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Support for Diablo View MS students will continue through Friday

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 at 7:27 pm in Education.

Mt. Diablo school district officials met with Diablo View Middle School parents Monday night to discuss the arrest last Friday of science and math teacher Andrew Bruce Cottrell on suspicion of sex crimes involving a former student.

In an e-mail to me today, Superintendent Steven Lawrence said about 60-80 parents attended the meeting. Here is a rundown he provided:

“Concerns that came out of last night meeting were:

1. Did the administration know the arrest was going to happen ahead of time and why did it happen on campus?

2. How do we rebuild the trust between the students and adults at DVMS?

3. What is the district going to do to help support the school to rebuild trust?

4. How can we create a stronger school culture where students are comfortable to share concerns about inappropriate adult behavior with another adult on the campus?

5. How can we better support parents to have dialogues with their 11-14 year olds about how to handle the inappropriate advancements of an adult, and who should they go to if something happens?

6. Concerns around students going into classroom closets with teachers or other students. Basically, the feeling was that the closets should just be off limits to students.

We did have crisis counselors on campus Monday and will have them available the remainder of the week based on the meeting with parents last night.”

Do you believe the district is adequately addressing the concerns mentioned above?

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13 Responses to “Support for Diablo View MS students will continue through Friday”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    All I see is questions with no answers. Where are Lawrence’s answers ? Who were the “crisis counselors” ? Are they certified as crisis counselors or just administrators ?

  2. Doctor J Says:

    Where is the Crisis Response Plan ? Why didn’t the Crisis Team deploy on Friday shortly after noon when the crisis occurred ? Simple: THEY DO NOT EXIST. They should exist but don’t pretend they do, when they don’t. The “team” that showed up on Monday morning was simply recruited Sunday afternoon from administrators that had nothing else planned to do on Monday.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I hear MDHS employees may make a “No Confidence” statement tonight.

  4. Just J Says:

    Keep us informed Theresa

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I am going to try to live blog:

  6. Flippin' Tired Says:

    Of course there’s a Crisis Intervention Team in place – in fact, there are five teams, and they take turns on a monthly basis being available for any problems that crop up. Each team is comprised of properly-trained school psychologists. There’s also a Safety Plan in place for each school site. If you walk down the hallway to Student Services, you can get a copy of both of these items.

  7. Wait a minute Says:

    So Theresa,

    Do you have any knowledge that a team of “properly trained school psychologists” were at DVMS on Monday?

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although the principal has not returned my calls, the office manager told me there were crisis counselors on campus.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    @ FT #6 — Hard to believe for several reasons. 1. They weren’t deployed on Friday afternoon to the school after the district was notified of the arrest and search warrant of his classroom at noon. Five crisis teams and none are available ? Please. Give me a break. 2. They weren’t deployed over the weekend to assist the principal. 3. Sunday afternoon the district was still trying to get volunteer district administrtors to help cover DVMS on Monday 4. Lawrence didn’t know about them on Monday night at the parents meeting. I am not talking about a safety plan — read the literature posted on the CDE website I referred to. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when young adolescents witness a teacher being arrested and taken away in handcuffs, and a search warrant being executed at the school, that there is going to be huge impact on the children.

  10. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a video clip of Superintendent Steven Lawrence talking about the district’s response at DVMS:

  11. Doctor J Says:

    FT#6 — You’re a genius. Board records submitted by Student Services show that the Emergency Prepardnes Plan and Crisis Reponse plan of DVMS was INCOMPLETE when approved by the Board.
    June 14, 2011 Board Agenda Item 16.17 says: “In accordance with Education Code 32280-32288 staff is requesting approval of Comprehensive School Site Safety Plans in order to ensure compliance with California Education Code Board Policy and Administrative Regulations 0450(a)(b).
    All Comprehensive School Site Safety Plans have been approved by School Site Councils. The plans have been reviewed by the Student Services Department using the attached Safety Plan Rubric. Three Comprehensive Site Safety Plans have been submitted as examples of the quality and content of the plans. The plans are from Fair Oaks, Sequoia Middle School and Concord High School. Copies of all Comprehensive School Site Safety Plans are kept on file at the Student Services Office.” Signed by Felicia Stuckey-Smith, Mildred Browne and Steven Lawrence. Sounds great doesn’t it — until you read the attachments.

    There are only three attachments to the Agenda: 1. Blank Rubric 2. Rubric’s of all schools 3. Rubric of Bel Air. Contrary to the Agenda and Approved Minutes, there are no Comprehensive Site Safety Plans submitted as examples as stated in the Agenda and Approved Minutes.

    The Board approved, without discussion, 5-0.

    The problem lies in the the second attachment of all schools rubrics shows that many schools Safety Plans in the #9 Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Response Plans are INCOMPLETE. One of those INCOMPLETE plans is Diablo View Middle School. See Page 87 of

    Nothing in the ten point rubric even discusses a Crisis Response Team.

    Nice job Student Services and nice approvals by all three. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy you are signing off not having read the attachments. Board, you had better start reading all the attachments.

  12. Flippin' Tired Says:

    “Doctor” J, did you ask Felicia or Carmen for a copy of this year’s crisis team make-up? Seriously, just walk down the hall. I’m sure they’ll hand you a copy. I get one every year at my school site.

    Too bad the board lets anyone get away without a complete safety plan. Not that any of the ones I’ve seen have “what to do when a teacher molests a student” as one of the chapters, but maybe since you’re down at Dent, you can volunteer your expertise to assist all school sites put together a protocol.

  13. Doctor J Says:

    @FT Naw, an “on paper only” “Crisis team” is worthless. They weren’t called, they didn’t respond. There is no indication the principals have been trained to call them or anyone at Dent either. I am hearing that one of the problems was that on Friday afternoon everyone at Dent was tied up doing the agenda at the last minute. Trained crisis psychologists would have recogized the potential impacts on young adolecents of having a teacher arrested, taken away in handcuffs, and the school searched by police. They were there. No plan can anticipate every crisis. That is why you have a trained Crisis Team that can help the on site administrators make the right decisions.

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