Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Superintendent Apologizes for Apologizing - April 5 News Update


March 31, 2014

Dear Samohi and SMMUSD community,

The statement I released concerning Friday’s incident at Samohi has caused great anger. There is concern that my statement reflected a pre-judgment of the teacher’s conduct prior to completion of an investigation. There is also concern about my failure to address the conduct of one or more students who were involved in the incident. In retrospect, I understand how my statement has created these concerns. I apologize that my comments focused solely on the message that teachers should not physically engage when disciplining or intervening without underscoring that we need to obtain all the details leading up to this situation before we reach conclusions.

I want to assure the Samohi and SMMUSD community that I am committed to a thorough and independent investigation of what transpired at Samohi on Friday that fully respects the rights of all involved, including teachers and students. We still do not have all the facts regarding what occurred at Samohi. Only a proper investigation will provide us with the full context and details of what transpired, and action taken will be based on all the facts, not just what we have seen on videos.

I realize that teachers sometimes face situations where they feel they must take action to protect students or themselves, and teachers must be supported with programs, training and services that will allow them to manage potentially dangerous situations. I am going to work with the staff to review our efforts in this area. We must provide teachers with the resources they need to maintain safety always.

Placing the teacher involved in this incident on leave pending completion of a full investigation is a matter of standard policy and practice; it in no way prejudices the outcome of the investigation. No decision has been made nor will any decision be made before gathering and reviewing all the information.

Above all, I am committed to creating a safe working and learning environment for our teachers, staff and students. This incident underscores the need for collaboration and cooperation and I am committed to working with teachers, staff, parents and students toward this end.


Sandra Lyon



Reader Comments

RandyASteinberg writes:

Is it not also standard policy for administrators to refrain from public comment on personnel matters pending the outcome of an investigation?


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