Sunday Commentary II – Six Ways the District Could Have Avoided The Peterson Mess

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

We have largely defended the district in their handling of the Peterson-quagmire, and as we did in the piece two weeks ago, “You Make the Call,” we believe that the overwhelmingly responsible party here is Nancy Peterson and her family.  That said, there were a number of things that the district – particularly in hindsight – could have done differently to head this off.

Conflict of Interest

One of the interesting things we learned last week, but did not get a chance to report, was that Nancy Peterson was actually warned by her own supporters and campaign team to stay away from volleyball if and when she got elected.

The conflict started rather innocuously last February when Nancy Peterson pulled the consent item on Julie Crawford’s VSA (variable service agreement).

That triggered an April 9, 2013, letter from former football coach Dave Whitmire who stated, “Some members of the Board of Education in Davis are using their power to micro-manage the athletic program at Davis High. Coaches and other district employees are afraid to say anything in support of a coach for fear of losing their jobs. This is a blatant abuse of power.”

This should have been a red flag to the school board and administration, but they did little to deal with the issue of conflict of interest and abuse of power.

Summer Fiasco

This issue finally blew up in the summer when the district declined to renew the VSA, and the school board overruled them.

Two weeks after the district decision, the board met in closed session and voted in open session to reverse the earlier administrative decision made by Dennis Foster and Matt Best, and to rehire Crawford as the DHS Girls volleyball coach for the upcoming fall season.

Nancy Peterson would be the lone dissenting vote in a 3-1 vote, with Tim Taylor not on the phone line when the vote occurred.  She then threw fuel on the fire when she stated, “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.”

This statement clearly threw gasoline on the fire.  At the time, we suspect that the school board and administration thought this might end the conflict, but that was a clear misread by each.  Instead of handling the dispute at a level before it became a crisis, the school board and district did nothing.

What could they have done?  Given the letter from Mr. Whitmire and the statement from Ms. Peterson, they needed to figure out better the nature of the dispute and how to deal with it.  Would mediation at that time have been more fruitful?  Would a conflict of interest policy have made any difference at that time?

The Investigation

There are a lot of people who question the decision for the district to hire an outside investigator – at a larger cost than an internal one – but, given the nature of the dispute, we do not disagree.

The Enterprise in their column writes, “There’s another lesson to be learned, this time by the administrators who sat on Crawford’s paperwork and ultimately passed the buck to an outside law firm that charges by the hour.”

They continue, “We trust that in the future we can find a more efficient, less costly way to handle complaints in-house. The on-site administrators have the best perspective to deal with personnel issues, and should be able to handle problems without making a $20,000 mountain out of a molehill.”

While we agree this was mishandled, we don’t agree that the outside investigation was the problem.  After all, how can you ask an administrator to investigate a complaint essentially filed by their boss, Nancy Peterson?   I am rather appalled that the Enterprise would write that and wonder if they just saw the dollar tag and failed to think through the mechanics.

As Gina Daleiden put it to the Vanguard on February 19, “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 (District Office) rather than internally. The nature of the complaint might also necessitate an outside person or an attorney/professional investigator. It does very much depend on the individual case.”

We agree with Ms. Daleiden here.

However, the decision to use Alexander Sperry is questionable for several reasons.  First, Mr. Sperry is in the same law firm as the district’s attorney, Eva Fichtner.  But, more importantly, the Vanguard learned that Leigh Whitmire Choate filed a complaint against Nancy Peterson, interestingly enough, for retaliation, and the investigator in that case was Alexander Sperry.

There are all sorts of problems from the district’s perspective here, but the bottom line is that, while the district was probably justified in an outside investigation considering who the complainant was, the choice of outside investigators is in question.

The fourth questionable move is that the investigation was complete in November, and Ms. Crawford was led to believe that, despite the results of the investigation, she would be the boys volleyball coach and somehow and for reasons that have not been explained, the decision to terminate her VSA was made right before the start of the volleyball season.

Had the decision been made in November, at least this process could have played out in ways that might have been more quiet – without the public’s attention or the leaks – and they would have had two months to sort things out.

Chain of Command and Authority

Gina Daleiden noted that the district administrative staff handled the process of the complaint and the investigation. The board did not approve the investigation nor the extent and amount.

The board was not briefed on this complaint until it came to them in an appeal and they did not read the report until after they voted to hear the appeal.

Had the board found out about this in September when the complaint was filed or November when the report was completed, could the board have stopped this?

Abiding Question: Why Didn’t the Board Speak Out Sooner?

The Davis School Board is the only portion of the district directly responsible to the voters and taxpayers.  The biggest complaint that we have against them is that, while they were hamstrung by insufficient conflict policies and appeals processes, there were plenty of times when the board should have done more, should have spoken out sooner.

By the time the issue exploded for the first time last summer, the school board should have had enough information to understand  that there was an ongoing conflict between one of their board members and a coach.  They needed to do more to stop the escalation.

Nancy Peterson pulled the VSA in February – and they said nothing.  Nancy Peterson made publicly derogatory remarks about a district employee (remember, Julie Crawford is not just a volleyball coach, she is a certificated employee), they did nothing – why didn’t they demand mediation?  Why didn’t they admonish Nancy Peterson?  They did not speak out in any way, manner or form.

They overruled their district staff and yet made no public policy changes.  They were in a position to stop every bit of this, but by staying silent they allowed the conflict to fester and grow until one of their own was forced to resign.

Yes – she was forced to resign, and rightly so by her own actions.  The question that the rest of the community needs to ask is why someone did not say something sooner.

So, while we urge patience and believe that much of this was out of control, there were times when the district and board did not act when they needed to do so, in a clear and precise manner.

—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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60 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary II – Six Ways the District Could Have Avoided The Peterson Mess”

  1. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > After all, how can you ask an administrator to investigate
    > a complaint essentially filed by their boss,

    Great question, yet the board still went with the “school district” law firm (a firm they hire and tell what to do on a regular basis)…

    The only difference is that the law firm is a 1099 employee of the district paid by the hour, while the administrators are W2 employees on salary.

    The board went with the law firm knowing that most (but not all ) attorneys will write a report that says someone “more likely than not” did something if you pay them $20K (and give them cover by not letting them talk to anyone that would contradict their finding)…

    1. iPad Guy

      To what law firm would the school district go rather than the school district law firm (if that’s really what it is)?

      I’ve never understood why folks think this is a problem, let alone one big enough to rise to a consideration in which the district could have “avoided the Peterson mess.” I do understand why the investigation report is a problem for Coach Crawfords’s supporters.

      Would a different law firm come to the opposite conclusion?

      1. SouthofDavis

        iPad Guy wrote:

        > Would a different law firm come to the opposite conclusion?

        If coach Crawford hired a law firm it almost certainly would have come to the opposite conclusion (people rarely pay $20K+ for a report that gives them a conclusion they don’t want).

        > I do understand why the investigation report is a problem for
        > Coach Crawfords’s supporters.

        I’m not a Coach Crawford “supporter” (I could care less if she ever coaches again), I’m just a taxpayer upset that the district not only paid $20K + to try and paper over bad stuff a board member was doing, but didn’t even “try” and make the report seem fair (by hiring an unrelated firm and tell them to pretend to get the story from the other side)…

        1. iPad Guy

          I didn’t claim you are a Coach Crawford supporter or even suggest that there’s anything wrong with having problems with the investigation results themselves.

          Whether the coach could have found an unethical law firm that would have given her a “not guilty” paper isn’t the issue here.

          My questions for you and David are: What’s wrong with the selected firm being the “district’s law firm,” and what difference would selecting a different firm have made in “avoiding the Peterson mess”?

          The City of Davis looks to the same law firm that employs Harriet Steiner for its legal needs.

          1. hpierce

            Your last statement, is I believe, incorrect. Don’t believe, om previous articles, that the district use Best, Best & Kreiger.

          2. iPad Guy

            I’m not sure what you mean here. My point is that whatever law firm the city sides is the same law firm from which the city attorney comes. This was true when Harriet was at her last firm, but maybe it works differently now.

          3. hpierce

            I apparently mis-understood the point you were attempting to make. In both cases, the retained law firm is responsible for advising and protecting their client, not any individual, whether it be an employee or an elected.

          4. iPad Guy

            As would any other firm that the district selected and paid. Part of a firm’s responsibility in “advising and protecting their client” is to provide honest information.

            I think you’re saying that no firm could be expected to conduct an honest investigation. Perhaps, if the school district had paid twice as much?

          5. hpierce

            Now YOU are being the mis-reader. Counsel’s responsibility is to advise the District, and protect it. So, if they found the complaint frivolous, they would say so, and advise the admin to that effect. They would not need to generate a big report. If they found the administration grossly negligent in handling the complaint, they would report that, in closed session, to the Board. Still no need for a report.

            If it was clear that the coach behaved inappropriately, and admin decided they wanted to take adverse action regarding the coach’s action(s), they would probably do the report. If the Counsel figured that Admin behaved inappropriately, and the coach would realize that and might sue the district, they would probably do a report and “waffle” to give the Board a safe place to land.

            ipad… you like to challenge people if you think they are putting words in your mouth, cool. Just watch out when you do that to others… your fingers may be bit…. hard.

          6. iPad Guy

            Apparently I misunderstood the point you were trying to make this time. But, I’ve been assuming that the investigation report is a report on the investigation and would run as long as it takes to report the investigation. I also think the firm is obligated to do an honest investigation. I don’t see how one can make assumptions about the results based on the size of the report. Why wouldn’t the legal advice to the district be handled in a separate document? But, all I know about the so called investigation report is what I’ve read.

  2. Phil Coleman

    “They overruled their district staff and yet made no public changes.”

    David: Would you accept a friendly amendment to the above? No malice, not being snarky, honest.

    Change “public” to “policy.” That’s my interpretation of the point presented, which I support with unbridled enthusiasm.

  3. SODA

    Good summary. I think another aspect of this is the relationship between the Board and Superintendent. If the Board reinstates the coach that will be the second time it has overturned a decision by the Supt. What does that say? And again, think part of the policy clarification/development going forward needs to be clear role definition of athletic director. He seems to have been left out of this?

  4. Mr. Toad

    Overturning the Superintendent twice doesn’t say too much. I’m sure every executive in every institution gets over ruled by their board frequently. Happens all the time. The real question is does the Superintendent in this case or executive in any case have the continued support of the board.

    In my mind I wonder if last summer when Peterson maligned Crawford from the dais how things would have been different if the board President had gaveled her down and made it clear that it was not acceptable to behave in such conduct as a board member. Perhaps the Petersons would have tripled down again this year anyway but if the board president had set a limit back then it might have a difference.

  5. iPad Guy

    “Conflict of Interest–One of the interesting things we learned last week, but did not get a chance to report, was that Nancy Peterson was actually warned by her own supporters and campaign team to stay away from volleyball if and when she got elected.”

    How did you learn that her “supporters and campaign team” warned Ms. Peterson to avoid volleyball “if and when she got elected.” What is your source?

    This is much different than the story Leigh Choate told this last week, that she (Leigh Choate, hardly a “supporter”) had talked with Ms. Peterson’s campaign manager, asking that the campaign manager get the candidate to stop talking about volleyball during the campaign.

    As I remember, Ms. Choate further reported that she followed up with the campaign manager when the volleyball talk continued. There’s no evidence that this single staff member said anything to Ms. Peterson or that Ms. Choate is relating anything other that the standard placating efforts from a campaign manager.

    1. SouthofDavis

      iPad Guy wrote (sounding more and more like the Peterson family defense attorney):

      > How did you learn that her “supporters and campaign team” warned
      > Ms. Peterson to avoid volleyball “if and when she got elected.
      > ” What is your source?

      I’m wondering if IPad Guy will let us know his relationship to the Petersons (their friend, attorney, son, or Dr, Peterson himself)?

      David may have a better ability to search, but I could not find anything on the Vanguard from “iPad Guy” other than posts that sound like they are coming from the Peterson’s a close fried or an attorney “pretending” to be a concerned. citizen (but always defending them and casting doubt on anything bad said about them).

        1. iPad Guy

          Thanks, Don. Coming from someone who has been announcing amazement that I continue to defend the indefensible, your assurance should carry special weight with SoD.

          I’ll point out again that I’ve never met any of the Petersons, the coaches involved, the DJUSD administrator or other staff involved, or the current school board trustees. My interest in this interminable discussion is not to support any of parties’ sides.

          I hope this clears that up.

          1. eagle eye

            In light of the statement from iPad Guy that Crawford would need an UNethical attorney to absolve her, and his claim he has no dog in the fight, it appears he is simply trolling.

          2. iPad Guy

            I didn’t say “that Crawford would need an UNethical attorney to absolve her….”

            At that point, I was responding to SoD’s suggestion that an investigation’s conclusion depends on who is paying the bill, that, if Coach Crawford hired a law firm, “it almost certainly would have come to the opposite conclusion.”

            For that to be true, law firms would have to be unethical whether hired by the district or Coach Crawford or by the distinct (or by anybody for any purpose).

            Since, SoD’s premise was that the district got–and the coach could get–the opposite conclusions that they want regardless of the facts, that must mean that the firms are unethical. Wouldn’t you agree?

            If, as SoD claims, Coach Crawford could get a contrary, unwarranted finding just by paying for it, I think he’s saying that pretty much all all firms are unethical, just as a matter of course.

            So, that means that any firm she (or anyone) runs into would be unethical, not that she would NEED one. SoD whole point is that she (or anyone) could get an unethical investigation report pretty much anywhere.

            This conversation was not about Coach Crawford, but about whether law firms are unethical. I hope that’ll be apparent if you start from the beginning. You’ll see that I’m still waiting for David to respond to my initial questions.

            I do see how my sarcasm about the concept that we’re surrounded by universe of unethical law firms could have mislead you. Sorry.

            True, I don’t know any of these people, but I do care about our community and the success of The Vanguard. So, I do have dogs in the bigger fights.

          3. Realist

            I wouldn’t say either party would need an unethical lawyer to give them a contrary finding. Look at the differences in arguments between defense and prosecution attorneys. They can be miles apart on the same issue and both are ethically doing their job which is representing their client’s interests to the best of their ability. That is why lawyers give ‘opinions’.

          4. iPad Guy

            But, you’re talking about hiring advocates whose accepted “ethical” job it is to “argue as unfairly as possible on opposite sides” so that “truth emerges.” (Macaulay)

            We’re talking about whether we should be able to expect a law firm hired to conduct an investigation to do it honestly and whether it’s ethical to twist its facts and findings.

      1. Michelle Millet

        I could not find anything on the Vanguard from “iPad Guy” other than posts that sound like they are coming from the Peterson’s a close fried or an attorney “pretending” to be a concerned.

        I have had the pleasure of disagreeing with “iPad Guy” on lots of issues.

  6. iPad Guy

    I’m still reeling a little from this exchange last night that describes some of the disputes involving Nancy Peterson and the volleyball coaches:

    “Viewing tip: The most interesting and informative discussion of this evening appears in the comments section quite a few stories back: It is tonight’s exchange between TrueBlueDevil and Leigh Choate in which TBD asks for examples of Nancy Peterson’s “micromanaging and meddling” (bottom of the page).”

      1. SouthofDavis

        Growth Issue wrote:

        > You’re still reeling?

        The Petersons and their “supporters” like iPad Guy (who could very well be Dr. Peterson) are “reeling” that the whole plan to “get rid of a coach we don’t like” has spun out of control…

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    Last night (March 8, 2014), Ms. Leigh Choate takes us out of the Land of Fog and Innuendo, to give us five detailed “complaints” Nancy Peterson logged against DHS volleyball.

    This poster (TBD) surmised that NP complaints might be classified as micromanaging and meddling. The pettiness and badgering that allegedly transpired is galling. Over time, I’d say a pattern of bullying could be concluded by a rational person.

    I will condense Nancy Peterson’s “complaints”, and link to the thread “Breaking News: Nancy Peterson Resigns”, where you may read the full post at the bottom of the page.

    Leigh Choate: “Micromanaging and meddling are the perfect words. I would also add the program and Julie were under a strong microscope ( I have said this a few times before)”

    “There were never any CIF rule violations. That is in all coaches yearly evaluations, there is a portion that talks about meeting CIF standards and Julie has met that standard every season.”

    “The following were just a few of the complaints I witnessed as I was present for the 2012 season as a parent and as a mentor to Julie: All of which Nancy didn’t address with Julie directly but just went above her head to the AD, the principal, and/or the superintendent.”

    “1. There was a team spirit t shirt that had “go big blue” across the lower back of the shirt. Nancy argued that it was against dress code policy (it is a dress code violation at the junior high schools but not at DHS).

    “2. My parents hosted the traditional pancake breakfast … Julie cleared the breakfast with the AD and all the girls were to be responsible for getting there on their own … Most girls drove themselves….Nancy then took this above Julie’s head and claimed she was not following transportation rules.”

    “3. Julie hosted a free clinic for a young girl for her birthday. She wanted a volleyball themed party after being inspired after attending one of Julie’s volleyball camps. It was claimed that Julie was holding a social event without allowing proper facility use procedure even though it was during one of Julie’s regularly scheduled practices. See link below for the letter from the girls parents in the paper. The clinic was not mandatory for the DHS girls (once their official practice was over) and it was also offered as a community service opportunity for those players that participated.

    “4. Fundraising issue/mishandling funds: Nancy questioned where the fundraising earnings were going (especially since she had direct access to the Blue and White Foundation VB account and its balance). There was quite a bit of money in the account (as I had explained before, Nancy had called out the exact balance during the start of season parent meeting for all parents and players to hear … All the while Julie had been raising money to purchase a new net system for the North Gym … Julie has since purchased the new equipment for the school. Net systems run around $10,000.”

    “5. Nancy has not been quiet about the fact that she was angry at Julie for taking her team in a limo (that Julie paid for out of her own pocket) to a ropes team building course in Sonoma. The activity and transportation were cleared in advance. Nancy said she was misusing funds by taking the team there. … Julie decided to splurge on the team at her own personal expense so that they could have a fabulous and memorable day (all players went and had a great time).”

    “…I also feel like red flag buzz words were used to gain strength and were not really correct titles for the complaints. Just key words to get the attention of some administrators at the district level.”

  8. Mr. Toad

    Wow! Reading the linked letter I got choked up. Julie Crawford seems to be the kind of leader we want to honor for her dedication to the children of our community. She is the kind of person that should be held up as a model of what a teacher should be. She makes the title coach an honor to hold.It is shameful and depressing that she has had to suffer the wrath of Nancy Peterson. Please Dr. Peterson let it go already.

    1. iPad Guy

      It’s a very impressive endorsement. I think you’re appealing to the wrong person, however. The decision whether to overrule the DJUSD decision not to hire Coach Crawford is in the hands of the four trustees still on the school board. Dr. Peterson’s formal complaint has been filed, accepted and investigated, and a finding has been made. He no longer has any control over the complaint procedure, and never had a say in the hiring process or the appeal. He has nothing to give up.

      1. hpierce

        Your words are interesting… the “default” action would be for the board to approve the vsa…what is in play is a denial of that approval. Not “hiring”.

        1. hpierce

          Clarification… the default position for the Admin, would have been to recommend the approval of the VSA. The Board would only be to affirm or reverse the Admin recommendation.

          1. iPad Guy

            I don’t know how a “default action” is at play now. The administrator made the affirmative decision not to hire Coach Crawford. The coach is appealing that decision to he board. What is at play is the “not hire” decision of the administrator. Dr. Peterson can’t change that by “letting go” of something. Maybe the words are not so interesting after all.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      I concur. I’m surprised Mr. Dunning hasn’t referenced this illustrative and illuminating article from his own paper on the character of Coach Crawford and ‘her charges’.

      (I specifically use the term ‘her charges’ as that is one of the favorite terms of sportswriter Bruce Gallaudet of The Enterprise, who seems like a nice man … but dodges any story that seems to call for testicular fortitude.)

    3. Blue Devil by trade

      Julie Crawford is quite simply an amazing person. Much like all of us, Julie has made mistakes. Julie is one coach who is focused on developing the whole person- both mentally and physically. Pick a team, pick a sport, pick a level, pick a gender, pick a season. If any of us spent the time that the Petersons have on volleyball… there would be no coaches left. Why are there folks who expect coaches to be perfect? Notice the only people who have issues with Coach Crawford or any coach ALWAYS comes back to playing time or roster selection? Selfish. Sad. Divisive.

    1. Don Shor

      So if the board upholds the complaint, the Petersons will have established a remarkable precedent. If your kid is on a sports team, and you have issues with the coach (gee, I wonder how often that happens), just file complaint after complaint — no matter how trivial. That way, if any action is taken against your child, it is retaliation against you (the complainant). Complaints become a form of insurance. And making up a roster, or disciplining a player, becomes impossible.

      If the complaint is upheld, I urge the other coaches in the school district to engage in a show of support. Perhaps a work stoppage. Their working conditions would become untenable.

      1. iPad Guy

        Not that easy at all. Of course, retaliation requires a complaint in the first place, just by definition.

        Then, of course, retaliation requires an act of retaliation, not just “any act against a child…making up a roster, or disciplining a player.”

        Then, if course, the alleged retaliation needs to be investigated and the evidence and conclusion are judged by the highest level of district administration before the judgement is made. And, of course, employees have protections and rights that would be involved.

        So, in this case, have you confirmed for yourself that there was or wasn’t retaliation involved? That’s probably a basic requirement for jumping to your conclusions about untenable working conditions.

        Of course, everyone involved in the DJUSD system could be crooked and incompetent or both or worse. But, shouldn’t you have some evidence before you start calling for work stoppages.

          1. SouthofDavis


            I would be interested in seeing if you and David have the admin search ability to pull the number of posts iPad Guy has made and the number of posts defending the Petersons (it seems to me that 90% of his posts are defending the Petersons and bashing anyone that thinks they may be even 1% of the problem).

            After this last post I’m sure that he is either related to the Petersons or as eagle eye says a troll having fun getting a rise from others…

          2. Michelle Millet

            There is a difference between disagreeing and bashing. Can you show evidence of iPad bashing anyone? Bashing someones argument maybe, but not bashing the person making the argument.

          3. iPad Guy

            Do you really need a search? I can confirm for you that I–like several people here, including David, I’d guess–have written more on the Crawford-Peterson matter that any other single issue.

            I have the Petersons (with the notable exception of the children), the other school board members, the DJUSD administration and The Vanguard. I have disagreed with comments from lots of folks here, but I don’t think I’ve ever bashed anyone. I’ve tried to contribute to the debate in a constructive, non-emotional way.

            I’ve been charged with being a Peterson or an attorney (which is a worse insult in these discussions?), someone who signed up just to engage as a Peterson or their secret agent, or a troll commenting for the amusement of agitating some of you. None of these charges is true.

            I think the issues involved in this matter and in The Vanguard’s coverage of them are important to Davis. I’ll try to do better.

          4. iPad Guy

            I have criticized the Petersons (with the notable exception of the children), the other school board members, the DJUSD administration and The Vanguard.

          5. iPad Guy

            I agree, Don. It’s an easy thing to write because it’s so basic. Your claim that the board upholding Dr. Peterson’s complaint would establish some precedent that “any action is taken against your child…is retaliation” if it follows any complaint isn’t legitimate.

            I don’t even think the board is considering “upholding” the complaint at all.

            Isn’t Coach Crawford’s appeal simply regarding the administration decision not to rehire her? Calling for a coaches’ work stoppage if the board doesn’t decide in her favor is over the top.

            Good luck to you, too, Don.

          6. Don Shor

            Isn’t Coach Crawford’s appeal simply regarding the administration decision not to rehire her?

            No. No, it’s not. What you completely fail to grasp, through all these dozens and dozens of replies, is that it is not simply that, and hasn’t been for many days. And you do, in fact, distort what people say to make your points. That is another problem. The larger context long ago took over this issue, and your attempts to make it “simply” about anything — along with your astonishingly one-sided portrayal of everything from the Petersons’ viewpoint — makes many of us wonder about your motives and your actual honesty at this point. In my opinion, you are abusing the pseudonym policy of the Vanguard.

        1. hpierce

          Are you saying ANY poster on the Vanguard could influence how professional teachers/coaches act? Oh, yeah, duh, one person in a TRUE position of influence tried to do exactly that. My mistake.

          1. iPad Guy

            Yes, I think Don Shor is very influential in this community. I, myself, would trust him to prescribe for my sickest fruit trees.). Although I can’t see him leading a coaches’ work stoppage march through the town, he might be able to convince our teachers to speak out against a school board decision.

    2. Rich Rifkin

      Don, do you know if the “no retaliation” language is new, or if it is a statewide standard? What would be disturbing is if Mrs. Peterson had a hand in altering the code, and subsequently her family took advantage of that “no retaliation” situation.

      My suspicion is that it is probably not unique to Davis, and therefore not, in and of itself, a matter of manipulation by the Peterson family. To be clear, I am not excusing the Petersons. They clearly failed to understand how wrong they were to get in a fight with a district employee in support of their child, while Mrs. Peterson was on the Board. She had two reasonable choices: let your daughter fend for herself; or fighter her case for her after you quit the Board of Supes. The Petersons, alas, did not understand how wrong that was with a sitting member of the Board. And now, her late in the day resignation, while welcome, is too late to heal those most affected and others who care about an even playing field, and not one where a Board member has undue influence.

      FWIW, a neighbor of mine, who worked at a private girls high school in Sacramento, told me a story tonight about a situation at her school. She said the parents of one of the kids, who not only paid her full tuition, but were major donors at the school, threatened to withhold all funds, if a C earned by the daughter was not changed to a B. The teacher said that would not be fair to the other girls who did better work. Eventually, the principal got involved and forced the teacher to allow the donors’ daughter to do a “make up assignment,” which the principal would grade. The girl (shocking!) got an A on the make up assignment and her class grade was therefore an A for the semester.

      1. Don Shor

        A quick Google search finds prohibition of retaliation against complainants as pretty standard in policy guides everywhere. Such as in the Hughson CA school district: “The Board prohibits retaliation against complainants.” Here’s the DJUSD policy in a searchable format:

        Given the nature of the complaints as described by the other coach, I wonder if an act of retaliation for a specific complaint would require that it be, in fact, a valid complaint in the first place. It appears there is a long history bordering on harassment against the coaches, including petty complaints. Yet the coach is being disciplined for reacting to those complaints.

        This seems like a vexatious litigant suing for legal fees.

        Please tell me the private school in your story wasn’t a religious one…

          1. SouthofDavis

            TrueBlueDevil wrote:

            > BTW, an extra credit A, added into a C grade, doesn’t
            > get anyone to an A

            If anyone still thinks life is fair read the quote from the Stanford paper (I hope I don’t have to donate as much to get my kids in to Cal):

            “Margaret Bass ’02 as an example of a classic development case. Bass is the daughter of Robert Bass MBA ’74, who was the chair of the University’s Board of Trustees from 1996-2000 and donated $25 million to Stanford in 1991 and $50 million to the Graduate School of Business in 2005. According to an article by Golden published in the Wall Street Journal, Bass was ranked 40th in her class of 79 at Groton High School. Out of the nine students from Groton that applied to Stanford that year, she was the only one accepted, though she had the second lowest SAT score of the Groton applicant group. Her SAT score of 1220, out of 1600, was significantly lower than that of the typical Stanford student. When Bass applied in 1998, 75 percent of incoming freshmen had an SAT score of at least 1360. “She was admitted because of her last name, and because the family was a big, big donor to Stanford,” Reider said.”…

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            Ironically, in this case, I see nothing wrong with this admission. Her scores were within the larger applicant pool range … Stanford likely promotes diversity, which this would help promote in the true sense … and look at the financial implications. If $75 Million generates $7 Million a year in returns, that is no small figure.

            Stanford probably admits dozens of student-athletes, musicians, and low-income students with similar scores, or lower. And with these donations, Stanford can afford to let in dozens more deserving kids, and there may be more donations coming down the pike from this family. This is common sense.

        1. Rich Rifkin

          “Please tell me the private school in your story wasn’t a religious one…”

          It is a religious school. It also has a reputation as a very good academic institution. Yet I would think, if stories like the one I heard happen fairly often, its reputation would suffer.

  9. TrueBlueDevil

    Rich, I think we need to be careful when assigning reasonable thought processes, actions and ethics to the Peterson’s, because they have consistently not acted in such a fashion. It is indeed likely they knew “how wrong that was”, and didn’t give a flying Fred. It is even more likely that Mrs. Peterson sought out this position, on purpose, so that she could wield her almighty wisdom and insight. *cough*

    The 5 “complaints” Ms. Leigh Choate describe an individual who is incorrigible, petty, and flabbergasting. They really, if even only 80 percent true – take this discussion into a whole other realm and dimension, and I am not taking these words lightly.

    “The mind that alters, alters all.”

    1st Barron Acton said, “Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

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