

The Enterprise reported yesterday that “Julie Crawford retaliated against her leading critic, school board member Nancy Peterson, by cutting Peterson’s daughter — a varsity player since she was a sophomore — from the girls roster last summer, a school district investigation concluded.”

But, strangely, the investigation was concluded in November but it was not until February 5 that Ms. Crawford was told her service agreement would not be renewed.  Parents found out about this the day before tryouts were going to begin.  So the timing of this decision does not make a lot of sense.

Next, the Enterprise reports, 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 reports, “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.”

The question was posed, well, who leaked the document to the paper?  The Vanguard learned on Thursday that the parent who filed the complaint is the one who leaked to the paper.  So now you have the husband of a sitting school board member leaking a private personnel document to the newspaper.  Again, unseemly.

But adding further fuel to the fire is the conclusion of the investigator 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.”

That is not exactly a strong finding.  “More likely than not” and the fact that he somehow – and we are not informed as to how or in what way, determined that her decision was “influenced” – a weak term to begin with, watered down further by “at least in part.”

Adding to the drama is the fact that Ms. Crawford believed, up until last week, right before tryouts, that she would be the coach.

The bottom line is this: whether Julie Crawford was in the right or the wrong, the fact that the paper would print a leak that emanated from the girl’s father and the husband of a sitting board member, who herself is right in the middle of the controversy now for a second time, is quite appalling.

The paper did not do the community, Ms. Crawford and even Ms. Peterson any favors by printing any of this.  It sheds very little light on the situation; the investigator’s findings were appallingly thin.

In my view it is Ms. Crawford who is the victim here still.  Last year an anonymous poster suggested that the senior Ms. Peterson was, in fact, the bully in this.

They wrote, “Ms. Crawford has been treated horribly by the board, by the district, and by Ms. Peterson specifically for quite some time now. This was all due to the fact that everyone took Ms. Peterson at her word and never questioned this situation.”

But it is actually worse than that.  By inserting herself into the situation, Ms. Peterson made it impossible for Ms. Crawford to do her job.  It might be easy enough to determine if the cut was warranted, but what if Ms. Peterson had become a detriment to her team?

Moreover, it would seem awfully dumb to get your job back and then vindictively cut your adversary’s child from the team.  She had to know that any decision she made with regard to a cut would have scrutiny and perhaps the full resources of the district brought to bear on her.

But this illustrates exactly why Nancy Peterson should have stayed out of the involvement with the coach at the beginning of all of this. It puts her in a quasi-conflicted position and makes it harder for the coach to do her job without the appearance of retaliation.

Now Ms. Peterson’s teen daughter ends up having her personal life scrutinized in the local media, Ms. Peterson has obviously tacitly acknowledged the problem by finally recusing herself, and the other four members of the school board clearly now see this for it was it is.

My guess is Ms. Crawford will be reinstated and the school board and district need to put a stop to this nonsense.  The district had to re-write its conflict of interest policy when a high level Associate Superintendent used the business office to start up his own business using district personnel to assist him.

The district now must set a similar high bar for school board members’ actions involving personnel that work with their kids.  It is the only way these ugly incidents will not repeat themselves.

—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. Michelle Millet

    he investigation was concluded in November but was not until February 5 that Ms. Crawford was told her service agreement would not be renewed. Parents found out about this the day before tryouts were going to begin. So the timing of this decision does not make a lot of sense.

    One of the many things about this situation that does not make sense.

  2. Just Do What's Right

    Thank you David for a great article with a perspective that sheds light on the real issues here. Ms Crawford is the victim. She would have to be certifiable to retaliate in such a way. She did what was best for the team, knowing that Mrs Peterson would in fact retaliate for her daughter being cut. Sadly our Superintendent fears for his job more than he desires to do whats right. He sent a horrible message to all of DHS coaches by his actions. Now our coaches have to worry that every time a child doesn’t make there team, a parent can complain and they could lose their coaching job. I applaud our AD & Principle for supporting Ms Crawford, to bad their boss doesn’t have the same integrity. I hope that Mrs Peterson will do our community the favor and resign, so that we don’t have to go through with the recall process that is swelling. I would ask all of our community to email the board calling for Ms Crawford’s reinstatement immediately, and Mrs Peterson to resign. This way we can put this awful situation behind us, and know our board will actually have the integrity to do what is right.

    1. hpierce

      In the interest of healing, and moving on, I’d advocate for reinstatement of the coach, and Ms Peterson accepting a formal, public censure from the board. However, if Peterson attempts to vote on the resolution motion, unless she votes affirmatively, I’d lean more towards recall. A public apology is in order, in my opinion.

  3. iPad Guy

    “it would seem awfully dumb to get your job back and then vindictively cut your adversaries child from the team. She had to know that any decision she made with regards to a cut would have scrutiny and perhaps the full resources of the district brought to bear on her.”

    Ain’t that the truth! But, apparently that’s what she did. Letting personal feelings about an adversarial board member inappropriately contribute to her decision is understandable, even if wrong. What’s really dumb and totally beyond understanding is that she didn’t bring along “the full resources of the district” if she had good reason to cut the player.

    “That is not exactly a strong finding. ‘More likely than not’ and the fact that he somehow – and we are not informed as to how or in what way, determined that her decision was ‘influenced’ – a weak term to begin with watered down further by ‘at least in part..”

    Strong enough to lose a responsibility coaching children.

    I supported Coach Crawford when she found herself inappropriately in the crosshairs a board member. But, this time she tossed herself in.

    More likely than not, Nancy Peterson’s decision last year to criticize a coach’s job performance was partly influenced by her children’s experiences as team members. This was as wrong as the coach’s decision was this time around. Board members should let the school administration handle such staff matters.

    The board member learned from last year’s experience; the coach did not. Ms. Peterson did not complain about her daughter being cut, did not follow up with administrators even when investigation showed the coach mishandled to situation and, as you noted, recused herself from all board discussions and action.

    “….’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.’ The message suggests to us that the board sees this as a personal dispute between a school board member and a coach.”

    An intriguing little comment, indeed. A “reasonable resolution” would be to give both the student and the coach another chance to be on the team.

    1. yellow

      iPad guy, you mention that “Ms. Peterson did not complain about her daughter being cut”

      We don’t know that, she could have been complaining during every closed session of every school board meeting and we would have no idea. Obviously her husband filed the complaint about their daughter being cut, we don’t know how much she may have been involved in the initial complaint or any follow-up. We don’t know if she had personal discussions with other board members or the superintendent, principal, athletic director, or anyone else.

      What we do know is that Peterson acted extremely inappropriately, along with the rest of the school board, during the summer of 2013 and since then has kept her mouth shut about the matter in public, probably because of the huge backlash she received last year.

      1. iPad Guy

        I base my conclusion on what has been reported and what has been announced. We don’t know what we don’t know. You can keep agonizing that “we don’t know this and we don’t know that,” but what value is that? No one even has alleged that “what we don’t know” has happened, other than your innuendo.

        I agree that “since (the summer of 2013, Ms. Peterson) has kept her mouth shut about the matter in public….” Maybe your speculation about her motivation is correct. In any case, it’s a good thing.

      1. iPad Guy

        Hmmm, hpierce, you add an interesting set of considerations. So much for the school board’s wishful concept for the parties to come to a “reasonable resolution.” There’s no way to make the student athlete whole: the deed is done.

        It’s up to the board to decide whether the deed was dirty enough (along with other performance matters involved) to support the administration’s decision not to renew the coach’s contract.

        Bite the bullet, school board, and wrap this up.

        1. wdf1

          J.B.: It takes three votes to make something happen on the school board.

          This Thursday there is a school board agenda item on the issue: Link

          A good opportunity to make your views known in public comment or by e-mail if it’s an issue that is important to you.

  4. Michelle Millet

    I don’t know enough to decide which of the adults in this situation is the victim, or if any of them actually are victims.

    With the information available it does not seem Peterson’s actions last year were appropriate. But neither does cutting a student from the team out of spite, if that is indeed what happened.

    If Peterson’s daughter was cut unfairly, as the district report found, then she seems the ultimate victim of the adults in her life behaving badly.

  5. yellow

    As several have pointed out both in this discussion and the last on the same topic, it is not just Nancy Peterson who has failed to act ethically, but the entire school board.

    Based on the timeline, Nancy Peterson had an existing conflict with Julie Crawford prior to becoming a member of the school board. In Spring of 2013 she presented a one-sided complaint to the other 4 board members who took her at her word and they in turn inappropriately decided to not renew Crawford’s contract. Only after there was a public outcry and the other 4 board members decided to listen to a broad range of opinions on the matter, they reversed course but still allowed Peterson to vote on the issue. Obviously Peterson should have recused herself of voting at that time, but none of the other 4 made any comment that she should have done so.

    If they would have acted ethically in the first place and not given in to a personal vendetta by the newest board member, this on-going saga would be non-existent.

    Their previous actions obviously have tainted the current debate and I agree with David (and disagree with iPad Guy) that the presentation of results in the current investigation are not conclusive. “More likely than not” only suggests suspicion and that should not be enough to terminate the VSA given the fact that the Petersons and the school board have muddied the entire issue. At this point, definitive proof should be required and it’s obvious from the wording that none exists.

    By the way, I have no personal attachment to anyone involved in this matter.

    1. iPad Guy

      “…’More likely than not’ only suggests suspicion….”

      By definition, “more likely than not” takes the matter beyond simply suggesting suspicion. Whether it’s enough to justify not renewing her contract is a matter of opinion, however. That the administration and school board repeatedly have messed this up probably is a common belief.

      It’s odd that the board announcement encouraged “the parties to come together to find a reasonable resolution.” It suggests the school board would approve something that provides relief to the coach and the student. Is it possible that such a effort was what held up the final administration decision about renewing her contract?

        1. hpierce

          Interesting question… if “more likely than not” a school board member acted against an employee who he/she felt violated their child’s interests, AND “more likely than not” gave confidential information to their spouse who then put it out in the public realm, what should be the outcome? Guess it depends on the “job description”? Perhaps we should adjust the Board members job description.

          I urge that the coach be reinstated, the board member issue a public AND private apology, and the board member accept a formal, public censure of the member in question.

          Absent that, perhaps two people should lose and/or resign their positions for the benefit of the community, and for the sake of ALL the children affected by this debacle.

          1. Michelle Millet

            I urge that the coach be reinstated.

            Hypothetical question, if under no uncertain terms you knew a coach did cut a player based solely on a dispute with the players parent do you think they should be reinstated.

          2. hpierce

            If I knew in “no uncertain terms” that the coach did what you “hyptothesize” (innuendo?), no, should not be reinstated.

            If I knew in”no uncertain terms” that a board member passed along a confidential document to a spouse, who then passed the document, regarding their child to the media, I would want that person at least censured.

            Am assuming you feel that the coach was treated appropriately, and that the board member should get a “hall pass”. But that may be innuendo as well.

          3. Michelle Millet

            Not at all. It may be they both behaved badly and they both should be censured.

            Ones bad behavior does not exude the others, especially when a potentially innocent student paid the price.

            I don’t understand this idea that only one of them can be in the wrong.

          4. Mark West

            We know that the School Board Member behaved inappropriately when she failed to recuse herself in 2013 during the appeal of the Coach’s firing. The School Board Member knew that she had been the source of the complaints against the Coach that resulted in termination and that her actions were a clear conflict of interest.

            We have no proof that the Coach did anything wrong, just the supposition of a lawyer hired by the district to look into the situation after the fact (without opportunity for rebuttal from the Coach).
            I find it quite telling that we have not heard of anyone who was able to confirm or support the claims against the Coach, other than the School Board Member and her Spouse. There has been no due process for the Coach, just her termination over the objections of her immediate supervisors.

            The fault here lies with the School Board Member.

          5. Michelle Millet

            My only concern would be *IF* Nancy’s daughter was cut from the team solely because of Nancy’s behavior. If that was the case then I would say the fault also lies with a the coach.

          6. iPad Guy

            This time your interesting question is a statement that isn’t accurate. No one has even suggested that the board member “gave confidential information to their spouse who then put it out in the public realm.” Not an interesting question, just innuendo.

            All the reporting indicates that the board member stayed out of the current matter, so why do you call for her formal censure, resignation and apologies?

          7. hpierce

            So, how did the spouse get the information that was leaked to the media? Guess I was jumping to a conclusion that appeared logical.

            And the board member did, by all accounts, participate in a vote from which they should have recused themselves.

            I have no dog in this fight.

          8. iPad Guy

            Logical, hpierce, but inaccurate.

            From The Enterprise:

            “(Rob Peterson’s) complaint triggered the investigation, which was completed around Thanksgiving, when the findings were sent to the district.

            Sperry’s conclusion — which was detailed in a Dec. 17 letter from Best to Rob Peterson — was that ‘more likely than not, Coach Crawford’s decision to cut Emma Peterson from the varsity volleyball team was influenced, at least in part, by Coach Crawford’s feelings about Nancy Peterson’.

            He added that Crawford’s action was in violation of Board Policy 1312.1, which ‘prohibits retaliation against a complainant who brings an oral or written complaint against a district employee’.

            The findings went on to say that ‘Crawford did not display core ethical values of trustworthiness, respect and responsibility set forth in the Athletic Handbook for Coaches’.”

            David reports that Rob Peterson provided a copy of the letter addressed TO HIM to The Enterprise. Also, a logical assumption, but he has secret sources.

          9. hpierce

            Not sure this is the time to keep secrets. Still unclear why such a letter was sent to the parent. Might be missing something

          10. Michelle Millet

            I don’t understand why Mr. Peterson would get a copy of the report? Isn’t it supposed to be confidential.

          11. iPad Guy

            He did not get a copy of the report. He was sent a letter that contained the information that was cited in The Enterprise.

            Was he told more than he should have been? The district might have to justify its action. It has goofed up on this before.

          12. hpierce

            Ok… I get your clarification of letter, vs the report itself. Perhaps my bad on previous assumptions. Still, is the actual report “out there”, and if sl, by whom?

          13. iPad Guy

            Wouldn’t you guess that it’s triple locked up with a dozen TOP SECRET stamps…to be pulled out only in the presence of the employee and her attorney and/or to be considered by the school board (minus one conflicted out member)?

          14. iPad Guy

            The Enterprise doesn’t say where they got the letter. David claims a second-hand secret source says Dr. Peterson gave it to the paper, which would be his right.

            I don’t think I would have agreed to an Enterprise interview. But, it’s hard to put myself in the shoes of a pained father whose suspicions about unfair treatment of my child have been at partly confirmed by a formal investigation.

    2. Michelle Millet

      In Spring of 2013 she presented a one-sided complaint to the other 4 board members who took her at her word and they in turn inappropriately decided to not renew Crawford’s contract.

      Unless I am misunderstanding the situation I do not believe this is what occurred. I was under the impression that Crawford’s VSA was pulled by high school administrators before it went before the school board. I don’t not believe the board ever voted against renewing Crawford’s contract. Does anyone have evidence that suggest otherwise?

          1. Michelle Millet

            But the one over the summer was appears to have been pulled by athletic director at the high school and Matt Best.

          2. Michelle Millet

            From June 27, 2013 Enterprise Article:

            A press release announcing that Crawford “would not be returning as head coach” was sent out Wednesday. Foster told The Enterprise that he and Davis schools personnel chief Matt Best made the decision, but he would not comment on a reason, citing that it was “a confidential personnel matter.”

  6. Elizabeth Bowler

    Whatever the facts of this case, one thing is clear. When dealing with a dispute between individuals of such vast power differentials, as in school board member versus PE teacher, it is necessary to meticulously protect the rights of the person with less power, in this case the teacher. It sounds like this dispute has been handled poorly from the very beginning.

  7. SODA

    As I said yesterday, at minimum this has been handled poorly by the Board and Board leadership in that they allowed Nancy Peterson to be part of last year’s discussion, vote etc. AND apparently NOT supervising the handling by the administration. I agree with the power comment above; this could happen all the time with academic issues (teacher of Board member child VS Board member disagreeing with grades, etc). We want the Board to be in touch with what is happening at the school level (e.g., have children in schools) however policy and especially Board ethics need to prevail.

    1. iPad Guy

      Agree with the dilemma you outline. Board members can’t be recusing themselves because their children are DJUSD students. But, when the issue gets down to a specific teacher’s or coach’s performance appeal, the board and the member herself shouldn’t ignore the potential conflict.

      It’s difficult to weigh how much that failure contributed to the current matter, but the finger-pointing moved from the board member to the coach this time around. And, in both cases, ethics are the issue.

          1. David Greenwald

            That’s a good question. The problem ends up that Ms. Peterson is both a parent here and a member of the school board, and while legally that may not matter, the idea that a member of the school board or her husband would leak a private personnel document is a problem in my mind.

          2. iPad Guy

            This is not an easy comment to follow. What is the “problem” that Ms. Peterson is both a parent and board member if she was not participating in the meetings, the complaint, etc.? What do you mean that “legally that may not matter”? (What might not matter?)

            Are you talking about the letter that was sent from the district to the complainant/father? Are you saying that the school board member leaked anything? Before, you said you had a source that Dr. Peterson had provided the letter to The Enterprise.

            If you read The Enterprise coverage, you know that Dr. Peterson companied that he doesn’t get called for comments and the coverage is one-sided. Call him. Get a copy of the letter for your readers.

            Have you contacted the father?

          3. David Greenwald

            The problem is that her roles are not defined and I think they have a higher burden with regards to personnel records, even if they were legally entitled to them. She has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to the district that a citizen in her position would not have. So she might have legally been able to possess and leak the letter, but probably shouldn’t have.

            “Are you saying that the school board member leaked anything? Before, you said you had a source that Dr. Peterson had provided the letter to The Enterprise. ”

            I’m not distinguishing between Nancy and her husband.

            I have not contacted the father. Nancy did not respond to my texts.

          4. iPad Guy

            “So she might have legally been able to possess and leak the letter, but probably shouldn’t have.”

            And she did not “leak” the letter, did she?

            The board member’s role in the complaint about the daughter being cut HAS been defined in all the reporting so far.

            Everything suggests that she purposely stayed out of the process entirely, from the initial complaint to the meetings and other communications between the father and the district to the board consideration to the Enterprise interview.

            The only way you can hang anything on her is to “not distinguish between her and her husband” and pretend that she did it because he did it.

            It’s just not fair to assign responsibility to her when it’s apparent that she and the board purposely avoided the conflict of the last episode.

            And, why would you be calling her for comment when it’s obvious that she’s not about to get involved?

            Shouldn’t you be calling the person who is involved? I’ll bet you would get at least everything from him that The Enterprise got in spite of the bias you’ve displayed.

          5. Parent

            Nancy Peterson has made numerous complaints over the past 3 years. The only time she has stepped out of it was this last meeting. If you were to read all of the documentation from the start of this you would find that she Baganda with complaints against the former coach as well as the former JV coach…..her complaining is nothing new and anyone dealing with athletics could tell you this if they were not in fear for their job……look what has happened to ms. Crawford….this is why people do not come forward.

      1. Mark West

        I actually doubt that very much. If the Coach had been out of line with her decisions then the Athletic Director and Principal would have indicated so in her reviews and in assessing whether or not she should be rehired. The AD and Principal have approved the Coach’s contract each time and there is no indication that either thought the Coach’s actions were inappropriate.

        The Coach is responsible for all the kids on the team, and there are a wide variety of criteria that are properly used to determine the combination of kids that will make up the best team. One appropriate criteria would be an awareness of potential disruptions to the teams success due to a player’s attitude or even outside influences associated with a player such as the parent’s attitude. The inappropriate actions of a player’s parent can be a legitimate reason to deny the player a place on the team if the coach believes that the parent’s actions would be disruptive to the team as a whole.

        I think it is also worth noting that in team sports, the best players, based on their individual athletic ability, do not always make for the best team.

        1. Michelle Millet

          The inappropriate actions of a player’s parent can be a legitimate reason to deny the player a place on the team if the coach believes that the parent’s actions would be disruptive to the team as a whole.

          If a parents behavior is disruptive they should be held accountable not the player.

  8. parent

    Both times the high school admin (principal and AD) signed VSA. Both times action was taken at district level. There is also a 3rd time during the first part of Nancy petersons term when the volleyball staff VSAs were discussed in the open forum and had to be voted on again with Nancy voting no. This makes a goal of 3 tries on Petersons part to remove the volleyball coach.

    1. Michelle Millet

      I only counted two. She pulled the VSA for the boys coaching position off consent last Feb and voted against it., then she voted over the summer not renew VSA for the girls team. Am I missing one?

  9. iPad Guy

    DAVID: What is this mystery link on The Vanguard’s earlier story?

    Pingback: Volleyball coach fighting for job against school board member whose daughter was cut from the team | Sports Shout

      1. iPad Guy

        No, not spam. It’s some capability that two sites can use with each other’s permission. Your web developer can enlighten more. Now that I’m an IT expert, I can cit and paste this info. for you:

        A pingback is a type of comment that’s created when you link to another blog post where pingbacks are enabled. The best way to think about pingbacks is as remote comments.

        Person A posts something on his blog.
        Person B posts on her own blog, linking to Person A’s post. This automatically sends a pingback to Person A when both have pingback enabled blogs.
        Person A’s blog receives the pingback, then automatically goes to Person B’s post to confirm that the pingback did, in fact, originate there.

        Got it?

      1. iPad Guy

        Thank, wdf1. I wonder how it got embedded into The Vanguard’s page. It isn’t part of anyone’s comment.

        It looks like a rewrite mix of The Enterprise and The Vanguard reports. But, it also incorporates other incorrect (“underclassmen”?) information:

        “A look at the rosters in 2012 and 2013 shows Emma Peterson was one of four underclassmen from last year’s team not to play for the Blue Devils this past fall.”

        Wonder who wrote it and posted it and how it got hooked into David’s site?

        1. Mark West

          ” But, it also incorporates other incorrect (“underclassmen”?) information:

          “A look at the rosters in 2012 and 2013 shows Emma Peterson was one of four underclassmen from last year’s team not to play for the Blue Devils this past fall.”

          How is that information incorrect? There were four non-Senior players on the 2012 team that did not return to play in 2013. The comment is completely accurate.

          1. iPad Guy

            I thought it an incorrect statement because it seems to conflict with The Enterprise report that the student “was the only returning player not to make the 2013 team” (as well as hpierce’s comment that she’s a “graduating senior”).

            Can both the published statements be accurate?

            But, my real question is where did this statement come from and how did it get posted on Yahoo Sports and then into an embedded link on David’s page? He thinks “spam”; I’m more of a suspicious type and think NSA might be involved.

          2. Mark West

            Maxipreps keeps track of the Rosters and Stats of all high school players in the State as a service to the players and college coaches. They list the players on the final rosters, not all who tried out for the team. Several girls were on both rosters and four of the non-Senior girls from 2012 were not on the team in 2013. It may well be that of those four, only one tried out in 2013, which would make both statements accurate.

          3. iPad Guy

            I think I understand that these two statements can live in the same universe.

            Assuming that to be true, one is meaningful and the other is a meaningless attempt to imply that more than one student was in a like situation.

            Only one returning player was cut by the coach. The fact that three others who played a year earlier left town or, for other reasons, did not try out for the team contributes nothing except misdirection to the reporting.

            All the more reason to wonder how this version of the story got into a Yahoo Sports story embedded into The Vanguard site as “spam.”

  10. the original blue devil

    I would like to say thank you for finally shedding some of the truth of what has been going on far too long in this situation. This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to how Julie has been treated by this board member for the last 4 years. There are many people who have been treated poorly (adults and athletes) by this board member and have just had to take the abuse, and attempts to get help have fallen upon deaf ears. When I asked for help (as I have been one of those people) I was told, “we know she does things like this but we can’t do anything about it”. It is so sad the bullying that many have had to endure without any help or recourse.

    My guess is that there was going to be a complaint filed no matter what with regard to the player in question and Julie. Even if she made the team this was not going to stop.

    Lets pretend the player in question had made the team based on average skill level at best and didn’t get to play as much as other players who are potentially better and are underclassmen. A complaint would have been filed that Julie wasn’t playing her out of retaliation. This was a lose-lose situation for Julie from the start.

    It is not acceptable for a coach to ever have to keep a player on their team because they are afraid or worried about retribution by parents, especially if that player does not have the necessary skill level to be apart of that team. It is also not ok to keep a player on your team if that player is a detriment to your entire team. Should Julie have kept this player just because her mother is a board member?

    Lets not forget that coaches are at will employees and they have no protection from a union. Why is there the assumption that Julie just cut this player without first bringing it to the attention of the administration? She in fact she did ask for help with what to do as there were more girls in previous years trying out and specifically more talented girls than ever before. The real problem is, is that nobody could help her. In my opinion, by the site administration approving her for the boy’s season they were showing support of their successful coach in the only way possible. Lets also not forget that a coach has the right to choose their own team as stated in the DHS athletic handbook.

    Would it have been in Julie’s best interest to keep this player? Some may say yes, but I would urge you to think about the day in and day out of what involves being on a team. We already know how horribly this board member has been bullying Julie, she was supposed to endure that at every match and at every practice with a player that has no respect for her as a coach and undermines everything she does. We already know that this board member was nit picking everything that Julie did at practice and matches, how was she supposed to function as a coach to the team with the reality hanging over her head that everything she does will be questioned and ridiculed, and under a microscope?

    Coaches look for athletic ability yes, but they also look for team players, coachable players, respectful players, players that follow the directions, players that have a positive impact on the team, and players that are loyal and supportive to the program. It is unfair to expect a coach to keep a player that does not display these optimal player qualities, and I don’t say that because of how it may effect the coach, but how it effect the entire team and the program. What kind of message does it send to all the other families whose children do display those prime qualities? Sorry, the rules don’t apply to this player because their parent resides in a position of power????? How dysfunctional is that? Each year is a new team, a new tryout, and athletes have to work hard to be a part of a varsity roster. Just because you make the roster one year, does not guarantee you a spot the next year.

    If you have two equal in ability players and you can’t take both players on your team, you as a coach must look at the player as a whole package, and not just their athletic ability. You must look at their strengths and their weaknesses. You must look at how this player will produce for your team as a person and a player, and how the pieces of the puzzle will fit together to make the strongest team dynamic possible. It just so happens that in this situation, the board member in question in fact put her daughter in that unsuccessful situation, not Julie. How can someone put his or her child in that situation in the first place and then blame someone else?

    The truth is, that Julie took her team further than anyone expected, and continues to have winning seasons and playoff appearances, in addition, CIF all-conference players each season. I am sure that you have heard the phrase; one bad apple spoils the bunch? I am confident that during team selection for this season, Julie did what she thought was best for her team and program. Everyone close to Julie knows that she is a fair coach and person and would never behave unethically.

    Last time I checked, being on a team was a privilege not a right. A privilege that is supposed to be fun, where you learn about life lessons and build friendships and respect. I know for a fact that the girls on that team had a blast and they love their coach. Lets allow the boys team the same opportunity to again have the coach back that they know and love.

    How much can one person take? 4 years of bullying and constant scrutiny with no help from anyone, just her supporters. Those of us close to this situation know that the athletic director and principal(s) hands have been tied on this for years, and lets all try and pay attention to the real root of this issue, an educated, highly connected angry board member with kids that play volleyball and a personal agenda/vendetta.

    This is so out of control and I am embarrassed to have once been a DHS graduate, teacher, and coach in the district. Sadly, this is not the DHS of old. This is not the school where there is blue devil pride and the big blue machine was a respected powerhouse, a respected program where other coaches strived to be. Nope, this is a school that is out of control with regard to its coaching and it this isn’t being caused at the site level or by the coaches. The board of education needs to act as a board of education and not as a board of athletics and the current board needs to hold each other accountable, especially with regard to this situation. I hope that the rest of the board can see through the smoke and mirrors this one board member has created and do the right thing. Give Julie her job back and then leave her alone to do what she does best, coach volleyball.

    One last thought: I hope that the interim position is given to the two other coaches that have been coaching within the boys program already. They are certified, fingerprinted, their paperwork is ready, they have history with the players and the program and the players respect and like them. Not to mention one of who is already currently coaching another sport in the district. Both are qualified and both have requested to help as interim until the appeals process is complete.

    So why was it even being entertained that the interim position be given to a coach that just happens to be the ncvc club coach for this same board members other children in Sacramento?

    And so it continues…….

    1. iPad Guy

      Appreciate your views about Julie’s difficult situation here. Hope we can discuss this issue without attacking a child and her abilities and attitude, however.

      1. the original blue devil

        my intention was not to attack in any way and apologize if that is the way it came across. However, I just wanted to shed some light on the situation and also to relay the message that there are lots of reasons why athletes make or do not make teams. It is irresponsible for people to be led to think that all players that make teams from previous years make the team the following year. I think that is an important piece of this puzzle that has been continually left out. It is frustrating to read the assumptions by many that the player in question didn’t make the team simply because of the current situation at hand and that simply is not the case.

        1. iPad Guy

          I think most people understand and accept your points without needing to have a specific case made against this student.

          Being a coach would be hard enough with student athletes who didn’t have any parents and if the parents didn’t include any higher-ups. But, this doesn’t excuse the lapse for which the coach has been charged in such a mealy mouthed manner.

          The administration has made its case. Perhaps the board again will overturn the superintendent. But, that won’t be so easy an action even with the outcry that’s developed.

          And, as David has written, we’ll likely never know what really is happening because most of this is a confidential, personnel matter.

          1. iPad Guy

            I said “most” of this is being handled as a confidential personnel matter (leaving those of us with lots of opinions with little real information to base them on).

            The information we’ve gotten so far comes from non-confidential sources quoted in the paper and The Vanguard, not from confidential personnel papers.

            I’m just agreeing with David’s lament that we’ll never really know much for sure due to the nature of this kind of matter.

          2. David Greenwald

            Because a parent who is married to a board member leaked it to the Enterprise and the Enterprise thought it was appropriate to print it.

          3. iPad Guy

            Are you saying that The Enterprise didn’t have the right to publish and the father who received the letter didn’t have the right to provide it (“leak it”) to the reporter interviewing him?

            So, you’ve concluded without seeing it that this is a legally protected, confidential DUSD personnel document even though it apparently was addressed to the father?

            And, the fact that the parent is married to a board member is important to restate here because?

          4. David Greenwald

            “Are you saying that The Enterprise didn’t have the right to publish and the father who received the letter didn’t have the right to provide it (“leak it”) to the reporter interviewing him? ”

            No. I’m stating that neither used good judgment in what they did.

            “So, you’ve concluded without seeing it that this is a legally protected, confidential DUSD personnel document even though it apparently was addressed to the father?”

            The district cited personnel matter as a reason for (A) not commenting on the situation and (B) not releasing the letter.

            “And, the fact that the parent is married to a board member is important to restate here because?”

            Because the person married to a board member is in a very different position than a member of the public.

          5. hpierce

            I’ll semi-agree with David… if the letter was about the student, in my opinion, it should be private… if the letter was issued about the coach, once issued, it should be open to public disclosure…. am not saying that the district should “advertise” it, but, in my opinion,, it (the letter, not the report) should be open to public review, in its entirety.

          6. David Greenwald

            No if the letter is about the coach, then it’s a personnel matter. And while the parents had the right to release information about the students, I’m not sure they had the right to release information about the coach.

          7. iPad Guy

            Just trying to imagine how a law could be fashioned to impose such a confidentiality requirement on a parent who receives a letter from a school district. If the district is restricted from releasing certain information, it seems that it wouldn’t be showing up in correspondence. And, does the letter receiver’s new requirement apply to revealing any information or just to passing along the letter itself? What could the penalty be?

            I hope you get a copy from the parent so we can get a look at the legal citation–it must be plastered all over the document since no one would imagine that their correspondence with a school could have such restricted use.

          8. David Greenwald

            I agree but that’s what makes this whole thing messy because Peterson is not just a parent here, he’s the spouse of a school board member.

          9. iPad Guy

            “The district cited personnel matter as a reason for…not releasing the letter.”

            I’ve reread both Enterprise articles and both Vanguard reports and am unable to find anything that suggests this is true. In fact, the first Enterprise story notes that they have obtained a copy if the letter.

            Can you direct me to any report that the district refused to release the letter citing personnel matter confidentiality? Not saying that it wouldn’t be withheld for privacy, but you’re saying that it already happened.

            hpierce, I always semi-agree with David. In this matter, I fully agree with your more logical explanation.

            And, when it comes to student privacy, I think that Dr. Peterson as her parent has the right to decide whether to the letter goes beyond him. (Not that I would want to put myself in that position.)

            Whatever is in the letter, the parent to whom it’s addressed has not one bit of obligation to keep it confidential. Regardless of to whom he’s married.

            It bothers me that we keep getting this questionable, rolling rationale aimed at confining blame to the one person who has stayed out of the drama for months.

            I’d hope The Vanguard would keep digging for more information rather than rationalizing some predetermined commentary that “failure to conflict out” a board member last year is the reason we’re facing a new situation this week.

          10. Michelle Millet

            If the Peterson’s released the letter then they are no longer staying out of the drama. I think it would have served them and community better if they had continued along their previous path.

          11. iPad Guy

            Sorry, I wasn’t clear, Michelle. Dr. Peterson’s quotes in the Enterprise make it clear that he tried an informal resolution meeting, then filed a formal complaint, then received a letter that suggested his complaint was investigate and action was taken. There was little way for him to stay out of the drama once he started down the complaint road. While no one forced him to release his letter, it’s no surprise given the public nature of this long running dispute.

          12. Michelle Millet

            Peterson is in the position of power, and with that, in my mind comes a higher level of responsibility when handling these issues. I think they would have been better served by using more discretion in this matter. The release of this letter may appear as another unfair power play against a coach that the public already views, and maybe rightly so, as the victim of someone who has already abused her power. Don’t think the Petersons helped their cause with this move.

          1. hpierce

            To whom was your comment directed? Using a tablet, so was hard to trace the preceding comment. No criticism, just looking for clarification.

          2. Michelle Millet

            the original blue devil

            I’m not judging “the original blue devil” for wanting to be anonymous, but in doing so the post doesn’t have the same credibility.

  11. hpierce

    Suggest we keep the discussion focused on the (supposedly) adults, and not the student. Think I erred on that at one point. Most have been pretty good, but I believe this is an issue about the actions/behaviors of the coach, the administrators, and the board. I see a number of indications that “adults” behaved badly.

  12. eagle eye

    Thanks, Blue Devil !

    We observed years ago in T-Ball that coaches and players don’t need interfering parents.

    This school board – or certain members of it – functions like a sorority house, helping a sister.

  13. Leigh Whitmire Choate

    I am the original blue devil. I was hesitant to use my name for fear of retribution in this situation for many reasons. I guess now that I have said that, if it occurs, at least people will know and it will be public knowledge.

    I have been involved with and been watching this entire situation that started years ago, and felt the need to finally speak out on behalf of Julie, and the volleyball program at DHS. Hopefully me using my name gives my statement credibility as it is time for a change and for the truth of this entire situation to come out.

    Hopefully this helps

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      Thank you for your reasonable, logical post. I do have a follow-up question for you. You wrote: “…with a player that has no respect for her as a coach and undermines everything she does.”

      How many times did you see this? Once, twice? Or numerous times?

      I can tell you that in all the years I played sports, my parents never once inserted themselves into the coaches decisions or strategies. Once in grade school a dim coach gathered half the team to laugh and mock my attempts at a new exercise (for me), and they said “We give you permission to tell the coach you didn’t appreciate that.” I chose to grin and bear it, and I learned the exercise.

      I have known of numerous instances – even at the college level – of where a coach will take a player with fundamental skills, great attitude, and a TEAM PLAYER ~ over physically gifted athletes. On the flip side, an “attitude problem” or a primadonna can kill the team ethos.

      1. Leigh Whitmire Choate

        IMO the original origin of this entire situation stems from the 2010 volleyball season when this board member requested to be an assistant coach for me at DHS for the girls varsity volleyball team (something I look back upon now as a plan that was in the making all along). At that time she expressed her disapproval toward one of my coaching staff (not Julie) and requested that I remove this particular coach from my staff (a coach her daughter had never played for). I did not agree and kept my staff in tact. Subsequently, when Julie took over the program and varsity team the same request was made to Julie to not retain this same coach. Julie also did not agree and kept the staff in place. This was all before the election occurred and when her obvious displease became noticeable.

        IMO this is where the entire situation started and has not stopped since because Julie has continued to maintain her own integrity and philosophies in coaching by not allowing outside influences to effect the job that she does with her teams and with her program.

        For 7 entire volleyball seasons Julie has coached and been renewed as the coach without question. Her coaching evaluations, feedback, and team support has been nothing but positive.

        So to me this just sounds like a parent that didn’t get their way and has made it their mission, at all costs, to do so. It is not a coincidence that since this board member was inducted that Julie’s job has been in question each time her contract comes up for renewal and she is about to start a new season.

        1. TrueBlueDevil

          Wow. Wow. Wow. So my earlier hunch was correct. She has a DOUBLE CONFLICT – her daughter’s position as a player, and her own desire to be a coach on the team!

          Thank you so much for your valuable feedback. Feedback like this might help Coach Crawford to keep her job. (I don’t personally know anyone on the team, or any of the major players, but this just seems like such a travesty.)

          One point for clarification. Has Nancy Peterson protested Coach Crawford’s appointment as coach all 4 years? or 7 years?

    2. Michelle Millet

      Leigh while I would have respected, and understood, your wish to stay anonymous, I think your willingness to make these statements under your real name, and stand behind them, adds a lot of credibility to them.

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I think someone like Coach Leigh could be a tremendous help to Coach Crawford if she were to appear before the board. This establishes a continued pattern of odd behavior.

        Further, given Nancy Peterson’s apparent obsession with this volleyball team and coach, I think the burden of proof for her should be higher, and any allegations should be taken with a massive grain of salt.

  14. TrueBlueDevil

    New Davis Enterprise article

    Title: Boys volleyball interim coaches hired, but not without more controversy

    “… the district hired Rob Cole as its new boys volleyball coach on Friday. Then, district administrators changed their minds six hours later.”

    Is Rob Cole the hand-picked replacement coach from Nancy Peterson?

    Now he is considering legal action/ Oh please. What are your damages? Nothing.


      1. TrueBlueDevil

        It would make sense to have the whole school board vote on it, I guess, since they’ve chosen to micro manage so much.

        What are his damages? Pretty minimal. And a lawyer wouldn’t take it on contingency, there is no money here.

  15. leigh Whitmire Choate

    check the website ncvcvolleyball.com and check out rob cole’s 14s roster

    To clarify, the boys schedule was full of contacts (some reserved for post season scrimmages or for an extra tournament) and jerseys had been ordered well in advance of the season starting. I just wanted to clarify part of the enterprise article.

    I would expect nothing less of a program that has been extremely organized and professionally fun for the last 4 years.

    and so it continues………..

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      As expected, Nancy Peterson was going to pick the replacement coach. Deja vu. Nothing against Robert Cole, but it doesn’t look like his experience matchs that of Coach Crawford.

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