How Long Did the MDUSD Know About the Child Molestation Allegations Against Elementary School Teacher Joe Martin?

July 3, 2013 9:28 am · 109 comments

Ever since exclusively reported on the arrest of Woodside Elementary teacher Joe Martin for child molestation, many commenters on Claycord, who are familiar with Martin, have been saying they had a bad feeling about the long-time teacher, and even told the district about their suspicions several years ago.

It is unclear when the Mt. Diablo Unified School District was notified about Martin’s alleged abuse, if at all, but one commenter says “The teachers did report these suspicions, starting several years ago, there was even an investigation several years ago by MDUSD (according to them) and nothing ever happened.”

Another person said she wants answers, too. “What is the responsibility of the MDUSD and Woodside now to contact all former students and parents? The news report states that the investigation has been on-going since April. As I stated before by child was in Mr. Martins class. I have not been contacted and can’t find anything on Woodside’s or MDUSD’s websites. I would not have known of this if it wasn’t for my older child seeing this on I have a very strong feeling that there are more victims and children who have information. Should not every parent and/or student be notified immediately?

In an effort to try and get some answers and clarification, emailed Interim MDUSD Superintendent Bernard & the MDUSD Board (Linda Mayo, Cheryl Hansen, Brian Lawrence, Barbara Oaks and Lynn Dennler), asking them if they could confirm that a complaint, or more than one complaint was made against Joe Martin. We also asked them when the alleged complaint was made, what the outcome was, and if the authorities were contacted?

So far, nobody has responded. If the public school district decides to talk, we’ll let you know.

As of right now, Joe Martin is still listed as a teacher on the website of Woodside Elementary, and the MDUSD hasn’t made a statement to say whether or not Joe Martin is still getting a paycheck from the district.

UPDATE: About 40 minutes after this story was posted, received an email from a person with knowledge of this case, who said the district did receive at least one complaint six years ago, and they claim the mandatory reporting to CPS and the police department was not done.

The MDUSD has yet to respond.


TeamUSA July 3, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Homeschooling + everything else > MDUSD

My kids are not going to this school district. I am done.

a mothers heart July 3, 2013 at 9:40 AM

My child was in his class in the last several years. Although I never saw anything unusual,( I volunteered in the class regularly), I am very upset if the district knew of prior complaints. They contact us with any suspicious behaviour, yet on this, we have had no comments or offers of support from the district. Yes, I know the 12 kids involved have been offered counseling, but what about the rest of us? How do we best answer the comments and questions coming from our kids? I feel very betrayed.

Anon July 3, 2013 at 9:40 AM

The district is prohibited by law from discussing personnel matters. The district’s silence is signifying nothing. July 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

@Anon, that is not true. When Bruce Cottrell (the rapist teacher from Diablo View Middle School) was arrested, the school held a meeting for parents & guardians. So far, nobody has heard nothing from the district or the school about Martin.

The Blame Game July 3, 2013 at 9:45 AM

School sites handle their own websites, and no one is on site again until August. Either an employee, or oftentimes a PTA member, is in charge of the website. Some schools haven’t updated their websites in years.

Of course the district isn’t commenting. They never do until they report out after closed session, and they can’t give too much detail because they don’t want to be sued. Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s a holiday week, and if you walk into Dent you’d be lucky to find a dozen people at their desks.

The district does plenty that is wrong. Here’s something that went right – this guy is out of the classroom and in jail. People’s suspicions do not equal evidence. If they were so sure this guy was dirty, why didn’t they follow through until there was an arrest? Are they feeling guilty for not doing more, like calling the police themselves, and now want to blame someone higher up?

What more do you want the district to do? Why does it seem like you’re looking for blood? July 3, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Not looking for blood, but as I, and as a commenter said before me, the district held a meeting at Diablo View Middle School for parents to talk about the rapist Bruce Cottrett, before he was convicted. So saying the district doesn’t comment on matters like this simply isn’t true.

This is a PUBLIC school district, and we should get answers to ALL of our questions. The district knew about the arrest of Joe Martin before it even happened, on Thursday afternoon. They’ve had plenty of time to comment, not only to the media, but also to the alleged victims, students and concerned parents.

PeaceXOX July 3, 2013 at 9:46 AM

And what I think is very telling and absolutely unconscionable is that the district has not reached out to the Woodside families at all through any of this! Not the general community and not the victims! After Cottrell they had a whole diablo view community meeting with the principal and key district personnel . Now nothing!!?? They have district staff on hand when a kid reports a suspicious car and now nothing?!! This district deserves to be sued and should be ashamed of themselves!

I want to hear from Jennifer Sachs , the previous principal! What did she know and when?

Anon1 July 3, 2013 at 9:54 AM


I’m not surprised that the district has done nothing. Cheryl Hansen’s reign of terror has eliminated the people who dealt with the Cottrell situation. My guess is that the district is frozen due to total incompetence and a complete failure of leadership. Everyone was sooooo happy to crap on the former Superintendent and General Counsel. Are those chickens I see on their way home to roost?

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Many times, interested parties are prohibited by law from discussing the situation until allegations are proven true/false. I find it doubtful that you are aware of what has transpired between the D.A. and the school district, or whether or not a gag order has been put in effect, due to the sensitive nature. MDUSD is not required to answer your questions, in fact, they may be prohibited from it. This is relatively common knowledge. Their silence means nothing. July 3, 2013 at 10:02 AM

@Former Student, the District Attorney received the case on Tuesday (yesterday), therefore, no “gag order” would have been put in place when we asked our questions.

And like I said, they can talk about cases like this, because the MDUSD, and Diablo View Middle School had a meeting for all parents to discuss the rapist teacher Bruce Cottrell, who had sex with one student before he was convicted. This case involves 12 students, and he’s charged with 91 felonies!!!! Somebody needs to say something!

You may think the silence means nothing, but to many parents who have or had children at Woodside, it means everything.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM

You’re just making noise when in fact you don’t have a direct contact regarding the case and you DON’T know what’s being going on behind closed doors. None of us do. You allude to ONE specific case (Cottrell) and assume that it was some kind of precedent and all following cases must follow suit. That’s not the way the court system works. Get over it. July 3, 2013 at 10:11 AM

@Former Student, you have no idea what I know about this case.


MyHeartGosOut July 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Why isn’t this crime on the NEWS?! A teacher is a molester and MDSUD isn’t acting fast enough about these horrific actions. I’m confused about MDSUD being lax on the situation. Yes, this animal is in jail, but the questions is what about all the children in previous years who took his class. Are they okay, do they know other children have been molested? This information should of immediately been reported to everyone in all districts. Does the well being of our children get pushed aside because people are afraid of being sued!!!!?

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM

P.S. Over 15 years ago, I WAS a student there. My parents ” had children at Woodside,” not just me, but my younger brother, as well as other family members. Additionally I have family members who work for MDUSD. However, none of us are naive enough to assume that the district is under obligation to discuss the nature of this case until there is more of a consensus on what has actually occurred. July 3, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Of course they are obligated to say something. They are a PUBLIC school district, and this guy is being charged with 91 felonies!! Why would they hold a special town hall meeting about Bruce Cottrell but they won’t say a word about Martin?

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM

To be quite honest, you “have no idea” what I know about this case. July 3, 2013 at 10:17 AM

I didn’t accuse you of not knowing anything.

Pinky July 3, 2013 at 10:13 AM

This is not strictly a personnel matter. The district owes the stakeholders, in this case the students and their parents, an explanation of what happened and what they are doing about it. Come on people we’re not talking about a teacher stealing supplies, he’s been accused of 91 felony counts of child molestation! He was a teacher at an elementary school who molested more than one child. Based on the information we have (his charges) we can see that it was not an isolated event. If the district had ANY idea what they were doing they would release some kind of statement and hold a town hall event but they don’t seem to care about the people they are supposed to be serving.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:21 AM

I simply stated you that you obviously don’t know what discussions having taking place behind closed doors. Which is perfectly true, as your main source of information seems to be sending emails to the board members of MDUSD. Whether you like it or not, the district does not have a legal obligation to relinquish information to anyone, especially in a case such as this, where a bias can be departmental to the outcome of the case. The latter being the most obvious and likely reason that they’ve yet to comment. July 3, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Like I said, you have absolutely no idea what I know about this case. How can my main source of information be from sending emails to the district when I haven’t received a response from them?

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

They are not legally obligated to make any statements. Statements at this stage would be purely opinion and could cause a bias. If you are under the false assumption that the district is under legal obligation to comment at this stage you HIGHLY disillusioned. July 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

I never said they were legally obligated to make statement, so stop putting words into my mouth. But morally, they should. They owe it to concerned parents & students.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:26 AM

You keep stating that “this is what they did with Cottrell.” ONE case does not set the precedent for each subsequent case. You can’t honestly believe you have any legal standing ground when you make such absurd statements.

Antler July 3, 2013 at 10:27 AM

He is to be arraigned this morning (Wednesday), so perhaps we will hear specifics shortly after the formal charges are a matter of court record.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:27 AM

Additionally, excessive expletives really do not assist in getting your point across. July 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM

What are you talking about “expletives”?

What year did he start at Woodside? July 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Still looking for what year he started at Woodside? Someone mentioned ’97? Is that correct? This would be so very helpful to know. I’m sure many parents of former Woodside students would like to know the year for certain.

Yay - No More Kids In MDUSD July 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

When has MDUSD ever done anything correctly or in a timely manner?

@ My heart goes out July 3, 2013 at 10:29 AM

I was watching a local news station broadcast this morning and they reported this story and posted the picture of this monster. I can only speak for one of the news stations, I didn’t watch any other local broadcast. But I agree it should be making ALL the local news outlets.

Root Cause July 3, 2013 at 10:30 AM

If teachers are paid low salaries, these are the types of people that go for the jobs. Higher salaries = Better Workers. It’s called incentive.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM

“How can my main source of information be from sending emails to the district when I haven’t received a response from them?”

Clearly, as this is so upsetting to you, and you have no further comments on the matter, I can only come to conclusion that you incapable of commenting further because the district has not provided you with sufficient information.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:32 AM

An interjectory word or expression, i.e. excessive exclamation points.

@Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Fine, they don’t have to comment on the specifics of the case, but now that the story’s been broken on Claycord (and apparently the news broadcast this morning), the MDUSD should, at the VERY least, issue some kind of statement. Even if it’s just the boilerplate ‘we are doing all we can to cooperate blah blah blah.’

Total silence is a terrible move on their part and will only lead to increased suspicion.

@ Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Why so defensive?

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Way to censor my comments and screw media perception, by the way. Where are my last two comments? This is absurd.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM

The story has been in the news outlets since last week. San Jose News, Contra Costa Times and SF Gate all printed articles last week. July 3, 2013 at 10:38 AM

@Former Student, paranoid much?

Peter July 3, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Let’s hope this hits drudgereport or something larger… This will force their hand.. I submitted the report to drudge

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Paranoid? I offered up well thought-out responses, and your “moderation” system obviously found they did meet their standards. That’s not paranoid, it’s merely irritation that I wasted my time. Specifically when I kindly offered you the definition and various usages of the word “expletive.” July 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM

If a well thought out response is accusing me of using words I didn’t use, then yeah, it’s great.

Neither one of us will agree with each other, so there’s no need to continue.

@Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Fine then, all the more reason MDUSD should offer some kind of statement. Now, according to you, instead of being a day behind the news cycle, they’re a few weeks behind the news cycle. Even worse!

Anon July 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM

The District should have to send a letter to EVERY family that EVER had a child in this monster’s class alerting the of what is going on and the hotline number to call.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Defensive? I call it realistic. Apparently people here are under the false assumption that the correct way to be heard is by using as many exclamation points as possible and crying out that it’s not “moral” for the district to not immediately address the case. It seems they’re unaware that by commenting this early it could have detrimental effects on the case by creating a bias.

anon July 3, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Interim Superintendent needs to step down from conflict of interest, his daughter, Jennifer Sachs, was principal at Woodside, when this all started many years ago.

stan July 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM

MDUSD is acting kind of like the Catholic Church did just before they were exposed for the cover up

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Disagreements during discussions are the only way to HAVE real discussions. If you expect everyone to agree with you, then you will never learn anything new. Disagreeing leads to discussion, which leads to the presentation of new ideas. We don’t have to agree, but it’s helpful to talk things out. There is no need to sensor. Disagreeing is a GOOD thing.

JD July 3, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I’ve always had the highest respect for the work you’ve done on this website. I value I can’t say that I have much respect for some of the commenters, though.

I encourage you to stay above the fray and not sink to the level of many commenters. Continue to do your excellent work and let the idiotic comments pass without response. They aren’t worth it. July 3, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Thanks, JD, I appreciate the kind words. I’m just trying to defend my reporting of this case. But you’re completely correct.

Thanks again, Mayor

Mdusd teacher July 3, 2013 at 10:56 AM

@The Blame Game, excellent post. Thank you!

anon July 3, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I heard about this weeks ago before he was arrested. My question is, if he would have been tipped off, he could have left the country before he was arrested. So school employees at least knew about this weeks ago.

Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwas July 3, 2013 at 11:15 AM

mayor, you’re right, you cant argue w/ the unreasonable. they always win.

Disgusted July 3, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Personally, I enjoy seeing the Mayor putting someone in their place once in a while 😉

Such a Shame July 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Wow, where to begin.

1) Higher Salaries would not have prevented this. Sorry, this type of abuse happens at all spectrums of the socio-economic ladder. Not the solution.
2) Ms. Hansen, Mr. Lawrence, and the other CURRENT MDUSD Board Members: Ms Hansen has done a great job guiding a ship that was a drift. They can not fix what was broken over night. They just deal with the Steve Lawrence/Rolen mess and this was added on top of it – from what I’ve read, they got the proper authorities involved and let them handle it. Bravo for not keeping it “in house” and just re-assigning this teacher to another school.
3) If the relationship between the interim superintendent and Woodside principal is true, he needs to designate someone else to be the point for this and stand out of the way.
4) Summer is no excuse for someone at the Dent Center ignoring the need for a robo-call or email to Woodside students. I also would not limit it just to this specific teacher’s class. Who’s to say he didn’t befriend a student in the hallway who was not in his class. Get the word out. Please. For the sake of the children.
5) Mr. Mayor – I also believe that you’ve done an excellent job with Claycord news as a ‘startup organization.’ This is a passionate subject for you obviously for reasons many of us may never know. Your timely reporting is significantly better than anything I read or see elsewhere. Thank you for the service that you deliver to our community, without Claycord, we may never know about this travesty.
6) Put Mr Martin and Jerry Sandusky in a cell together. They’re both dirtbags who should not roam this earth anymore. I’m all for innocent until proven guilty but 91 counts and growing is proof enough for me.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

“If a well thought out response is accusing me of using words I didn’t use, then yeah, it’s great.”

I never accused you of using any words that you “didn’t use?” I specifically defined the usage of the word “expletive,” after you questioned it’s meaning. By definition an expletive can be an interjectory word or expression, i.e. an excessive use of exclamation points. Apparently my response was not deemed “appropriate” by “moderation” as it’s never cleared, and for what reason? Additionally you also censored two of my other comments:

1) comment regarding the validity of your reporting. Ex: your lack of knowledge of subject as it pertains to your inability to provide information that comes directly from the district.

2) comment stating that if you continue to censor comments that disagree with your opinions or reporting then some people will take this very seriously.

What reason did these comments not clear? Simply because they are disagree with your premise?

Questions July 3, 2013 at 11:31 AM

The CC Times reported a statement from interim superintendent Bernard on 6/29, inluding that they “cannot comment on the ongoing investigation”. What I find especially troubling is that Martin was investigated for 2 months before arrest. What other evidence (computer files) could he have destroyed? Many students/ parents have posted comments about their suspicions. Shouldn’t every reccent family be interviewed and officially notified? I hope everyone who has concerns is contacting the police line. Ps. A BIG thanks to the mayor for keeping us updated.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Ignorance abounds…

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Also censored my comments regarding as to how you’re attempting to use the Cottrell case as a precedent for all subsequent cases, which is obviously, completely absurd. One case cannot dictate how all future cases will be handled.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Not mention that that a colleague of mine attempted to post regarding the censoring of THEIR posts and had their IP address subsequently blocked from Claycord’s website. What people should really concerned about is how Claycord is censoring their reader’s comments and effectively skewing the media perception…

Kai July 3, 2013 at 11:49 AM

I have worked in crisis communications in the past, and this case is an example of what NOT to do. Silence is not communications. I don’t have particulars in this case, not related to any employees (although I did have a child who went to Woodside whom I pulled out for other reasons -not this!).
Step 1 – have a plan in place before there is a crisis. Know who your decision makers are.
Step 2 – understand you have different audiences, and you need to say something to them. Don’t ignore any of them.
Step 3 – say what you can. Even if there are legal reasons why you can’t say something, you can say that and people will understand. In a crisis, silence is not golden.
So if this was my crisis, I would have one designated spokesperson from the district (not the school) speak and this would be the message:
1) we are here to support our students
2) we are working with authorities
3) we are here to support the students and the families of our community.
So it would read,
“Mt. Diablo Unified School District is here for our students during this difficult time. We are working with authorities on the legal matters before one of our teachers. Until these allegations can be worked out in court, he is no longer in a classroom role. His position will be evaluated once more information is available (or whatever contract calls for if you are in jail – paid or unpaid leave granted, etc.). We want to focus on the students and ask that all current and former Woodside families work with authorities by contacting (phone number) if they have information on this case. We are brining together resources so that we can help any of our students or their families that have been touched by this case.”
Statement works on day one and two, but then you need action planning happening during that time so you follow up with a parent only meeting at the school, bring in school psychologists, trusted others, etc. Clearly, the fact that it is “vacation” time for those in the district doesn’t cut it in a crisis. This is a community/communication crisis, and if someone at MDUSD leadership doesn’t understand this, and that action is needed, well, if you were a private corporation with this situation, my next suggestion would be you need new leadership.

Mr. Pink July 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

I am not a lawyer and don’t know what the district is “legally” required to do in this situation. While Former Student may very well be correct in that the district may be very limited in what they can discuss and what questions they can answer, I feel the mayor is also correct in that the district should say something, even if they simply state “We are investigating the matter and will deliver a statement when we have something to say.” .

Anon July 3, 2013 at 12:04 PM

If I shot an email with questions about a case of this magnitude and got an immediate response then I would be slightly alarmed. Honestly I’d expect a delay of 2 or more days in the matter. More than likely they are still drafting their statement regarding the most recent events, OR they’ve written it and are running it through legal (during a holiday week, mind you. Would you want to work late during a holiday week or cancel plans you’ve made to sit around approving statements about this $hithead? Don’t answer from where you’re sitting, answer as if you were in that position. If you say yes then you are probably lying to yourself).

Do parents morally deserve answers? Sure they do! But not at the cost of justice. An improper public response could seriously damage the trial, and also undoubtedly sway the jury pool. Do you want this guy getting off easy on a technicality due to a mistake in the first week the story hit the news? Do you want him to get a new venue because of it? Do you want the trial to cost tens of millions and take years? No? Then let things be done properly. They arrested him. He’s off the streets. That’s what’s important. Quenching your own rage and indignation is not.

So far as interviewing all the students is concerned, that is an incredibly bad idea. If you think it’s a good one do a little research about how children who are afforded the opportunity to play a victim will take that opportunity even if nothing ever happened, simply because they like the attention and sympathy that goes along with it. One kid getting caught making a false statement because they want the attention could blow the whole case for the prosecution.

anon July 3, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Citizenry…empower yourselves! Rally with one another, find a venue, invite the media, demand a response from the district!

MDUSD Parent July 3, 2013 at 12:13 PM

This is an ongoing police investigation of a crime.. It is not the role of the district to search out other victims unless the police ask them for assistance. To investigate further on their own would probably interfere with the police investigation. Really, what else can the district do? The police are running the show now, not MDUSD. I’m sure MDUSD is providing every bit of assistance the police request, including providing lists of former students. It would be up to the police to contact and interview those students. What could the district possibly say if they held a community meeting? Not much more than “This is an ongoing police investigation. Contact the police if you have any concerns about you child.”

The case with the Diablo View teacher was very different. It involved just one student and the police investigation was completed relatively quickly.

I spent a lot of time volunteering in the schools (not Woodside) when my kids were young. Parents are always complaining about teachers because most parents are very protective of their children. If they don’t like the way their child is being treated, the’re going to sue. They’re going to make sure that teacher gets fired. They demand their child gets moved to another classroom. The teacher was lying when she said their child misbehaved. That teacher is a sociopath and shouldn’t be allowed near children. It goes on and on and on. The very same teachers will also have plenty of parents who think they’re wonderful.

So to say that someone complained six years ago doesn’t necessarily ring alarm bells for me. What exactly was the complaint? Did it actually rise to the level of mandated reporting? Or was it more along the lines of “I think he’s creepy and I want my child moved”? Haven’t we had a had a parent commenting on this story who said they were an active volunteer at the school and requested that their child be put in Mr. Martin’s classroom, as well as a parent say that she volunteered in his classroom and didn’t see anything amiss? Believe me, parent volunteers talk a lot about who the good teachers are (and aren’t), so my guess is that the principal had no reason to suspect he was anything other than a perfectly ordinary teacher with an occasional disgruntled parent. But I’m sure it will all come out in the investigation if mandated reporting laws were broken.

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I am in full agreement with the logical responses from “Anon” and “Mr. Pink.” Well stated.

Ctown native July 3, 2013 at 12:20 PM

@former student. Did you forget to take your meds today? Relax and use your energy on something constructive. Try yoga maybe?!?

I agree with @JD. You do a fine job at what you do. We all come here for your breaking news. Even @former student can’t get enough. 😉

@Former Student July 3, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Your post about precedent was not censored. See post #11 and take a deep breath.

Questions July 3, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Wow. Looks like I have been schooled on my “incredibly bad idea”.

Dog Meat July 3, 2013 at 12:40 PM

John Bernard should resign from his position as interim superintendent. Is he really the father of the former Principal of Woodside, Jennifer Sachs? It seems like this all started under her watch. He needs to step down until this is cleared up if that is true.

Just me July 3, 2013 at 12:47 PM

I pulled my daughter out of MDUSD institution after bullying and constant sexual harassment and physical abuse by kids in that school…i have a file folder an inch thick full of correspondence begging somebody to stop my daughter’s tormentors (4 years worth) …nothing was ever resolved…my daughter at one point even considered suicide in the 7th grade…so i took control, removed her from MDUSD and she now attends online school and she is THRIVING like I’ve never seen before. They give your student everything they need…books, computer, printer, headset with microphone ALL FREEEEEE, yes free! Thank Goodness parents DO have a alternate choice to public instutionalized education… is a fantastic alternative…NO bullies, NO sexual harrassment, NO fear, NO DRAMA!! My daughter will graduate and receive her HS diploma next year 🙂

Gramma July 3, 2013 at 12:59 PM

I am tired of hearing the old saw about how poorly teachers are paid. They had one of my kids convinced that they were living in abject poverty. Do you know that all MDUSD grammar school teachers get Wednesday afternoons off. They care about all of the children except those with working parents who must find child care every Wednesday afternoon. This has nothing to do with Mr. Martin’s case. But giving everyone raises won’t stop child abuse..

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Actually, it was censored. I used screen shots, and am well aware of which of posts were allowed and which were removed by the “moderator,” but thank you for misunderstanding what I wrote and assuming I was incapable of determining which of my posts were actually listed. It appears to evade you that I may have written another comment with similar content.

P.S. @Ctown native, maybe if I hadn’t skipped out on yoga this morning I wouldn’t be discussing this. But alas, such is life.

anon July 3, 2013 at 1:24 PM

I pray Concord Police Department nails every single person involved in this case from the very beginning years ago for NOT reporting to the proper authorities regarding concerns they had about Mr. Martin’s conduct. Anyone: teacher, office manager, administrator, teacher’s assistant, any classified employee, science lab assistant, computer lab assistant, clerical staff, parent volunteer, especially a parent of a victim, district office personnel…you were ALL legally bound to report! You telling someone else on staff because you thought they would “handle” it or because you thought the district would handle it was cowardice and against the law. Being ignorant of the ed. code won’t get you off the hook either. READ IT! If all of you had done the right thing, the legal thing, years ago you would have protected so many more if not all of these children. Shame on all of you! If you were or are a mandated reporter and you had a suspicion or a suspicion was reported to you about Mr. Martin’s conduct YOU were and are mandated to report to the proper authorities…not another teacher, not your principal, not your boss, THE PROPER AUTHORITES!. I don’t know how you sleep at night, or look yourself in the mirror or carry on it public with your head held upright. NOT ONE OF YOU REPORTED! Except, Mrs. Cronan.

Thank you, Mrs. Cronan for reporting to the PROPER AUTHORITIES!

anon July 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM

@ Gramma

Get, your facts straight. Teachers are in staff meetings on Wednesday afternoons.

Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern- schplenden- schlitter- crasscrenbon- fried- digger- dingle- dangle- dongle- dungle- burstein- von- knacker- thrasher- apple- banger- horowitz- ticolensic- grander- knotty- spelltinkle- grandlich- grumblemeyer- spelterwas July 3, 2013 at 1:30 PM

ah yes yoga can do a world of good. maybe a soothing bath and calming music or a massage. or pedicure would be appropriate this time of year. theres a place in p.h. that gives you a glass of wine or margarita . look heres a coupon for one in concord.

@gramma July 3, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Teachers don’t get Wednesday afternoon off. That time is set aside for meetings, training, etc.

@Former Student July 3, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Well, you’re incapable of realizing that the MDUSD can and should put out SOMETHING to address the fact that one of their teachers has been arrested for 91 counts of sexually abusing students, so I didn’t expect you to be too rational about your posts.

Screen shots, really? Do you take screen shots of all your pending comments as a general rule? I call BS on that… not that it matters.

a mothers heart July 3, 2013 at 1:43 PM

I didn’t read all the comments, but here’s my 2 cents. My kid was in class several years ago. I was an active volunteer. I first heard he was removed from school from students. Twelve and thirteen year olds, most of them former students. I asked at school, they gave no info, so it became several weeks of rumor and gossip among parents. I first heard of his arrest via text from an 11 year old former student. I first heard this mornings report via text from my child’s friend. Regardless of what he did or didnt do, we should NOT have to get info from kids. All I want from the district us advice on how ro best discuss and support our kids who are bewildered by all of this. They don’t owe us details, but support would be nice.

MDUSD is dysfunctional July 3, 2013 at 2:11 PM

MDUSD has a long history of coverups and extreme dysfunction. To me, this situation is just another example of its utter ineptitude. I agree with the Mayor, MDUSD owes us something as a community, at the very least, a promise that they’re doing everything possible to get to the bottom of this current case and will do everything possible for the current and future safety of the students. Is that so difficult???

I agree with the comment about the similarity with the Catholic Church, both organizations have cultures that are deeply invested in covering up abuses at all costs. In the case of the church, for centuries. In the case of MDUSD, for decades.

I worked for a Walnut Creek law firm where the majority of cases were parents fighting for decent treatment/services for their kids in the MDUSD schools. I can tell you it was a thriving business. MDUSD has an especially shameful history with special needs kids. Not only did I see this through the law firm (and the MDUSD depositions would shock you with their callousness), I saw it with friends, neighbors and even my own family members.

At another time, I worked at the Contra Costa County Office of Education. MDUSD was not respected there either. The excuse was, “It’s too big and unwieldy, so it’s gotten out of control.” A family member of mine still works there at the highest level. She said MDUSD was caught in several blatant lies before the Clayton Valley High conversion to a charter school: gross misrepresentations in budget forecasts and how the conversion would affect the district financially. When they got caught, they tried to backpedal to cover up.

My mother also taught in the district for decades until retirement. I can, but won’t, recount countless stories of coverup on the part of the district. She herself was poisoned by toxic substances in her classroom. MDUSD never investigated and blew it off as a psychological problem. It was later proven by medical testing she had been exposed to heavy metals due to improper classroom monitoring and ventilation. Only when she got outside legal help did the district start taking her seriously. Only when they had no other choice did they authorize remodeling of the classroom so she – and, assuming the kids – wouldn’t be poisoned.

She also told me of scandalous situations where the district’s knee-jerk solution was simply to cover it up and make it “go away,” whether by transferring teachers or “making deals.” Sounds like the Catholic church’s MO, doesn’t it!

My own daughter was sexually harassed in middle school, which escalated when she tried to get help from the staff. Not only was the staff unresponsive, my daughter was outed and was now a “snitch,” with the school taking no action against the bullies. I ended up removing her from the toxic environment (it was affecting her mental health). This crap comes from the top down, district level to school level.

I say we take a tip from Alice in Wonderland when they “clean cups and move down.” We need a major cleanup from the top down, otherwise our community will continue to be subjected to MDUSD’s monstrous failings.

Another concerned parent July 3, 2013 at 2:13 PM

As a parent of a current Woodside student, all I am looking for from the district is an email and/or robo-call offering support for our community! How do we talk to our children about it? Where can we turn? What resources will the district provide? The fact is a teacher who many of us parents and many students TRUSTED has been arrested! Whether he is found guilty or not will eventually play out in court, but what do we do in the meantime? THAT is what I and many others want from the district! Is that really too much to ask?!?!

JD July 3, 2013 at 2:14 PM

@anon #61…”Would you want to work late during a holiday week or cancel plans you’ve made to sit around approving statements about this $hithead? Don’t answer from where you’re sitting, answer as if you were in that position. If you say yes then you are probably lying to yourself).”

No, I would not WANT to work late during a holiday week or cancel plans. I don’t know many who would WANT to work late for this or any other reason. But sometimes, that comes with the job. This is a crisis situation for MDUSD and it doesn’t appear that they are handling it as a crisis. All hands on deck! Lead, follow or get out of the way.

anonnn July 3, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Just an FYI of what they did during the Cottrell situation at DVMS = My child was a prior student of DVMS and when this all happened she was a student at CVHS. We got basic communication from School District that there was an investigation going on and people may be contacted by the Police (gave no information that would cause any problems with investigation). – School or District then must have given all his prior student information to police and I was contacted by the Police within a week of the communication from District. We were contacted based off of criteria the Police determined. I appreciate all that we got – I did not need to know details – but I am glad that I was given basic information so I can have conversations with my child and ensure she was not a victim.

They do not need to provide detail – but they should be reaching out to all Current and prior students and since so many people move or change information over the years they should be putting out some basic communication to the public so people can be informed (again they don’t need details that will harm investigation,

@Gramma July 3, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I’m going to be blunt: You’re full of cr*p. Both of my parents were lifetime school teachers and while we never worried about where our next meal was coming from, we lived far from lavish lives. They both spent lots of their disposible income on necessary items the students needed, but weren’t provided by the school.

Ask your teacher friends/family members about the back-to-school shopping trips where they’re stocking up on Kleenex, cleaning supplies, file folders, pens/pencils, etc. etc. Why do you think teachers break down and send out “wish lists” to the parents? All of the teachers I know are constantly reaching into their own pockets to cover the gap. Even down to giving kids lunch money whose parents don’t have it or don’t care.

Ask your teacher friends/family members how much of their free time – evenings, weekends – they spend grading papers, prepping for classes, fielding calls from parents, taking necessary continuing education courses in their field, chaperoning school events or simply taking the time outside of class to listen to a troubled student who has nobody to confide in? Teachers don’t go back to school in September on the first day of class. They’re in their classrooms a month or more, getting prepared. They’re also in countless meetings in stuffy rooms without air conditioning (there’s something about the field of education that is meeting crazy).

Last, but not least, they’re not paid enough to put up with the classroom abuse toward teachers that’s so rampant now. All the teachers I know are shocked at how disrespectful kids have gotten and trying to discipline them is an exercise in futility. The administration doesn’t back you up and the parents are often bullies themselves. My own mother was physically threatened @Mt Diablo HS numerous times (she’s an easy target, being a petite woman), with no backup by the administration.

Really, Gramma, you should open your eyes and ears while shutting your mouth.

ms.v July 3, 2013 at 2:31 PM

former student sounds like one of those pseudo intellectuals who will never listen to another opinion let alone respect the rights of others to have an opinion that doesn’t match his own.

former student, When I read your post’s I hear blah blah blah

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 2:52 PM

That sounds like a personal problem @ms. v

ms.v July 3, 2013 at 3:05 PM

blah blah blah

Anon July 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM

I know the district stonewalls and lies. I have a report to prove it. They’ve been avoiding me for weeks and won’t see me when I show up. The assistant superintendents are as big as part of the problems as the teachers molesting in the classroom apparently. Systematic coverups of wrongdoing on special Ed programs. Can’t get lower than that, besides molesting. They’ll be systematically covering that- oh wait? The district didn’t report a mandatory CPS complaint!!?? They they they are invincible.

Z z zzzz July 3, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Looks like someone is late for their first year legal rhetoric class.

Yhe Phantom July 3, 2013 at 3:22 PM


There are more unidentified victims, young victims who may feel they are responsible for what happened to them. They may feel ashamed. They may be considering suicide. They are at risk.

At a retired teacher I want them to know that they are not responsible for what happened to them. Adults betrayed the law and betrayed their oath to behave well with children. No kid could stop him…there was no choice…even if they think there was.

They must be gathered for comforting and re-assurance that they are safe from harm, even if the school district is not really ready to communicate – until they have more evidence, and have consulted with their attorneys, and have designated an appropriate spokesperson, acting for the appropriate management representative, and the appropriate county and state officials.

Kids reacted to cyber-bullying in unpredictable ways…they must be helped before they do something dangerous.

Why wouldn’t the MDUSD have thought of this?…or did they?

94598 July 3, 2013 at 3:30 PM


Check for active/current lawsuits against, NGHS Principal, NGHS Athletic Director, NGHS Tennis Coach and more. Then think about how many parents must have complained in the past only to be ignored by the district for the parent/parents to resort to a lawsuit……….. A lot more to come.

What year did he start at Woodside? July 3, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Perhaps this is a difficult question for some people to answer. But I’m sure that the school, or the school district could tell us. Don’t you have employee records? Telling us what year he started teaching at Woodside wouldn’t be that hard, would it? Have a heart. What year did this man start teaching at Woodside Elementary School in Concord, Ca? I know the school board members are reading this. Go to your files.. Look it up.. What gd year did this scumbag start working at Woodside??? Hey, Brian Lawrence! I voted for you because i thiught you would be a breath of fresh air. All I’m getting right now is nothin’.Give me an answer!!! What year did this guy start working at Woodside?

What year did he start at Woodside? July 3, 2013 at 4:04 PM

&, yea., I’m getting pissed.

Bring back the old crew July 3, 2013 at 4:27 PM

There was much better communication from MDUSD when Eberhart and Whitmarsh were on the board and Lawrence was superintendent. Whether you agreed with them or not, at least they didn’t hide under a rock when the going got tough. They did a much better job handling the situation of the child molester at DVMS. They immediately communicated with parents and held a meeting to keep parents informed. The idiots on the board now are incompetent boobs, full of hot air and nothing else. They’re totally MIA. The interim superintendent is worthless. At least Steve Lawrence knew how to do the right thing in a situation like this. Where’s all that openness we were promised by the new board?

Against the grain July 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

I do agree that MDUSD should have come out with a prompt statement, even if it was a “no comment” type of statement..however I think we are all being really really hard on our local school district. We are all people, and I hardly believe that the whole district is corrupt…I do agree that there is HUGE room for improvement, but let’s all just chill out. If you are that against MDUSD then move to a different district or homeschool your kids…

Parents: it is NOT the district’s job to teach you how to be a parent…You can go to google if you really need tips on how to talk to you child about this situation.

Or you can look up different crisis centers in the areas or hotlines for guidance with this subject..but come on really?! You expect a broke ass school district to give you life lessons and show you how to raise your own kids & talk to them about sensitive subjects? GROW UP!

Thank you OBAMA administration for brainwashing our nation even more into thinking that it’s the Government’s job to hold our hands and wipe our asses…..just peachy!

a mothers heart July 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM

@ what year….. I can’t answer it completely, but I know he’s been there since at least 2006, when we started there, hope that helps.

Woodside mom July 3, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Woah, was just reading these comments on my phone when it rang with the robo-call from MDUSD. Very general, “shocked and saddened, working with authorities”, etc.

Doctor J July 4, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Its no wonder the District has not revealed any details. There is potential massive liability and possible prosecution of any mandatory reporters who failed to report. Just remember a couple of years ago the verdict against the Boy Scouts in Oregon for not reporting — I think it was about 2 million. Well with 11 alleged victims, that would probably exceed the insurance coverage for the district. The district is circling the wagons. Ironic that it was just a few months ago that the district finally got around to do the mandatory reporting training. My heart goes out to the victims.
“10.Liabilities for Failure to Make A Required Report.
A person who fails to make a required report is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine, or both. (P.C. 11166(b)). He or she may also be found civilly liable for
damages, especially if the child-victim or another child is further victimized because of the failure to report. (Landeros vs. Flood (1976) 17C.3d 399).”

Don't Censor Me Bro July 4, 2013 at 9:08 AM

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM
“They are not legally obligated to make any statements.”

So in your opinion are they legally precluded from publically addressing such HUGE issues?

Please tells us what you “Know.”

Don't Censor Me Bro July 4, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM #57

“Also censored my comments regarding as to how you’re attempting to use the Cottrell case as a precedent for all subsequent cases.”

All that is needed for seminal cases is one precedent setting matter…

Why do you protesteth so much?

Don't Censor Me Bro July 4, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Former Student July 3, 2013 at 11:44 AM #58

“What people should really concerned about is how Claycord is censoring their reader’s comments and effectively skewing the media perception…”

You are cognizant that this blog is NOT an agent of the state, right?

Don't Censor Me Bro July 4, 2013 at 10:27 AM


Don’t forget to mention your tax write offs for such job related purchases…

Doctors J, GO AWAY July 4, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Shame on you, Doctor J. We’re all on to you. We know you are a disgruntled MSUSD who spends her days posting negative comments about MDUSD. Using abused children to further your own personal agenda of hate is disgusting. Scuttle on back to the Contra Costa Times blog where you belong.

Another concerned parent July 4, 2013 at 11:45 AM

@Against the Grain….
“Grow up” you say? I am all grown up and paying taxes that support the MDUSD and when our school needs support the most from the district, they FAIL!!! We are not asking for much, just caring and support – making information available to families has very little cost, but could be a HUGE SHOW of support to those who are most in need right now. This isn’t about a crutch or needing someone to “teach us how to parent”. Give me a break! This is about someone in the MDUSD putting a compassionate, human, caring face on this situation. This is about emotionally helping a community.

I don’t need anyone to “hold my hand”. I’ve talked to my child about the situation, but I’m fortunate enough to have the resources to provide information and support to my child. Not all families have that. And IT IS the responsibility of the school district to help those families suffering from the actions of one of THEIR employees. Someone THEY put in a classroom with OUR children.

Teacher July 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM

I agree with # 101

K July 4, 2013 at 2:51 PM

@Another concerned parent–my sentiments exactly.

Brian Lawrence July 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM

There are several posts on this subject since it is of great interest to the community, so forgive me for repeating my comment in multiple threads.

In order to let the legal process play out properly, I can’t comment on the specifics of the case. Superintendent Bernard put out a statement on June 29th that conveys the District’s position. Unfortunately that message did not reach Claycord for several days. I’ll work to see that we do better with that communication in the future.

There have been several questions directed towards me in a couple of the threads. As much as I enjoy Claycord, I don’t read every comment on every blog and will miss things. You can email me at or call me at 925-526-5354. I am legally unable to comment on personnel issues, but will do my best to answer other issues.

Like you, I’m horrified and heart-broken whenever I hear allegations of child abuse by a teacher.

Brian Lawrence
MDUSD Board Member

Md tech July 4, 2013 at 9:04 PM

A legal question:

For anyone who might know…. IF this man is convicted, and there is no other evidence of wrongdoing by other district employees, is there any district liability? Could the district be sued?
I’m assuming the if there was some neglect or other innapropriate action, or inaction that there would be some liability.

What July 5, 2013 at 4:55 PM

The 12 children have not been offered any counseling by the district…in fact, the district has never contacted them..everyone involved was contacted by the police…the district has not reached out to them in any way

Doctor J July 6, 2013 at 11:01 AM

@106 Here is a whole primer from the CA Dept of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention.
I don’t know if it answers your question or not.

Gabriel LeBaron July 9, 2013 at 1:49 AM

my daughter along with other children were photographed as he sprayed whip cream into their mouth, and told the students “don’t let it drip out” and several other inappropriate comments. I wonder how liberal the principals husband would be to allow me to have her in front of me, and have me tell her to tilt her head back, and let me fill her mouth with whip cream, and tell her don’t let it drip out as I photographed her, and personally develop the pictures. where was that in the state textbooks for the 5th grade. I would love to see where it shows, and who paid for those pictures to be developed? if they were innocent why were they hid from us parents till after the school year? If i get a t-shirt with the principals picture on it that say tilt your head back, and let me fill it with whip cream and don’t drop a drop how inappropriate would that be? would my son be allowed to wear it to school with pride. also I want to see a permission slip where I consented to that, or where I told the school it was ok for a teacher to spray whip cream into my child’s mouth, and how did they know my daughter wasn’t allegeric to whip cream. That’s a pure disregard for nothing more then him wanting these pictures for personal use.

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