Written by Nicholas Vetrisek
San Diego Unified School District board member Kevin Beiser is now back in the classroom after being credibly accused last year of sexual harassment by four men. Despite settling one of the cases in civil court, effectively paying off the accuser, he’s now being allowed to teach again at Castle Park Middle School in Chula Vista.
Sweetwater Union High School District spokesman Manuel Rubio said that the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing reviewed the incidents and saw nothing that should prevent him from teaching. “There were no findings from that investigation…At that point, he is entitled to come back,” explained Rubio.
Throughout the investigation, many others felt differently about the allegations. Beiser’s fellow SDUSD board members called for his resignation, with board trustee John Lee Evans saying it was “frustrating” that they had no way to remove him due to his refusal to step down. The call for Beiser’s resignation was bipartisan, but the SDUSD board lacked the capability and willingness to force him out.
As a result of this controversy, San Deigo City Councilmembers are pushing for a ballot measure to prevent this situation from repeating itself. City Councilmembers Chris Cate and Vivian Moreno are forwarding a measure that would apply the same accountability standard to school board members that other city officials adhere to by allowing the City Council to remove them.
The actions that allow for city officials to be removed include dereliction of duty, the conviction of a serious crime, or physical or mental incapacitation. There is no question that Beiser acted in dereliction of duty, and it’s certainly arguable that he committed a serious crime—even if he was able to weasel his way out of it in civil court.
The fact that he’s returning to the classroom in an unacceptable embarrassment, which has become something of a norm for some of our local government school districts. If only there was some way to give children better opportunities to achieve educational success…
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story suggested that Kevin Beiser teaches in the San Diego Unified School District. It has been updated to explain that he teaches in Chula Vista.