VOSD Podcast: What the District Knew About a Predatory Teacher - Voice of San Diego

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VOSD Podcast: What the District Knew About a Predatory Teacher

We break down our big story about a former La Jolla High teacher and what the district knew about his behavior. SDSU and San Diego are still working out the kinks of the Mission Valley plan. And how members of the public can get their hands on police body camera footage.

Loxie Gant is one of four women who says physics teacher Martin Teachworth harassed them when they were students at La Jolla High School. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

This week on the podcast, hosts Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts sat down with Loxie Gant.

Gant is a former La Jolla High student who told school officials in 2003 that her physics teacher had touched her inappropriately. That teacher, Martin Teachworth, was the central figure in our big story this week that showed the extent of his predatory behavior — and how much San Diego Unified knew about his actions while allowing him to stay in the classroom.

When VOSD requested records about Teachworth in 2015 and 2017, the district said it had none.

But now that an obscure state agency, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, has served San Diego Unified with a subpoena for documents about Teachworth, the district says it found them.

The documents show that the district did indeed have a record of Gant’s complaints and of many others made by students over the course of Teachworth’s tenure at La Jolla High. One complaint rose to the level of criminal behavior, school police believed at the time.

The conversation with Gant starts around minute 8 in the podcast.

Also, you don’t want to miss one big point made by Libby in this week’s show — about the importance of public records laws in preventing things like this from happening:

“We’ve been talking about public records for weeks and months … and people maybe have the impression that when an agency denies public records that we — Sara, Andy and Scott — are the victims because we don’t get the records we ask for and we don’t get to write the stories we wanted to write. But Ashly McGlone, our colleague, first started investigating this case in 2015. And we know that (Teachworth) was removed from the class in 2016 because of more complaints. And so that to me says if we had gotten those records in 2015 and written that story at that time, I don’t think that he would be in a position to abuse more girls in 2016. And so, that is the real reason public records matter, and why fulfilling these requests is so important. Because you can save taxpayers from corruption, you can prevent abuse from children in public schools. And what’s more important than that?”

SDSU Wants a Discount

This week, we got an update on negotiations between the city of San Diego and San Diego State University to sell off Mission Valley land to the university so it can build a stadium, river park and more.

A top official from SDSU said that the city should reduce the sales price for the old Qualcomm Stadium site by millions of dollars, and potentially pay for part of the proposed river park that would be part of the site’s revamp.

To sum it up: There are a lot of details still to be nailed down. Keatts noted that because the project didn’t originate with the City Council, it seems a lot of this planning is being done backward.

The Vote on the Vote

Mayor Kevin Faulconer has failed every time he’s asked the City Council for something related to the Convention Center. On Monday, he’s making a new ask.

That’s when the Council will vote on whether the ballot measure that would fund the Convention Center expansion, homeless services and road repairs will be put to voters in March 2020, or November.

Lewis breaks that down at 29:30.

The People’s Reporter

In the last few years, body cameras have become a staple of law enforcement agencies – but access to the footage they capture is still hard to obtain. A new law could make certain types of footage easier to access.

VOSD staffers Adriana Heldiz and Will Fritz break down the answer to a question we got from our audience on the matter.

The People’s Reporter feature starts around minute 36.

To vote on our next story, or ask a question you want us to investigate, head to vosd.org/ask.

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