By James Ott
The recent child-abuse accusations facing the Antioch school district and recent bomb threats at Deer Valley High School have prompted the Antioch School Board to schedule special meetings this month to discuss improving the safety of their schools.
At the previous school board meeting, Antioch Unified School District, (AUSD), Superintendent Dr. Donald Gill asked school board members to add a special meeting at the end of the month to discuss the district’s child-abuse reporting policy and other safety matters.
The decision to improve safety policies comes as the district is being sued by the families of three disabled students.
Larry and Megan Evans, Teresa Green and Heather Carranza all allege that their kids were abused physically and verbally by special education teacher Theresa Allen-Caulboy at MNO Grant Elementary in Antioch. They are part of a lawsuit that seeks damages from Allen-Caulboy, and the Antioch school district.
The lawsuit claims that Allen-Caulboy pinned students to the ground, pinched and gouged at them and called them names like “retard.”
The parents of the affected students are also targeting MNO Grant Elementary School principal Michael Green, AUSD Special Education Director David Wax, Assistant Superintendent Keith Rogenski, and Special Education Coordinator Kai Montgomery – all administrators who the lawsuit claims failed to protect their children from abuse and even attempted to cover up the problem by urging parents not to report the case to the police.
As if the alleged abuse of disabled students wasn’t enough, Antioch police also recently arrested an unnamed 16-year-old Deer Valley High School student from calling in bomb threats to several area schools including Deer Valley and Black Diamond Middle School.
The student was arrested on April 25 after calling in numerous bomb threats over five days, all of which proved to be hoaxes. The student admitted to the threats after they were arrested.
The district has vowed that the responsible student would be expelled and possibly face felony charges.
Superintendent Gill said that student safety is always the number one priority of a school district, but that it is even more apparent after the recent lawsuit and bomb-threats.
“The most timely topic we have before us now is student safety,” said Gill.
AUSD Board President Joy Motts said that the district will be “looking at everything we possibly can” to improve student safety at Antioch schools.
Motts said that some of the things they might look to improve at future meetings include school infrastructure, providing teachers with the correct tools to identify problems and keep students safe, intervention programs to determine if children are in need, and reviewing all documents related to safety and reporting of complaints by students and staff.
“I think it’s absolutely appropriate to do everything we possibly can to make sure our kids are safe,” added Motts.
The next scheduled school board meetings are scheduled for tonight, Wednesday, May 8 and Wednesday May 22 at 7:00 p.m. at 510 G Street in Antioch. The special board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday May, 29.