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School board member under investigation

cdobbins.jpgOakland school district officials and the authorities are looking into a relationship between Chris Dobbins, a board member and former middle school teacher, and a 17-year-old girl who served as a student trustee on the school board.

Dobbins, 35, says nothing inappropriate happened between him and the young woman. He said he saw himself as her mentor. They occasionally went out to eat after board functions, he said, and he would take her home.

After realizing the student had feelings for him, he said, he began to distance himself.

“Nothing happened, nothing happened, nothing happened,” Dobbins said. “It was definitely innocent. I didn’t realize how this would appear.”

The investigation apparently began after some e-mails written by the girl came to the attention of district staff. Dobbins said he forwarded all of the e-mails between the two to the district, but that his lawyer advised against releasing them to the public.

Meanwhile, some board members have asked Dobbins to step down — a move he isn’t ready to make. When asked to comment on the investigation, the district released this statement earlier today:

“The District is treating this matter with extreme seriousness and we are conducting the type of thorough investigation that’s appropriate for accusations of this gravity. We’re moving swiftly to determine whether the allegations have merit and because this is an issue of the utmost importance, we simply cannot compromise the investigative process by commenting at this time.”

There will be a full story in the paper tomorrow.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Patsy Heim

    My husband and I have known Chris Dobbins for a number of years. He is a man of great integrity, a man who is fun loving. caring and respectful.

    I have great concern regarding school board members asking for him to step down.
    For what reason? Accusations that are unfounded ? Chris is a young man, eager to be involved in the educational problems that have beset Oakland. He is a young man with vision, given the chance. It is a great disservice to Oakland and the school district for the board to not stand behnd him 100%.

    I might add as as aside–if I found any of the accusations to be true, I would be among the first to ask him , NO, demand of him, to step down.

    Respectfully,

    Patsy D. Heim

  • James Jones, Jr., Parent, etc.

    Unless they’re saying he was having a sexual relationship with a 17-year old girl, I don’t see why this should end his career. I’m not surprised that a young girl would find him attractive and develop a crush–that’s what young girls do. The question is: what did he do? And until we have some answers, I think we should reserve our judgment.

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