Spellman spreads accusations
District 5 Supervisor Darren Spellman got involved in the District 2 race for supervisor recently when he sent an email that said a schoolteacher was using school resources to support a candidate in the race. When all was said and done, the allegations were found to be untrue.
On Aug. 29, Spellman sent the email to Calaveras Unified School District Superintendent Mark Camp-bell that suggested a teacher at West Point Elementary School was campaigning at a school function and had used CUSD contact information to discuss with parents the District 2 race between Bryce Randall and Chris Wright. He also sent the email to area media and to Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook.
“I got a disturbing phone call today that a ‘Mr. Casey,’ a teacher at West Point Elementary School, was promoting Chris Wright for county supervisor, campaigning at the back to school night,” the email read.
“I was also told he is using the school phone directory to contact parents of students both past and present to invite them to his home for dinner parties to discuss why they should vote for Chris Wright instead of Bryce Randall.
“I believe these purported actions by this teacher are of a disciplinary nature and I am asking for an investigation, particularly regarding use of private contact information obtained through the school for what appears to be blatant political campaigning which is an abusive (sic) of private information, public trust and is a non-sanctioned activity per California law.”
“I will follow up on this and see what I can determine specific to any allegations of inappropriate/illegal activity,” Campbell responded to the supervisor.
Jim Casey, the Teacher of the Year for CUSD for the 2011-2012 school year, was cleared of any wrongdoing by Campbell. Randall emailed media outlets to say that he had talked to Casey and that “we both agree that even though everyone has the right to file a complaint, it should stay between the one voicing the complaint, the Superintendent and the individual involved. If you feel that you must cover this as a news story, I would ask that you please leave Mr. Casey’s name out of any article. He is a good teacher, well respected and an asset to our West Point Elementary School. I would not like his professional reputation as an educator to be affected by these allegations. I have trust in Superintendent Campbell’s desire and ability to handle this in the proper manner.”
Campbell said the accusation was baseless.
“Based upon my investigation regarding the allegations against Mr. Casey, as communicated to you directly and then to me indirectly, I find that there is no evidence to substantiate the allegations and conclude that the allegations are unfounded,” he said in response to Spellman. “Mr. Casey did not violate CUSD Board Policy or California Education Code, as was alleged. Any belief or indication that he might have the character and disposition to do so is to be refuted.
“If the person making these allegations has definitive and valid evidence otherwise, and wishes to speak with me directly to address the matter, I would welcome the opportunity,” Campbell concluded.
“I want an apology,” Casey said last week, adding that he would like it sent to each entity that received the accusatory email sent to Campbell. “I’ve worked hard in this community,” he added, saying that his good name was besmirched. “He (Spellman) could have called me.”
Campbell, responding to the initial email, also suggested a different course of action to Spellman.
“Ideally, this communication/request would have been made to me directly and not the press, unless you deemed my investigation (process and outcomes) to be insufficient and in violation of law/code. That would have been more appropriate.
“Also, knowing Jim Casey,” Campbell continued, “he would never knowingly violate any law/code prohibiting campaigning/advocating of a political nature at a school campus or function and accessing any contact information he should not otherwise be privy to.”
Upon receiving Campbell’s assessment of the situation, Spellman backed off: “I will inform them about the outcome of your investigation and your invitation for them to provide proof at which time they can then decide for themselves how they wish to proceed.”