As school districts across the San Gabriel Valley are asked to release information on teacher misconduct, Glendora Unified School District’s commitment to transparency is questioned as one of its teachers is accused of inappropriate behavior with a former student.
Recently, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune published allegations from 20-year-old former Glendora High School student Amy McElroy and an unidentified former student that teacher Paul Zigan initiated inappropriate conduct with them while they were minors.
According to a Glendora Police report, the police investigation determined that Zigan had engaged in “acts that were annoying” to McElroy. However, according to Director of Personnel Dominic DiGrazia, a school district investigation into the case yielded no evidence that warranted discipline required to be reported to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
According to DiGrazia, districts are required to report employee dismissal, resignation, suspension for more than 10 days or retires.
“The conduct that the District investigated regarding Mr. Zigan did not rise to the level of discipline that justified a report to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing,” DiGrazia stated in an email response. “…Employee discipline requires factual determinations, not mere allegations.”
DiGrazia asserts that the district did not find any reason to believe that allegations against Zigan pertained to child abuse or sexual misconduct.
The district has not stated whether Zigan has been reprimanded or disciplined regarding the allegations.
“Please also note that ‘reprimands’ are not reportable under 5 CAC 80303,” said DiGrazia. “Instead, it is the level of discipline for misconduct that requires reporting by school districts to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.”
However, the district maintains that should a case involve child abuse or sexual misconduct, that parents will be alerted.
“If the allegations were to pertain to child abuse, then the District would also report the matter to the police department and the child abuse registry,” said DiGrazia.
According to DiGrazia, the district follows specific procedures concerning allegations of teacher misconduct:
1. The district initiates its own investigation into allegations. Investigations are “conducted objectively and are conducted under standards of due process.”
2. If the investigation determines that discipline must be imposed, then “an appropriate level of discipline is provided for the employee.” Discipline can include termination. Immediate suspension is required if the employee is charged by the District Attorney in a criminal complaint alleging sex and drug offenses. The LA County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges in the allegations against Zigan because the one-year statute of limitations had expired.
3. When an employee resigns when faced with charges of misconduct, or been suspended for more than 10 days or terminated, then they are reported to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
4. Tenured teachers may be granted a hearing on dismissal charges. If the hearing results in termination, they are reported to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
According to DiGrazia, all district reports to the state are made public upon filing a records request with the district.
However, school districts across the San Gabriel Valley have not been so prompt in the disclosure of teacher misconduct reports.
The Pasadena Star-News sent records request letters to 27 other San Gabriel Valley school districts. Yet only two districts have responded with records.
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the Glendora Unified School District responded to records requests, stating that there were no reportable acts of misconduct within the district since the 2006-2007 academic year.
“The District and its Board of Education take these reporting responsibilities seriously, as well as taking the appropriate disciplinary action seriously,” said DiGrazia. “At the same time, the District does not rush to judgment without following due process, privacy rights, and the Education Code.”