Analysis: District Prepared to Re-hire Crawford to Coach Girls Volleyball in Fall

volleyballIn a move that will continue to fuel far more questions than answers, at least one portion of the Julie Crawford saga will be resolved.  An item appearing once again on the consent calendar indicates that on Friday, barring the unexpected, Julie Crawford will be hired back as the varsity head coach for girls volleyball at Davis High School.

The board is asked to approve a variable service agreement that would put Ms. Crawford under contract from March 21 to December 15, 2014 with a $4298.00 stipend.

In a statement from Superintendent Winfred Roberson, he indicated,  “In order to reconcile recent events around volleyball yesterday I met with Ms. Julie Crawford to discuss her immediate appointment as the Varsity Girls Volleyball Coach for the 2014-15 season, pending BOE approval on Friday March 21.

“As superintendent I strongly believe that employees and students alike should have opportunity to grow as professionals and learners, even in the face of challenging circumstances,” he said.  “We are confident that our students-athletes, Ms. Crawford, the DJUSD and our community will begin the process of moving forward for the betterment of our students and organization.”

How this reconciles with the board’s decision last week to uphold the administrative decision to pull her VSA for boys volleyball is unclear. That happened as investigator Alexander Sperry found that, despite there being no evidence that the cutting of Nancy and Robert Peterson’s daughter was done with “willful mal-intent,” that “more likely than not” it was “influenced at least in apart” by the coach’s ongoing feud with now-resigned school board member Nancy Peterson.

As Sheila Allen and Susan Lovenburg wrote in a much criticized letter to the Davis Enterprise, the “coach made a poor judgment call which had negative consequences for a student.”

“By the conclusion of the appeal, the independent investigator, the associate superintendent, the superintendent and a majority of the board all concurred that the facts supported this finding,” they continued, however, adding, “The evidence demonstrated a poor decision, but not a poor volleyball coach.”

They write, “Poor choices have consequences, in this case, a short-term suspension from coaching. Though the board modified the consequence slightly, it largely reflects the original recommendation of the superintendent and Ms. Crawford is welcome to coach again in the future.”

This action would seemingly be in line.

As Tim Taylor stated on Thursday, “Our decision here this evening, will allow that pursuit of hers – which she spoke to eloquently earlier – to continue.”  He would add, “There were some mistakes made.  What we now need to do is learn from those, not repeat those, and move forward.”

The quick decision to hire Ms. Crawford back, perhaps aimed at quelling public discontent over the handling of this matter, also appears to validate Board President Gina Daleiden’s view in her lone dissent of the majority’s decision to uphold the administrative remedy.

“I do believe that our district’s response to complaints and the way that we handle the procedure and the investigations needs to be in proportion,” Gina Daleiden stated.  “I do believe in this instance the district went Code 3 on something that maybe didn’t warrant that.”

“I do not find in reading the investigation that there is a preponderance of evidence to support the findings and the conclusions,” she said.  She added that they “ended up jumping right into the deep end of the pool” and she would have preferred to have seen this resolved “at a much lower level, a whole lot earlier.”

There remain a number of questions in this matter, particularly in light of the resignation of Nancy Peterson, that seem all the more baffling by the day.

The District Superintendent Winfred Roberson has yet to respond to a series of additional questions by the Vanguard.

peterson-sign

In the meantime, there is continued intrigue as to the quantity and purpose of Nancy Peterson signs floating around Davis.  Given some of the locations for those signs – a church, a cemetery – it seems more likely than not that those placing the signs had malicious intent toward Ms. Peterson.

But, given the number of signs and the nearly 18 months passing between the election and now, it seems likely that someone close to Ms. Peterson’s campaign would have had to be the supplier of those signs.  Whether that was a conscious decision or an inadvertent supplier to some kids is hard to know.

It seems plausible that teenagers with access to signs got hold of them and thought it would be an interesting prank.

—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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40 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    “It seems plausible that teenagers with access to signs got a hold of them and thought it would be an interesting prank.”

    If this speculation is correct, what have the actions of the adults on both sides of this issue demonstrated to the youth ? Perhaps that an adversarial, vindictive approach is warranted if you are not getting your way. First, the
    Peterson’s actions seem to have modeled this. Then instead of just pointing this out as bad behavior not to be emulated, many commenters jumped in with vitriol and demonization of their own, not limited to the Peterson’s but spread to any member of the school board and administration whose decision making they did not like.

    Is this the message that we really want to send to our youth ? That if you do not like someone else’s bullying tactics, you counter with the same tactics yourself ?

    I find it interesting that commenters who themselves were not in the room during private deliberation, and even some who lauded Ms. Daleiden’s position, do not seem to be able to accept her honest judgment that the other members of the board also had the best interests of the community at heart and that “reasonable people can disagree”. If Ms. Daleiden who was in on all the deliberations can hold these views, why is it impossible for those who were not present to continue to call for the rolling of heads and to wink at “bad behavior” when it is in support of your position ?

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      I respectfully disagree. If not for the community uproar, the athletic department may have had another open position once occupied by an excellent coach. This has been going on for years.

      I still can’t comprehend the over-educated board of education – including one lawyer – not supplying the coach with their high-priced top-secret “investigation”, which appears to violate California law in two areas, not to mention the unethical stance of not letting the employee address and reply to her cloaked accuser(s).

      This debate has been very civil.

      1. Tia Will

        So do you also believe that the placing of the lawn signs is just a part of civil discourse ?
        That was the action I was referencing. Is that really alright with you ?

    2. Mr.Toad

      Why not “wink” at it. First we don’t know what it is but we do know it couldn’t have been too serious and that however serious it was is in dispute by those in the know.

      What have we taught the kids. I hope its that power corrupts and that sometimes you need to fight back.

  2. hpierce

    David what (if anything) do you make of the March 21 start date for the VSA? And/or the agenda listing the Crawford contract yesterday, but can’t seem to find on the District’s website today?

    1. David Greenwald

      I don’t know what to make of most of this. Does that mean they will allow her to volunteer as an assistant coach for the boys? They suggested that at first and then seemed to go back on it.

      1. Growth Issue

        David
        “I don’t know what to make of most of this.”

        Join the club. Things seem to change daily, there’s no clear direction. It has the appearance that they wake up every morning and see which way the wind is blowing. It all doesn’t give me much confidence in their decision making capabilities.

      2. wdf1

        hpierce: David what (if anything) do you make of the March 21 start date for the VSA? And/or the agenda listing the Crawford contract yesterday, but can’t seem to find on the District’s website today?

        Try here. I think the March 21 start date is a formality that says that Crawford is officially the girls’ VB coach for the next season.

      3. PhilColeman

        David: While you are in a responsive to questions mode, have you picked up any more word on the two administrators who were demoted back to the classroom? Timing alone, suggests, there is a relationship between this decision and the larger context of the Volleyball fiasco.

        As an aside, the sign thing seems to me a needless distraction for discussion and analysis right now. There is enough fodder on our collective plates to focus on. I’m even entertaining the sinister thought that the sign postings were calculated, intended to divert, distract, and diffuse the far important issues ahead.

        1. David Greenwald

          I didn’t get a definitive answer, but did confirm it was not involving any high school administrators and probably was junior high administrators and thus unrelated to volleyball.

          On the signs, that’s probably the extent to which I will address the issue. There were enough questions yesterday that I felt I needed something.

  3. Fremontia

    It makes perfect sense. They supported their Superintendent, who, because he didn’t have the fortitude to stand up to one of his board member’s, made a complete hash of things. Doing otherwise would have put them in a terrible position with calls for changes at the top. Someone had to be punished. After all the acrimony, the legal expense, the protestations by the other coaches, demonstrations by student athletes, the commentary in traditional and electronic media, the resignation of Nancy Peterson and her call to pit families against teachers it was not possible to not hold someone responsible. If they didn’t want to punish the Superintendent the inquisition had to find a face saving scapegoat. So they threw Julie Crawford under the bus letting the Peterson- Roberson conspiracy come to fruition. With the administration waiting until the last minute to spring the trap and then the board taking their sweet time to act, much of the season had already been lost for Julie Peterson.

    Having now claimed a reasoned amount of discipline considering the “factors” the public cannot be allowed to know, for some transgression, the seriousness of which is in dispute, Julie Crawford is being reinstated for the fall season. This is happening in an expedited manner with Crawford’s VSA being the first and only coaching position approved to date to a certificated staff member for fall. Whether this is being done to mollify an angry public or to retain Crawford or both is unclear. But what is clear is that this is the first action by the district to match their words with actions to actually stop the bleeding, calm things down and move on.

    The problem is its not that easy. The actual damages done to Julie Crawford over a long period of harassment including the complaints, the scrutiny, the repeated attempts to get her fired from coaching, her being publicly maligned from the dais, the continued maligning in the press and selected exposure of facts of the case by current board members,the expenditure of energy bringing appeals, her need for counsel, the loss of income, the emotional toll, having her signed VSA withdrawn from the board consideration at the 11th hour,the doubts about whether it was ever going to end or if she would lose her coaching position for good and the stress of waiting to have her case heard are real and serious.

    The fallout to the rest of the staff from an administration and governing board that clearly is weak and unsupportive of teachers is also serious and will reverberate in the minds of every teacher with every decision they make for a long time. The doubts engendered in parents about the decision making abilities of the people entrusted to supervise and educate their children are now heightened and more frequent frivolous complaints should be expected. Everyone’s guard is now up higher.

    The credibility of the board itself is in question and their moral authority to lead is diminished. The board will eventually be out either through reaching the end of their terms, resignation, as we have seen with Nancy Peterson or by rejection of the voters. One thing is clear their political capital is spent and with it probably their political careers.

    1. David Greenwald

      There are a lot of good points here and I too believe that the problem is not that easy because while there has been a pound of flesh for Julie, and maybe a pound of flesh for the self-imposed resignation by Peterson, there has been very little acknowledgement by the district about what went wrong here.

      1. SODA

        Totally agree with last issue David and that is what some of us have been continually harping on and to my friend Tia, I think you would agree that this is deeper than personalities whether it be the Petersons or Crawford or Lovenburg or Allen or ????
        It is the Board’s (and most recently) Lovenburg and Allen’s lack of accountability or even acknowledgment of their and the district’s role in this whole thing and NO concrete direction for how they will proceed that has kept me incredulous and continuing to comment, not the personalities.
        BTW David, why does one have to log in every few days to comment and where is the log in button? I have to do a site search for the log in each time. grrrrrr. Along with very frustrating way to find new comments. Sorry to complain.

          1. SODA

            I see your profile but nothing like a log in underneath….??
            Is there a way to see comments in order, not underneath their replies? When gone for part of the day, it is very hard to ‘catch up’
            Also, the ‘notify me of follow up comments’ doesn’t seem to work for me lately….

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    Here is a partial list of coaches who have recently left our programs. Please feel free to add omissions.

    1. Leigh Choate – volleyball, leave
    2. Steve Smyth – football, quit
    3. Jeff Christian – WBB – fired, no explanation, Disaster
    4. Ashley Yudin – soccer coach, 19 years, quit – cites “AD” and “administration” for failing to protect / resolve the trashing of the soccer field which bears his name
    5. Dan Gonzales – MBB, 14 years, quit – citing “challenges”; returns to help his players (resignation too late to find a new quality coach)
    6. Bob Silva – MBB JV & assistant coach 11 years, quits – cites “administration” and “decisions”
    7. George Sousa – MBB assistant quits
    8. Gary Smith – MBB assistant quits
    9. Julie Crawford – VB – attempted removal 1
    10. Julie Crawford – VB – attempted removal 2
    11. Julie Crawford – VB – attempted removal 3 (succeeded)
    12. Marc Hicks – football – DHS alum replaced after one year
    13. Danielle Eckert – cheerleading coach – quits citing parental pressure

    1. Tia Will

      I have an addition but I will not provide name nor sport for obvious reasons.

      Coach not rehired due to obvious transgressions. Calling his own players “f…..ing” retards, slugs, stupid, to their faces in front of their peers. Completely unresponsive to direct parental objections. Should in my opinion have been taken out immediately but was allowed to complete the season.

      And another example, again, no name, no sport.
      Coach overheard by me directly instructing his players to “go for the leg” of a player newly back post injury with a still bandaged leg.

      My point ? I do not think that these examples in any way represent what happened here in this instance. There is no suggestion from my point of view that Ms. Crawford is an excellent coach who may or may not have had a lapse in perfect judgement. My point is that I do not believe that this situation is as black and white as some would paint it. I do not believe that coaches are necessarily any more pure than members of any other profession and that complaints do need to be assessed when they arise.

      Now what I do agree with is SODA’s concern and that of many others regarding the process. There are obviously major problems with the way this was handled. And with all of the remaining 4 members of the board saying that there need to be changes in the process, I am at a bit of a loss why we are not giving them any time to begin to address these issue systematically but want them to put out something substantive immediately. At least that is what we say we want them to do when we are not telling them to “shut up”.

      1. Tia Will

        OOOPS ! Major error.

        That should have read that I see no evidence that Ms. Crawford is anything other than an excellent coach….

        My apologies to all for not proofing better before posting.

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Tia, are these two examples from Davis High School?

        I think the closest we can guess to any possible transgression is what has been tangentially brought up 3 or 4 times – “How could a senior player who was on the team for 2 years, *not* make the team?” This was the same theme parroted by Peterson’s friend in her Op-Ed. (In one of a series of Op-Eds that hurt their stance, her friend thought Crawford asking her son to attend practice while sick was somehow horrible, and a major negative. She came off like aanother over-protective parent.)

        I was also curious about this, and it did put real doubt in my head.

        But when I looked at the stats, they were minimal, and the trajectory was downward. Then, when I found two outstanding freshman on the team, one who played her spot, it made complete sense.

  5. wdf1

    It could be worse:

    Volleyball coach allegedly enlists students in strange undercover drug sting plot

    If a lawsuit filed in Fresno (Calif.) County Superior Court has any validity, Clovis North High assistant volleyball coach Kelly Racca’s heart was in the right place, but she may not have thought her plan to rid the Fresno school of illegal marijuana sales all the way through.
    Without any cooperation from the police or school officials, Racca allegedly enlisted two Clovis North students to take part in a botched drug sting, according to a lawsuit obtained by The Fresno Bee.

    Upon purchasing marijuana from a classmate, the two students were unlawfully questioned by police and nearly arrested, according to The Fresno Bee report. They are reportedly suing the Clovis Unified School District for unspecified monetary damages. The lawsuit claims the two teens live in fear of “physical harm by drug-related gang actions” and retaliation from fellow students who have dubbed them “snitches.”

      1. wdf1

        Nope. I was reading through yahoo news stories and happened upon it. My first reaction on reading the headline was to check if they were talking about Davis — they weren’t.

  6. Ryan Kelly

    I’m glad that Julie will return to coaching the team. I’m impressed that she’s willing. I can see some logic on not reinstating her to the Men’s team mid-season and having her return to coaching with the Fall Women’s team after the Peterson’s student has graduated. I can imagine that this whole thing has been difficult for the student and to allow her to graduate before re-instating the Coach is a good strategy.

    1. Fremontia

      We will never know if this was one of the “factors” they considered but it really has nothing to do with the facts of the case. Doesn’t really matter when you are running a kangaroo court, facts, factors, its all the same.

        1. Fremontia

          Actually its an interesting angle that has not been explored and can’t be because if the board sought to keep Crawford from coaching the Peterson son that is another can of worms that you must never hear about but one that might have been one of the political “factors” they considered instead of making a decision based on the the facts of the case.

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    What do BOE members make, is it honorary? or is there a small stipend?

    Tim Taylor seems like a nice guy, but sounds like his vote was pre-thought or for political reasons… it seems like he was having coffee with Bob Dunning hours after the vote, further backtracking and downplaying the vote.

    Buyers remorse, or plans for higher office?

  8. TrueBlueDevil

    I stumbled into this. A parent of a field hockey player at DHS in 2009, assaulted the father of the coach … over playing time! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!

    Article: Davis hockey team fans come to blows

    10/21/2009

    CHICO — “According to most witnesses, it was a one-sided fight Monday when the father of a Davis Senior High School field hockey player allegedly delivered three quick blows to a man identified as the father of the school’s junior varsity coach. The Davis “Blue Devils” were in Chico Monday for varsity and junior varsity matches against Chico High School.”

    http://www.chicoer.com/ci_13607481

  9. wdf1

    I share this because I think the V-ball controversy has taken DJUSD off the list of these parents:

    The Onion, 3/19/2014: Intrepid Middle-Class Parents Embark On Daring Search For Mythical Perfect School District

    RICHMOND, VA—Sources confirmed that a harrowing journey commenced today at first light, when middle-class parents of two Ken and Deborah Linden courageously set off to find the perfect school district, a mythical realm of top-ranked, well-rounded education that many say only exists in legend.

    The quest, which the Lindens said could last weeks, months, or even years, is expected to take the fearless couple to the farthest reaches of the metropolitan area as they search for the fabled school system with an 8-to-1 student-teacher ratio, highly competitive SAT scores, and lavishly funded programs for the gifted and talented.

    “Though our path may be treacherous, our will is unshakable and we embark with hopeful spirits in pursuit of this long-lost domain of nationally recognized elementary and secondary schools,” said Deborah Linden, who has reportedly spent many long nights poring over maps, standardized test data, and copies of U.S. News & World Report. “Whatever pitfalls we encounter—be they lottery-based admissions policies or steep home prices—we will not rest until our children are enrolled.”

    “We will find this hallowed place where Mandarin is offered in addition to French and Spanish, and where nearly a quarter of graduates attend their first-choice Ivy League college,” she continued, “or we will die trying.” etc.

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