Vanguard Analysis: Fallout from the Volleyball Controversy? Too Soon To Tell

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.

There is a lot of speculation as to what the fallout from the volleyball controversy will be, but a lot of that conjecture is premature, as we are still nearly 10 days away from the school board even hearing the appeal.  To my knowledge, the board has not even read the 72-page report from the investigator as of yet.

One thing we have seen posted in comments and have heard in various quarters is the notion that the public is going to withhold support for the parcel tax.

It appeared again today in Bob Dunning’s column when he printed a note he received, which stated, “I have spoken to several Davis voters who have stated that they will never cast a positive vote for any school bond, and the older ones are going to apply for the senior exemption for the first time.”

Most likely this is anger and frustration rather than reason talking.  After all, once again, we do not know what the outcome of this latest episode is just yet and, besides, it hardly seems the appropriate punishment to punish teachers and students who have nothing at all to do with this by forcing layoffs, higher class sizes and program reductions just because the athletic director, HR Director and possibly the superintendent did not handle a coaching situation in an ideal manner.

Those kinds of cuts are rarely going to lead to better decisions and a better environment for our kids.  So perhaps we can state categorically, let us not allow the kids to suffer for the errors of adults.

I have also heard whispers from some surprising quarters that this might also have an impact on the city council race, with one of the city council candidates having sat on the board of education for the last nine years.

Again, and I want to stress this point, I have spent a lot of time talking about the issue with Board President Gina Daleiden both on and off the record, and I believe that the board really wants to get this right.

As Ms. Daleiden has stated, since “the School Board is now acting in a quasi-judicial role in a current appeal process, we each have to maintain impartiality until the conclusion.”

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

As I wrote on Sunday, I am normally the first one to cast blame on public officials for failing to do their duties or taking the easy way out because it is more politically expedient.  But in this case – at least for now – I urge patience.

The board is actually in a far more precarious position than many wish to believe – they really lack the power outside of the appeals process to change much at this time.

Board President Gina Daleiden repeatedly used the term “quasi-judicial process” to describe the appeal, and whether they really are four judges, as she contends, that need to remain neutral is at least a debatable contention.

However, to my knowledge, the board has yet to read the investigator’s report, and they have yet to have a full-closed session discussion amongst the four of them.  Based on this, and based on the potential for lawsuit, it seems practical and wise that the board reserves full judgment until they have all of the facts at hand.

If the board fails to put this to a stop at the end of that process, then by all means, people should be critical of the board.  But we at least need to wait out the next ten days to see what happens.

Finally, I want to address other points that were raised yesterday to me in private.  The Vanguard is attempting to get to the bottom of what happened and how it transpired, and therefore we saw the post by Leigh Whitmire Choate as adding a good deal of information that was previously unknown to the public.

At the same time, we saw the discussion by Board Member Nancy Peterson as not adding to the discussion and we believe that each time she or her husband has spoken out, it has made things worse, not better.  Therefore, we rhetorically argued on Saturday that she and the community would be better off if she stayed silent and allowed the process to unfold.

On the other hand, we saw the opportunity to get new information out to the public as vitally important.  The public has unfortunately been given information in small increments, and that is a frustrating process for both the public and those whose jobs it is to get the information out.

It is along those lines that we received yet another criticism that argues that we have maligned Nancy Peterson, and do not have the full facts at our disposal.  Unfortunately, that is the nature of this kind of story – we do not have all of the facts at our disposal and what facts we do have generally come from parties that have a stake in the matter.

So, while I understand that we do not have the full picture, I think we have a full enough picture to evaluate the controversy as we did last week in “you make the call.”

What I continue to see is an ongoing dispute between two parties, one of whom is an elected member of the board of education, who long ago should have bowed out and allowed administrative staff and her colleagues to take the lead.

Again, even without knowing a lot of background information, I can evaluate Nancy Peterson’s public comment as unnecessary and inflammatory.

But if you believe that you have pertinent facts that have not come out, then the onus is on you to present them in a way that they get into the public discourse.  The idea that there are facts that only you are privy to, that will change the evaluation, sounds more convenient than true.  The facts need to get out and if they are game changers – all the more so.

Bottom line, there are a lot of good people in this community who have done great work over the years and I respect them and that work, but, at the end of the day, I cannot see a justification for how this process has unfolded, even if we accept for the moment a premise that Nancy Peterson is correct.

I hope in the end, that the school board can issue a strong enough ruling and statement to help mitigate the side issues.  I still believe that a restorative mediation process could help both sides in this matter move forward.

I’m not hopeful that this will occur, but I believe it to be the best thing for all involved and the community.

In the meantime, we will continue to try our best to determine what happened and to uncover new information.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

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

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  1. SODA

    David, believe you are being too kind to the Board and I think many posters including myself have enumerated actions the Board either took or didn’t take that illustrated their lack of leadership. Why now, in the face of this on going scandal, is the Board waiting until 3/13 to discuss and rule on the appeal. And to have not read the report to date?

    Don’t they want to resolve this if they can?

    1. David Greenwald

      Perhaps. But in the end, they either are going to fix this in ten days, or not. So let’s see what happens before we attack them.

      “Why now, in the face of this on going scandal, is the Board waiting until 3/13 to discuss and rule on the appeal. And to have not read the report to date?”

      I think you’re ignoring that there are procedural issues. They cannot discuss these matters outside of a scheduled and noticed meeting and the report is only available to them upon agreement to appeal.

      So I think we should wait and see, there will be plenty of time to criticize and second guess after their decision.

  2. Biddlin

    ” I still believe that a restorative mediation process could help both sides in this matter move forward.”
    Ms Peterson has shown no interest in taking any responsibility for her statements and actions. Coach Crawford has followed set procedures and been noticeably absent from the” controversy, created and nurtured by the Petersons. The only “restoration” possible would be to restore the coaching position to Ms Crawford and recall or at least formally censure Ms. Peterson. In a small community, I would think the Petersons are due a good shunning, as well.

    1. CBC

      As an outsider looking in (my child graduated from DHS and was greatly influenced by the academic challenge; wonderful faculty), I have to concur with Biddin’s assessment. It appears to me the Board was remiss in allowing the Petersons to proceed in such a manner.

      Stating Crawford was unfit to coach and then sending her daughter out for tryouts was a Catch 22 for Crawford; setting the stage for claiming discrimination. Sure looks like entrapment to me. If Choate’s statements are correct then the DHS administration has failed the faculty big time by not standing up to bullying. So far Crawford is the only person that lloks like an adult here.

  3. hpierce

    You neglect to point out that there could be FIVE judges… the other could legally participate, but morally, ethically, politically, and intelligently, should not. But it would be legal.

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    My fear is that the Peterson’s have pushed an “investigation” that makes a mountain out of a molehill, and dressed it up with emails and slights – all over an extended period – delivered on a silver platter by an attorney. Further, one of these slights will be tied to some regulation or bylaw, and they’ll use that as their justification.

    My hope is that the board will see through the Fog of Peterson to see the larger context with wisdom and maturity. This larger context may include a 4-year history of being hen pecked, badgered, and there are also serious allegations of harassment and bullying. Dr. Peterson himself doesn’t respect the decision made by the board last summer, so I’d include Mrs. Peterson in that sentiment. ( video)

    Can Julie Crawford publish the 72-page report, with redaction’s?

    Can we see the full 2-page Summary, since parties may have already waived attorney-client privilege?

    Are there 3rd party’s willing to do the right thing, and verify the allegations of Ms. Choate and Coach Crawford?

    1. David Greenwald

      “Can Julie Crawford publish the 72-page report, with redaction’s?”

      She can probably publish it without redactions if she has it. But I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

          1. TrueBlueDevil

            That strikes me as odd. So the report can be used to fire and tarnish her, but she can’t even check the veracity of what is alleged? Maybe it would come out as part of the discovery process if there were a lawsuit, which I hope there isn’t… I hope the board puts a stop to this nonsense.

            Then we need to put a stop to coaches being treated like pawns in the Helicopter Parents generation. Where does this nonsense end? Have you heard that a small percentage of parents today are actually going with their college-graduate children to their job interviews??!!

          2. Davis Progressive

            the report was only used to tarnish her because it was leaked to the press by the peterson’s in summary form. in terms of ability to check the veracity, i just an appeals process or a lawsuit would have to do that.

          3. hpierce

            OK… dumb question again, Ms Crawford is not currently facing the loss of her JOB, but ‘just’ the bonus of being a coach with a stipend. Yes?

          4. growth issue

            True hpierce, but do you think her reputation has been tarnished by the allegations?

  5. SODA

    Another aspect?

    If certain parties (Julie, Leigh, et al) knew of these issues, why didn’t they speak out during the campaign?
    Although hard to do, might that have avoided this at least at the Board level if the sentiment had led to a different election outcome? And it seems from what we heard yesterday that there was pressure going back quite a while…..

    1. hpierce

      Speaking out, as a public employee, is “theoretically” protected by ‘whistle-blower’ statutes. In the real world, good luck with that. At best, would bet it is a 50-50 proposition.

      1. iPad Guy

        They’re also protected by the First Amendment. They’re also protected by The Vanguard’s Law of Pseudonymnity. Together, these important freedoms make it closer to a 100-0 proposition.

        Everything we think we know firsthand about this long, awful history comes from Leigh Whitmire Choate’s Vanguard posts since Coach Crawford’s Enterprise “leaks” were all of positive personnel papers.

        I can think of reasons to keep silent–and there’s certainly no requirement that they speak up–but they must have contemplated a Peterson school board role with some terror if the current description of the free-flowing hate is accurate.

        Was Ms. Choate’s formal complaint against Ms. Peterson filed when she was a district employee or when she was on the board? Was Ms. Peterson “not rehired” at anytime during these battles? Did Ms. Crawford file any complaints against Ms. Peterson? How many complaints have been filed against each of these three by anyone?

    2. Leigh Whitmire Choate

      I did speak out during the campaign. I was told that Nancy had been advised to stay away from volleyball (then didn’t) but she would be kindly reminded again to stay away.

      1. iPad Guy

        Sorry I missed your comment while I was speculating on my own in response to other’s speculation. Did this admonition to “stay away from volleyball” go to Ms. Peterson before or after she was elected? Who had the authority to give her such an instruction?

        Do you mean “stay away” from the court, the coaches and players, the events, etc. or to recuse herself from any board business that involved the sport?

        So, back to complaints from these involved in the volleyball program:

        Was your formal complaint against Ms. Peterson filed when she was a district employee or when she was on the board? Was Ms. Peterson “not rehired” at anytime during these battles? Did Ms. Crawford file any complaints against Ms. Peterson? How many complaints have been filed against each of you three by anyone?

        1. Leigh Whitmire Choate

          It was a discussion I had with her campaign manager during volleyball tryouts before she was elected and was an effort to keep her from harping on vb constantly. It had nothing to do with recusal but just to leave vb alone other than just watching and being a normal parent in the program (if that makes sense, I can’t speak too much about it for fear of retribution)

          My formal complaint was against Ms Peterson when she was a board member. I got the outcome info and nothing more.

          if you mean rehired as a volleyball coach, no, but she wasn’t trying to continue t coach at that time, she was running for school board and had just stepped down as president of blue and white

          when you say complaints do you mean formal? If so the only two I know about are the Peterson complaint toward Julie and my complaint toward Nancy. I don’t know of any other formal complaints.

          1. Leigh Whitmire Choate

            sorry it was during the election, after re-reading I realized that was not clear. Girls vb starts in Aug and lasts through the start of November. The discussion I had was in late August/early sept after teams were made

          2. iPad Guy

            Thank you for clarifying. Did Ms. Peterson use the volleyball program as a campaign issue? (Did your lack of success in getting her to “stay away from volleyball” help you come to the realization that most campaign managers are full of …?)

            Some have commented that the investigation into your complaint must not have been handled properly by the administration if it didn’t cost the district anything close to handling Dr. Peterson’s. Do you think your complaint investigation was handled in an appropriate manner?

            Was your grievance about something that Ms. Peterson did as a school board members you personally, or was it a complaint about some more general matter in the way she was handling business?

            What were the approximate dates of the complaint and finding–where did these events fall with respect to the Peterson/Crawford timeline?

            Was the issue resolved, and were you satisfied at that point?

          3. iPad Guy

            “…something that Ms. Peterson did as a school board member TO you personally….”

          4. Leigh Whitmire Choate

            I dont think my complaint was handled as well as it could have been, and I feel that it was swept under the rug and deemed unimportant even though district knew this was occurring.

            It was a complaint regarding how Nancy was treating my daughter (in my opinion bullying) because she was mad at volleyball and at me and was taking it out on her and on other adults and players (including myself and Julie). I made this all clear in my complaint.

            The only reason I mention my daughter is I don’t want to be misleading regarding the complaint but I would like to keep her out of this discussion.

            The issue was not resolved in my opinion. It was last spring when I filed my complaint and at the time I was teaching physical education full time and was the department chair at DHS.

            As far as the timeline, it would have been sometime during the boys season last year after Julie was “re-hired” (after the first attempt to have Julie removed) and during the club volleyball season that runs November thru June.

            hope this helps

          5. TrueBlueDevil

            Yikes. I am sorry to hear about what you have had to go through. I haven’t read “the report”, so I can only judge what I have seen, read, and heard, over and over again. (And schools are where we have all of these anti-bully education?)

            One could think that you, Coach Crawford, the assistant coaches, almost all of both teams, and your Father are engaged in some grand scheme.

            Or, one could think that a few individuals who feel entitled had a dose of real life, and losing that entitlement set off this drama, and at will employees steered clear out of fear, common sense, and self preservation.

            Maybe there is a middle ground. Maybe Coach Julie had some brisk words for Mrs. Peterson on a few occasions. But that is no smoking gun.

            Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

          6. iPad Guy

            Sorry that the district didn’t find a satisfactory resolution to your complaint.

            There’s not much worse than the feeling that one’s concerns get swept under the rug–I don’t think this qualifies as being “handled as well as it could have been.”

            Since this happened between the board’s actions on Coach Crawford and the cutting from the team, it’s obvious the DJUSD administration should have been fully sensitized and hard-at-work to get things mediated some way.

            I’ve got one more specific: Do you think that the actual investigation was extensive enough to evaluate your complaint (regardless of the shortcomings you see in the actions)?

  6. TrueBlueDevil

    Leigh Whitmire Choate states that she filed a complaint against Mrs. Peterson. Do we know if there were any other complaints filed against her?

    1. iPad Guy

      Have either of you asked Leigh Whitmire Choate for details about her complaint and the findings?

      Do you really want public notification of all the complaints filed with the superintendent. I understand this is no small number, that many are unfounded and/or are resolved and that the parties usually rely on confidentiality in the process. Or, is it just an accounting of all complaints against Nancy Peterson you seek?

      David, did you ask for information about all complaints against Coach Crawford in your records request?

      1. David Greenwald

        The district cannot provide information about complaints, they can provide numbers, costs, and things like that. We’ll see what we get. I have asked for a general number and an idea really of how many of them end up with an investigation and an outside investigator.

        1. iPad Guy

          I don’t think, then, that you were being at all responsive to TrueBlueDevil’s question about how many complaints have been filed against Ms. Peterson.

          Interesting that you got specifics about costs for this one. Maybe you could ask, “How much has it cost to deal with all complaints about Coach Crawford.” Oh, sorry, I meant, “…about Board Member Peterson?”

          1. David Greenwald

            I sent very specific questions to the district, I’m being cautious as to what I put out here until I get a response. I hope that makes sense to you.

          2. iPad Guy

            Lots of stuff you say and do makes sense to me, and this certainly does.

            So, just accept my questions and TrueBlueDevil’s as our suggestions for you to handle in your spare time.

            Mine mostly was to suggest that you not limit your investigation only to matters that might end up supporting your already-announced, sole-contributor theory in this mess.

  7. TrueBlueDevil

    The $22,000 is chump change. I’d like to see Mr. Greenwald or another writer try to piece together a total cost for this whole fiasco. Add in the cost of the forthcoming original complaint, from Ms. Choate. Add in legal costs after the $22,000 figure was released.

    Then, add in internal costs for the AD, Superintendent, staff, etc., who are already stretched thin. This whole fiasco could easily top $100,000.

    What can’t be calculated are the lost opportunities in teaching, mentoring, leadership, and brainstorming while the numerous individuals are tangled in this drama.

  8. iPad Guy

    “I have also heard whispers from some surprising quarters that this might also have an impact on the city council race, with one of the city council candidates having sat on the board of education for the last nine years.”

    Whispers?! Don’t you read The Vanguard? Sheila Allen’s performance as president and member (and council candidacy impact) has been mentioned repeatedly in more than secret whispers.


    “Based on this, and based on the potential for lawsuit, it seems practical and wise that the board reserves full judgment until they have all of the facts at hand.”

    This is the second time you’ve threatened a lawsuit in the future? From whom, against whom, on what basis, for what purpose?


    “I hope in the end, that the school board can issue a strong enough ruling and statement to help mitigate the side issues. ”

    What could you be talking about here? The so-called “side issues” have been repeatedly presented as main issues.

    The school board will make a decision on whether to overturn the administration’s decision not to rehire Coach Crawford. The discussion will be in private and will consider information from the appellant and the administration. The public statement will be minimal, terse and will make every effort to avoid any “side issues.”

    Whatever decision gets made will cause serious consternation in the community, satisfying almost no one who has been engaged making impassioned statements in The Vanguard or in The Enterprise letters or columns.

    Regardless of the board’s action, expressions supporting Coach Crawford and demonizing the Peterson family will continue for weeks. However, recent attempts to jack up the stakes of the board’s decision (threats of lawsuits and personal tax vote decisions) will dissipate.

    Somewhere down the road, board members and district employees will pay their individual prices for this debacle, mostly based on the so-called side issues that won’t even be considered in the board’s deliberations about the appeal.

    No “strong ruling and statement to help mitigate the side issues” could do more than worsen things–the blood is in the water.

    1. David Greenwald

      “Whispers?! Don’t you read The Vanguard? Sheila Allen’s performance as president and member (and council candidacy impact) has been mentioned repeatedly in more than secret whispers.”

      Don’t I get any poetic license from you?

      1. iPad Guy

        Jeezez, you ask for a lot. Okay, sometimes you’re just a little too subtle, though. You should give some notification just before you go all Dunning on us.

        P.S.–how are you doing on collections for the current Vanguard parcel tax?

          1. iPad Guy

            Well, you’ve convinced me. The check’s in the mail (rather, the Visa is). You’ll need to get a few more, though.

  9. PhilColeman

    Has there been any definitive instruction published on how exactly the appeal process will proceed? I recall it being described as a closed session hearing. If there was additional procedural direction, I missed it.

    A 72-page document presumably would require some time to read, independently analyze, formulate some follow-up questions and comments for subsequent Board deliberation and ruling. The logical assumption would be that Board Members would be given copies of the investigation sometime prior to the hearing date to effectively and fairly digest the contents.

    Now to the appellant. Is Julie Crawford to be given advanced opportunity to examine the investigation content and conclusions to allow her the chance to research and rebut points of dispute or potentially flawed conclusions drawn by the investigator? There are a host of statutes, case law, administrative proceeding precedents, and the 14th Amendment that would support such a gesture–and used in a later legal action should they not.

    Finally, is the Appellant allowed to have legal counsel with her during the closed session?

    1. TrueBlueDevil

      PhilColeman, excellent questions. A lot of spaghetti can be thrown after 4-plus years that only an insider can truly get their hands around. (Anything can be planted in a personnel file, unless the gov’t has different protocol than the private sector.)

      Regarding iPad Guy’s questions about a potential lawsuit.

      My understanding is that board members get a small stipend (I could be wrong). So if Mrs. Peterson were to lose her position, I don’t see the damages. Before her current role, my understanding is that she has been a part-time, unpaid community volunteer.

      Coach Crawford makes a nominal amount for living her passion, coaching volleyball. Two teams a year is approx $4-5,000 per year in lost wages, and possibly pension implications on top of that. The Wild Card would be defamation charges for impacting her role as both PE teacher and volleyball coach per Mrs. Peterson – in a position of authority – questioning her “integrity” and her husband publishing their claim that she is “incompetent”. I’m not sure if there is any double whammy for both slander and libel, it seems both might exist. I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure if this were found to be malicious, if there would be additional or treble damages. Unsure how the lawyers fees would break / who would pay.

      The daughter lost her position on the team, but that happens to millions of children a year in competitive school sports. This is not the pros, so I see no damages.

      Dr. Peterson may lose some stature and clients as this drama continues, but he has played a very active role in inserting himself into this situation, so while there may be damages, they are self-inflicted.

      The DJUSD may be a party to any potential legal action, see Mrs. Peterson (above). I don’t think any of the individual board members will be liable, if they were found to act within the scope of their jobs, but the time, effort, stress, pressure, lost sleep, and drama has undoubtedly taken a toll on them all. This can’t be fun.

      Restorative Justice sure sounds like a wise man’s choice, I just don’t see the Peterson’s giving up the ghost. I haven’t read the 72-page report, so that is one major caveat … Mr. Coleman may be able to find some holes in my logic.

      1. iPad Guy

        “…based on the potential for lawsuit….”

        “The DJUSD may be a party to any potential legal action….”

        Still curious what David and you see as potential pleadings for a lawsuit involving the board.

        I think you’re both implying that the board better be careful about a lawsuit from Coach Crawford based how it handles the appeal. But, what are you getting at, specifically?

        1. David Greenwald

          This was the closed session item for last week: “a. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL- EXISTING LITIGATION [Gov. Code §54956.9(a)] Crawford/Peterson Appeal Procedures”

          1. PhilColeman

            Interesting choice of words. Probably, this is boiler-plate wording necessary to legally justify being in closed session, not a lawsuit has already been filed.

            Comments urging caution, noting that no lawsuit has been filed–or even threatened as far as anybody knows–are well taken. However, today’s reality is that any employer risks litigation in just about any personnel action that could be construed as being harmful to the affected employee.

            I’m no fly on the wall, but I’ll absolutely guarantee you that sequestered Board discussions for this pending appeal included discussions with house counsel on legal exposure. (It’s a LOT).

            And since district counsel and the chosen investigative receives paychecks from the same source, district counsel is compromised in terms of objectivity–another incredibly stupid move, but who’s counting?

          2. iPad Guy

            Agree that counsel on legal exposure likely always accompanies such private sessions. Of course, attorneys give such advice frequently in open meetings. The board obviously will be receiving and accepting legal advice on every move they make.

            I’m curious how David views this routine practice, why he raised to the level of a warning to the board.

          3. TrueBlueDevil

            PhilColeman – Can you define or elaborate on legal exposure “Its a LOT”? Thanks.

          4. PhilColeman

            I could, but won’t, for fear of being portrayed as supportive or encouraging a legal action by the appellant.

            I will say that tort action by anybody is an undesirable option. There is a Solomon-like decision available to the Board. The question becomes if they have the courage and political capital to do it. And, no, I won’t to that question, too.

          5. iPad Guy

            Please seal in an envelope and send to David along with your next Vanguard support donation for future verification.

            Whatever it is better not take much political capital ’cause there doesn’t seem to be much available to this group.

            But, profiles in courage can be summoned up anytime.


            I once read of an olden days obstetrician whose prediction ability was renowned. He’d inform the parents that they could plan on, say, a girl, then seal up his guess in an envelope marked by the parents and drop it in the medical file. If his girl guess turned out correct, his fame increased. If a boy showed up, he’d still claim credit and be able to pull out the identifiable sealed envelope to verify his” boy” guess. “Perhaps you misremembered our discussion.”

          6. TrueBlueDevil

            One option might be to have Coach Peterson coach any team where there is no Peterson child involved. But that might send the signal that the those involved in chicanery can run the board.

          7. iPad Guy

            Are you really claiming that listing the Gov. Code title that justifies a closed session item (“Crawford/Peterson Appeal Procedures”) means they’re undertaking an undisclosed item about potential lawsuits?

            Do you have anything else to gives you some belief that a potential suit against the district is a consideration for the board?

        2. TrueBlueDevil

          I’m no lawyer, so I could easily be wrong … but if Nancy Peterson is sued for defamation, since she was acting at the time as a board member of the DJUSD, at a DJUSD meeting, in an official meeting, can’t they be part of the Complaint (lawsuit)?

          And if Nancy Peterson didn’t follow the protocol and procedures with her “issues” with Coach Crawford, jumping the shark to go for the jugular, I don’t know what category that fits … retaliation, abuse of power, wrongful termination?

          1. PhilColeman

            I’m no lawyer either. But I’ve been told by numerous skilled ones that are–defamation of character lawsuits are exceptionally hard to win. Rarely, is such a lawsuit even filed.

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            The statements or statements have to be published, false, and injurious. I don’t know how a 2x COY and 4-time league champion is “incompetent” or had a “lack of integrity”. If one is a public official, you have to prove acting with malice. NP is a public official, not sure about Coach Crawford. Even if we say CC is a public official, NP personal and professional shots at board meetings, their allegations in their complaint, and then Dr. Peterson publishing it both to The Enterprise and iSeeDavis is calculated and repetitive. Also, this is not a drunk fan at a vb game tossing an insult. This is an elected official, and a respected Doctor.

            This is where a negotiated peace might be most beneficial

          3. Jim Frame

            jumping the shark to go for the jugular

            As an aside, “jumping the shark” refers to the point at which some endeavor (typically creative) begins to decline in quality. It harkens to an episode of the TV show “Happy Days” when the show’s writers had the character Fonzie jump over a shark on water skis, a cheap and ridiculous stunt marking a desperate effort to regain viewer interest in a show that had lost its way.

          4. Jim Frame

            Now that I think more about it, I guess the expression does have some applicability above. At first it didn’t seem like it.

    2. iPad Guy

      A few more wonderings:

      1. Wouldn’t the administration be inside the room with the major burdens of briefing the board, justifying its decision not to rehire Julie Crawford, responding to issues and questions raised by her and/or attorney (if there) and helping the board plan to announce and implement its decision?

      2. Is it possible that the investigation report itself won’t be the gigantic issue that our daily musings suggest? We’ve thoroughly hashed out its proof standards, investigator conflicts, price, number of pages, etc., without even knowing what’s there. What we think we “know” comes from a few sentences of the notification letter.

      Furthermore, we don’t know what went into the administration’s decision not to rehire the coach. We get to assume, but the board will want to know and understand much each element weighed in the considerations.

      3. How much does the board’s decision depend only on the “evidence” they’re presented as a “quasi-judicial body? Do considerations such as supporting the DJUSD leadership or being responsive to public expressions have a place?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        I’d think it would take a while to digest 72 pages, as well as the veracity, for both the board and Coach Crawford… if she is allowed to read it.

        You’re right, we don’t know what is in it and there is some misinformation. We had a former player on the team write a Letter to the Editor to the DE claim that NP’s daughter was the only senior cut. It was immediately rebutted by someone who appears to be close to CC. So what is the truth on this simple item? And I’m suspicious when 3 LTTE come out in favor of the Peterson’s on the same day… but hey, maybe the mafia did take out JFK.

        1. iPad Guy

          I realize that you’re acknowledging your own conspiracy theory, but it is that “somebody close to the school board” already has read and used the confidential information in a letter to The Enterprise?

          1. iPad Guy

            I was appreciating your grassy knoll humor, plus…

            My serious question is whether you think that “somebody close to the school board” has seen the 72-page report, and the information is getting into letters to the editor. I was unclear about the conspiracy.

          2. TrueBlueDevil

            No, I don’t know of anyone seeing the most famous 72-page document in Davisville’s history. The LTE was written by (supposedly) a DHS student, who claimed that NP’s daughter was the only senior cut from the team. Hours later, someone familiar with the situation alleges this is false. This is a simple fact we can’t nail down.

            My grassy knoll reference was an attempt at humor. While I have have observed and ultimately lean towards one side of this drama, and further information, tapes, and acts continue to confirm my judgement, I realize there may be a smoking gun or information that counters my conclusion. I think it is possible, but not probable.

  10. Grassroots

    I am guessing Ms. Peterson you and your family must be feeling really scorched and scared. You must be heartbroken. Your daughter did not get to play volleyball and some in the community are convicting you. None of your elaborate efforts helped. You and your husband failed the biggest mommy-daddy test to make your daughter a winner. Instead, you and your husband are perceived by some as wrong, vengeful and harmful to the community. Anger and more anger must flow from the cuts and punches of the community’s words. How do you protect your family from the back lash. How do you repair the harm done. Ms. Peterson my words are not easy to read but I say them to you because they are said about you. This incident does not represent who you are.

    I know you are a part of my community and you have contributed many valuable services to my community from which I indirectly benefit. I want you in my community as well as Ms. Crawford. What do we do to make this right. If you have been following the Vanguard comments then you must know I support a process called Restorative Justice. I think that we can heal this conflict and move to a higher level of personal and community wellbeing.

    1. iPad Guy

      Wow, Grassroots, what an impressive, empathetic statement to post in the midst of the vicious discussion that’s been going on for more than a week!

      Some will see your comments as an amazing defense of the indefensible.

      I see them as a welcome break from the innuendo, name-calling and unsupported charges that have come to define the discussion in The Vanguard.

      I’d guess that the Peterson family (and, possibly, Coach Crawford) will find your words easy to read, not hard, and appreciate how you can see beyond the blame and charges we’ve been reading. Perhaps they will make a difference sometime down the road.

      1. Don Shor

        Some will see your comments as an amazing defense of the indefensible.

        No, I would see it as side-stepping the indefensible. Generally I would expect processes such as she described would occur after parties have acknowledged their responsibilities in creating the situation. That hasn’t happened.

        1. iPad Guy

          We are complete alignment again, finally, if it matters. Since none of the acts under discussion are very defensible–and this is not to suggest anything is otherwise equivalent–there will be a lot of restorative justice opportunity AFTER the board acts.

          I was complimenting Grassroots both on her empathetic insight and on her courage in posting such comments here in the face of all that’s already been written.

    2. TrueBlueDevil

      The problem right now, my guess, is the Peterson’s see themselves as the “winners” who only have to wait for the Appeal to be shot down. They have the decision, and a 72-page glossed up report from a fancy Sacramento law firm… that coincidentally found against Ms. Choate last year. If they succeed, they will see themselves as vindicated after 1 year, and then they or their proxy will probably go after Coach Crawford’s girl’s vb VSA.

      Maybe if the board finds in Coach Crawford’s favor, there can be a “peace” brokered.

    3. Fremontia

      Not restorative justice the school district needs to apply the Viable Systems Model to solve this problem with a giant kumbya.

      Then again we could use the system we have in place and hope that the truth will set us free. I guess it ultimately depends on whether the school board knows right from wrong or at least recognizes that the well is going to run dry if the only thing spewing out of the school board is hatred and disrespect of the staff.

  11. TrueBlueDevil

    There are three op-ed pieces in the Davis Enterprise today.

    The op-ed by volleyball parents Jamie and Kirsten Gilardi is different in that they don’t roll around in the mud with picky details. Instead, they cite the negative realities of life that these DHS volleyball players have learned from this ‘coaching scandal’. I’ll put the life lessons here.

    Title: Our kids are learning important life lessons
    By Special to The Enterprise; Jamie and Kirsten Gilardi

    “Initially, we were concerned about our 16-year-old and her friends having to struggle with a blatantly broken hierarchy — especially the deeply unfair and unprofessional treatment of their mentors, coaches and teachers. But given the level of maturity among DHS students, we find ourselves increasingly thankful that these events at Davis High School are, in fact, teaching our kids important life lessons, well beyond those in the classroom. To wit:

    * If one individual in a group like our school board overlooks his/her personal conflicts-of-interest, it doesn’t mean that the other members will have the courage to bring that to their attention or to demand appropriate action.

    * Just because a person or a group is at the top of a hierarchy doesn’t mean he or she will take responsibility for his or her actions (or inactions).

    * Bureaucrats are often expert at reframing discussions, which conveniently absolve them of responsibility for the messes they’ve created (i.e., should the board even be discussing a ham-handed appeal process, or simply vote on renewing this coach’s contract and be done with this whole mess?).

    * Performing well in your job — both in reality and in your performance reviews — does not always mean you’ll get to keep your job.

    * Bullies are often comfortable with and clever about 1. pretending they are not in a position of power, and 2. playing the victim.

    * Having the facts on your side doesn’t mean your argument wins the day — sadly, you may still have to fight for your cause.

    * Do not expect staff or administrators to do the “right” thing, especially if, by doing so, they fear losing their own job.

    * Even in healthy communities with great school systems, one aggressive bad apple can do a great deal of damage.

    * And maybe most sadly of all, some parents are not above using their own children’s names and reputations to drive their agenda forward (while blaming others for doing so).

    “It took us decades out in the real “adult” world to learn such important life lessons. What a gift our community has given our young adults by providing such helpful demonstrations of these all-too-common human foibles … before they even graduate from high school!”


    Finally, some parents have spoken.

  12. TrueBlueDevil

    An interesting defamation case in San Jose found in favor of a PE teacher was was referred to as a “perv” and “creeper” by students and parents. The jury in November 2013 awarded John Fischler over $360,000, which doesn’t include punitive damages which will be awarded because one defendant acted with malice. The case began in 2011 when administrators at Holy Spirit school in Almaden Valley cleared Fischler of misconduct charges.

    The Mercury News reported: “The lawsuit contended he was the victim of a “conspiracy” by “classic parent bullies” and their daughters, including a popular girl he described as having a “gang-leader-like personality,” to get him fired from the private Catholic school where he was an at-will employee.”

    “…Fischler claimed several other causes of action, including negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” There could be causes of action which include wrongful termination; intentional interference with economic advantage; and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.

    This is all quite negative, and shows the advantages of a peaceful settlement (restorative justice?).

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