Oakland 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.