Private School Says It's Happy to Have Teacher Who Lost Credential Over Abuse, Harassment Incidents - Voice of San Diego

Education UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Private School Says It's Happy to Have Teacher Who Lost Credential Over Abuse, Harassment Incidents

The superintendent of Coastal Christian Academy said he’s comfortable with Scott Brady’s employment at the school because he was never charged with any crimes. Oceanside school officials substantiated complaints of misconduct and harassment against Brady, and his teaching credential was revoked in 2013.

Coastal Christian Academy shares a location with the East Clairemont Southern Baptist Church. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

A special education teacher who lost his teaching credential after racking up accusations of misconduct against students and sexual harassment against fellow employees is now an educator at a private elementary school in Clairemont.

Scott Brady began teaching at Coastal Christian Academy this school year – five years after his credential was revoked by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing in 2013, and seven years after he agreed to resign from his position in the Oceanside Unified High School District in June 2011.

Brady’s resignation deal with Oceanside Unified included an agreement that the district would not disclose the misconduct to prospective future employers. His story helps illustrate how long accusations of misconduct can take before they result in a revocation of a teaching credential. Teachers can often spend that time in other schools.

Following that deal, Brady was able to secure work as a full-time special education teacher in the San Diego Unified School District, as a substitute for the San Diego County Office of Education and as a professor at National University.

‘He Needs to Be Held Accountable’

Brady ran into problems while working as a teacher at Garrison Elementary School and Oceanside High School between 2006 and 2011.

Brady declined to comment through the superintendent of Coastal Christian Academy.

In December 2006, Brady was accused of using excessive force to restrain an 11-year-old student – causing a rug burn on the student’s forehead and a sore neck.

Brady wrote in an incident report that he restrained the student so he would not hurt himself or his aide.

“He needs to be held accountable for the injury he caused to my son’s face,” the student’s mother wrote in a complaint to the district. “This incident has impact on my son’s ability to trust Scott Brady.”

Margie Oliver, former principal at Garrison, wrote in an email that she told Oceanside Police Department a student was injured by Brady “during a necessary restraint in the quiet room,” according to investigative files obtained by Voice of San Diego through a Public Records Act request. The district redacted the recipient of the email.

Brady was placed on a paid four-day administrative leave during the investigation, records show. It’s not clear from the records whether any additional action was taken as a result of the investigation, and Oceanside Unified officials did not respond to questions about the conclusion of that investigation.

Three years later, Brady was accused of excessive force involving another 11-year-old student at Garrison.

In that incident, Brady forced a banana into the mouth of the 11-year-old student in a program for children with serious emotional disabilities at Garrison Elementary School before sending him to sit “Indian style” in the “quiet room” – a 6-by-6-foot room inside an adjacent classroom used for storage. Brady left scratches on the student’s gums and face, reddening on his neck, and a scratch against his chest, according to investigative records.

During the investigation, one witness who worked with Brady for a year and a half said “his general impression of Brady was that he tended to ‘yell and belittle the students.’” Another said Brady over-used the “quiet room” for discipline, but she did not share her concerns because she was afraid of retaliation.

The incident was reported to the Oceanside Police Department, but the San Diego County district attorney’s office did not file criminal charges.

The DA’s office, then led by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, did “remain concerned about the teacher’s conduct, particularly due to the reported incidents of his ‘quickness to anger,’” according to investigation records.

The school district directed Brady to refrain from excessive force in order to attain a desired outcome from a student.

Brady told district investigators he realized that he was having a difficult time managing the classroom the day of the incident because one of his instructional aides was absent and student behavior was escalating.

He said “if he had to do the situation over, he would not have the student sit ‘Indian style’ because he could understand how that could be misinterpreted, and that he felt very remorseful about forcing the student to eat the banana and realized he has crossed the line,” according to the investigation

The following semester, Brady switched jobs from Garrison to Oceanside High School the following semester. It’s not clear what prompted the switch or whether it was related to earlier incidents.

It would be his last job in the district.

In 2011, Brady resigned after three employees accused him of sexually harassing them, records show.

The school district confirmed it investigated sexual harassment complaints against Brady leading up to his resignation. Brady was placed on paid administrative leave with pay for three months, from March 28 to June 30, 2011, during the investigation.

“We take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously,” said Matthew Jennings, a district spokesman.

Female employees at the school district in 2011 accused Brady of making inappropriate comments that made them feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

One employee at the school said Brady offered to take her camping in the desert in place of her boyfriend so he would have the opportunity to post a picture of them together on Facebook.

“He wanted everyone to see that he spent the night with a 20-something-year-old,” she wrote to the district.

She also said that Brady made comments on multiple occasions about how he enjoys spending time with babies as much as possible. She recalled him telling her that he made trips to a Tijuana orphanage to spend time with them.

“A man’s interest in babies is not normally something I would be concerned about, but with Scott’s personality and the way he talks about them, it raises a red flag for me,” she wrote.

She said she was fearful of Brady returning to work and making intimidating statements or actions after the investigation, and was afraid of what he might do outside the workplace.

Another teacher said Brady admitted he drove past her house and called and text messaged her numerous times outside of work and on weekends. The texts included statements like “I need a hug” and “I’m a blessing in his life.”

She said he massaged her shoulders and put his arms around her several times in front of witnesses. She said Brady mentioned on numerous occasions that he was afraid she would contact human resources.

“I’ve been trying to deter him playfully and he has backed off for the most part but I think that it is appropriate for me at this time with all the inappropriate behaviors happening in the classroom to mention it,” she wrote.

A third employee wrote that Brady forwarded her an email he sent another teacher because the teacher’s response “pissed him off” and “he stated that he ‘must have rubbed her the wrong way’ and then continued ‘gosh I would actually love to just rub her all over…and over…and over. She is hot, what a hot one.’”

She also said there were multiple occasions when he made her feel uncomfortable in her classroom.

She said she once asked Brady for a classroom favor – borrowing materials or switching students for an activity.

She said he replied, “You must be confused! We are not sleeping together and I am not your husband so I do not have to do anything or any favors for you. If you ever want to or begin to sleep or have sex with me, I will do whatever you want.”

The district was in the midst of taking steps to fire Brady when it struck the deal in which he agreed to resign.

Before the deal was met, Brady objected to the dismissal charges in a legal filing, saying they were based on “inadmissible speculation and rumor” and “hearsay.”

As part of the deal, the district agreed to pay him through June 30, 2011, and to continue paying health benefits for him and his daughter through the end of that year.

The school district said it disclosed information related to Brady’s resignation to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

‘He Is the Right Person to Be Teaching Right Now’

Richard Cates, superintendent at Coastal Christian Academy, said he knew about Brady’s misconduct and revoked credential before hiring him to teach at the school. Private schools operate independently of the California Department of Education, which means teachers aren’t required to have a valid teaching credential.

That leaves room for individuals with revoked or expired credentials from the state commission to continue teaching students. The Department of Education reports that many private school teachers do have current California teaching credentials.

Cates said he’s comfortable with Brady continuing to teach there because he was never charged with any crimes.

“He is the right person to be teaching right now,” Cates said. “I am comfortable as the superintendent that I hired a good and honest man. I have no need to defend someone who is innocent.”

Though the DA’s office declined to pursue criminal charges against Brady, the Oceanside Unified School District’s investigations into his behavior did substantiate allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment.

National University declined to comment when asked if it knew about the revocation of Brady’s state teaching credential before hiring him to teach students.

The university would not provide the dates or classes Brady taught during his employment. A former student of Brady’s said he taught a course on assessing special education students’ needs.

The Revocation Gap

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing revoked Brady’s credential in November 2013 – two years after the sexual harassment reports and long after the initial misconduct incidents involving students.

It’s not unusual for years to go by between incidents of teacher misconduct and action being taken by the commission.

The average amount of time it takes for the commission and state Department of Justice to resolve a case is 954 days – more than two years – according to reports by the Division of Professional Practices and the attorney general’s office.

During the period after his resignation but before his credential was revoked, Brady was able to obtain a contracted full-time teaching position with San Diego Unified, and substitute teaching jobs through the San Diego County Office of Education in 2012.

Brady taught within San Diego Unified until Dec. 2, 2013 – nearly one month after his credential was revoked, a district spokeswoman told Voice of San Diego.

The Oceanside Unified School District’s settlement agreement with Brady does not allow the district to reveal misconduct to prospective future employers like San Diego Unified and SDCOE.

The agreement states the district can only disclose dates of employment, final job title, final salary and the fact that Brady resigned.

The commission declined to comment on Brady’s case, but noted that the revocation cited Education Code sections 44421 and 44345, which address unfitness for service.

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