Home Brentwood BUSD: Lauri James Deposition Transcript

BUSD: Lauri James Deposition Transcript

by ECT


My opinion will be reserved until a later date. I wish to provide the transcript of Loma Vista Elementary Principal Lauri James and allow readers to come to their own conclusions. Note, this is the non-confidential transcript.

If you prefer the actual document, please email me at [email protected] and I will send you the file.

3                           —o0o—
PHELAN, J.P., a minor, by and
6   through his guardian ad litem,
8   vs.                             Case No. C12-00465 LB
C12-04917 LB
AND DOES 1-30,
11                                  /
14                   VOLUME I, Pages 1 to 116
15      (Confidential Pages 65 to 116 bound separately.)
Taken before DEBBY CLARY, CSR
18                   Registered Merit Reporter
State of California
19                         CSR No. 9705
November 14, 2012
22                 Certified Shorthand Reporters
2121 North California Blvd., Suite 210
23                Walnut Creek, California  94596
(925) 930-7388
1                           I N D E X
2                                                    PAGE
3   MR. ALFERT………………………………..   7
7                        E X H I B I T S
8   EXHIBIT                                          PAGE
10   3        Brentwood School District Child Abuse     6
11            Reporting Requirements, BUSD 00098
12            confidential
13   4        Brentwood School District Child Abuse     6
14            Reporting Requirements Signed Statement
15            BUSD 00099, confidential
16   5        Brentwood Union School District           6
17            Notice of Unprofessional Conduct
18            Addressed to Dina Holder BUSD 00001
19            to -38, 6-4-10, confidential
20   6        Handwritten notes, one page, BUSD00072   108
21            confidential
22   7        Handwritten notes, two pages, BUSD00076  109
23            confidential
1                        E X H I B I T S
2   EXHIBIT                                          PAGE
3   8        Typed statement labeled “Investigation   109
4            of Dina Holder,” 5-25-10, BUSD00078
5            to -79, confidential
6   9        One page of handwritten notes, 5-28-10,  111
7            BUSD00094, confidential
8   10       One page of handwritten notes, 3-5-10,   111
9            BUSD00166, confidential
1                   DEPOSITION OF LAURI JAMES
3            BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the 14th day of
4   November, 2012, commencing at the hour of 9:45 a.m., in
5   the offices of Hinton, Alfert & Kahn, LLP, 200 Pringle
6   Avenue, Suite 450, Walnut Creek, California, before me,
7   DEBBY CLARY, a Certified Shorthand Reporter in the State
8   of California, personally appeared LAURI JAMES, produced
9   as a witness in said action, and being by me first duly
10   sworn, was thereupon examined as a witness in said
11   cause.
13                            –o0o–
15            HINTON, ALFERT & KAHN, LLP, 200 Pringle Avenue,
16   Suite 450, Walnut Creek, California 94596, represented
17   by PETER W. ALFERT, Attorney at Law, appeared as counsel
18   on behalf of the Plaintiffs.
20                            – and –
22            LAW OFFICES OF TODD BOLEY, 1212 Broadway, 16th
23   Floor, Oakland, California, 94612, represented by PETER
24   W. ALFERT, Attorney at Law, appeared as counsel on
25   behalf of the Plaintiffs.
1            STUBBS & LEONE, 2175 N. California Boulevard,
2   Suite 900, Walnut Creek, California 94596, represented
3   by CLAUDIA LEED, Attorney at Law, appeared as counsel on
4   behalf of Defendants Brentwood Union School District and
5   Lauri James.
7            DAVIS & YOUNG, 1960 The Alameda, Suite 210, San
8   Jose, California 95126, represented by ERIC J. BENGSTON,
9   Attorney at Law, appeared as counsel on behalf of
10   Defendant Dina Holder.
13   Also present:  Steve Patapoff, videographer
4            THE VIDEOGRAPHER:  Good morning.  Here marks
5   the beginning of Tape No. 1, Volume I in the deposition   09:44
6   of Lauri James, in the matter of Kevin Phelan, et al.,
7   versus Dina Holder, Lauri James and DOES 1 through 30,
8   in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of
9   California, Case Nos. C12-00465 LB and C12-04917 LB.
10            We’re located at Hinton, Alfert, 200 Pringle     09:45
11   Avenue, Walnut Creek, California.  Today’s date is
12   November 14th, 2012, and the time is 9:45 a.m.
13            My name is Steve Patapoff of Cyrus Productions,
14   2827 55th Avenue, Oakland, California; phone
15   510-326-9332.  Court Reporter is Debby Clary of Diablo    09:45
16   Valley Reporting.
17            Would counsel please introduce yourselves for
18   the record.
19            MR. ALFERT:  Yes.  Peter Alfert and Todd Boley
20   representing the plaintiff — plaintiffs.                 09:46
21            Just going to grab a pen while you introduce
22   yourself.
23            MR. BENGSTON:  Eric Bengston for defendant Dina
24   Holder.
25            MS. LEED:  Good morning.  Claudia Leed for       09:46
1   Lauri James and the Brentwood Union School District.
2            THE VIDEOGRAPHER:  If there are no
3   stipulations, the Court Reporter may swear in the
4   witness.
5            THE REPORTER:  (Administered oath.)
6            THE WITNESS:  Yes, I do.
8                          LAURI JAMES
9             Sworn as a witness by the Certified
10           Shorthand Reporter, testified as follows:
11                  EXAMINATION BY MR. ALFERT:
14        Q.  Would you state your full name for the record,
15   please.                                                   09:46
16        A.  Lauri Jo James.
17        Q.  Have you ever had your deposition taken before?
18        A.  No.
19        Q.  Ever testified in trial?
20        A.  No.                                              09:47
21        Q.  All right.  Let me take a minute to tell you
22   what we’re doing.
23        A.  Okay.
24        Q.  I’m going to ask you some questions about your
25   job and about a particular incidence that occurred at     09:47
1   your job.  Everything that you say is being taken down
2   by the Court Reporter, and there’s also a video being
3   made of the deposition as well.
4            It’s very important that you understand all of
5   my questions.                                             09:47
6        A.  Okay.
7        Q.  If you don’t understand a question for any
8   reason, tell me, then we’ll try to clarify it so that
9   you do understand it.  All right?
10        A.  Okay.                                            09:47
11        Q.  I’m entitled to your best estimate about
12   things; dates, times, distances.  On the other hand, I
13   don’t want you to guess at something you have no
14   information about.
15            Do you understand that?                          09:47
16        A.  Okay.
17        Q.  All right.  Your testimony today has the same
18   force and effect as if we were in court.  Do you
19   understand that?
20        A.  Yes.                                             09:47
21        Q.  So it’s very important that you tell the truth
22   and the whole truth as you know it.
23        A.  Okay.
24        Q.  All right.  Did you have an opportunity to meet
25   with the school district’s counsel before the             09:47
1   deposition?
2        A.  Yes.
3            MS. LEED:  Objection; calls for
4   attorney-client-privilege communications.
5   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            09:47
6        Q.  Can you briefly tell me your educational
7   background.
8        A.  Starting from?
9        Q.  Graduation from high school.
10        A.  Okay.  I went to Chico State, four years.  Got   09:48
11   my teaching credential the fifth year.  Got my first job
12   in ’81 in South Lake Tahoe.  Taught three years in South
13   Lake Tahoe.  Moved back to the Bay Area, and in 1983
14   started working for the Brentwood Union School District
15   as a teacher.                                             09:48
16            Worked as a teacher for 15 years.  And then for
17   the last 15 years I have been in the principalship,
18   which I did go back to Hayward State — it used to be
19   called Hayward State — to get my administrative
20   credential through Hayward State.                         09:48
21        Q.  When did you get the credential?
22        A.  I don’t know the date.
23        Q.  Roughly?
24        A.  Well, I’ve been, I’ve been in administration
25   for 15 years, so it would be 15 years ago.                09:49
1        Q.  And is that the last licensing or credentialing
2   you’ve received?
3        A.  Yes, it is.
4        Q.  Okay.  And you went to Chico State, but were
5   you from the Bay Area originally?                         09:49
6        A.  Yes.
7        Q.  Which part?
8        A.  Pleasanton.
9        Q.  What grades did you teach at South Lake Tahoe?
10        A.  I was the ESL teacher, which is English as a     09:49
11   second language instructor, from K through 12 the first
12   year, and then I was a first grade teacher, and that
13   changed to a K/1 for the last two years.  A bilingual
14   teacher.
15        Q.  Then when you came to Brentwood, what were you   09:49
16   doing as a teacher?
17        A.  I was a kindergarten teacher.
18        Q.  For how long?
19        A.  For five years.
20        Q.  Then what?                                       09:49
21        A.  Then I switched, I moved grades.  So in my
22   career, I’ve taught kindergarten, first grade, second
23   grade, sixth grade.
24        Q.  Okay.  But —
25        A.  And — I’m sorry.                                09:50
1        Q.  I’d like you to walk me through.  So you were,
2   you were in kindergarten til’ around ’88?
3        A.  Okay.  What’d I do next?  The next thing I did
4   was, let me think.  Okay.  I was, I moved to be the
5   bilingual coordinator for the district.  Which I went     09:50
6   to, at that time, we had two schools, and so I helped
7   coordinate all of the ELD, which, English language
8   development classes, for the district.  And I did that
9   for approximately six years.
10            Then went back into the classroom and taught a   09:51
11   1/2 combo, and then a second grade class, taught — I’m
12   going to back up so I correct myself.
13            After, after kindergarten, after the first five
14   years of kindergarten, I taught sixth grade at Edna Hill
15   Middle School.  And after that I went into become the     09:51
16   bilingual coordinator for the district.
17        Q.  Okay.
18        A.  And then back to the classroom.  And then I got
19   my first administrative position at Edna Hill — it was
20   a 5/6 campus — and was a vice principal there.           09:51
21        Q.  When was that?
22        A.  Two years.  It was, let’s see, if I back up
23   everything.  It was in 1997.
24        Q.  Okay.
25        A.  Thereabouts.  Sorry I don’t have all these       09:52
1   dates in my mind.
2        Q.  That’s okay.  If you just give me an estimate,
3   that would be fine.
4        A.  So then I was vice principal there for two
5   years.  Then they hired me to open my school that I’m at  09:52
6   now, Loma Vista, and I was in the district office for a
7   year planning that opening, and also helping out in
8   curriculum instruction.  And then I opened the school in
9   2000.
10        Q.  Okay.  When you were at the district office for  09:52
11   a year, what was your title?
12        A.  It was principal of Loma Vista.
13        Q.  Have you ever been in human resources?
14        A.  No.
15        Q.  And have you been the principal of Loma Vista    09:52
16   ever since?
17        A.  Yes.
18        Q.  Now, outside of your formal schooling, did you
19   have any training with the school district?
20        A.  With who?  I’m sorry.                            09:53
21        Q.  Outside of formal, your formal schooling —
22        A.  Mm-hmm.
23        Q.  — have you had any training with the school
24   district?
25        A.  From the school district.  The school district   09:53
1   provides training for us, professional development
2   training every year, yes.
3        Q.  What kind of training is that?
4        A.  It all depends on the year and the focus of
5   that year.  For example, when we started Open Court,      09:53
6   which was a new language arts program, we got a lot of
7   in-service on how to teach that particular curriculum.
8        Q.  And you have been employed with the Brentwood,
9   is it unified school district?
10        A.  It’s Union.                                      09:53
11        Q.  Brentwood Union School District?
12        A.  Mm-hmm.
13        Q.  The entire time you’ve been the principal at
14   Loma Vista?
15        A.  Yes.                                             09:54
16        Q.  Now, as principal, what are your job duties?
17        A.  All of my job duties?
18        Q.  Well, I’d like to get an overview of what your
19   job duties are.
20        A.  Okay.  Well, it’s to maintain facility, make     09:54
21   sure everything is safe and operating correctly.  It is
22   to work with my faculty, teachers’ aides, there’s 73
23   people that work there, adults.  It is to, to make sure
24   that students are getting what they need.  It is partly,
25   also I do some training so I’m educating others.  I am    09:55
1   at times the nurse because of my background, so
2   sometimes I actually help with hurt students.
3        Q.  Okay.  What about your background has to do
4   with nursing?
5        A.  It’s just how I was — my mom was an RN and she  09:55
6   shared a lot of things with me and I also took a lot of
7   first aid, CPR.  So I just know when a kid comes in with
8   a broken bone what we need to do next.
9        Q.  Okay.  Are you responsible to see the children
10   are in a safe and healthy environment when they’re at     09:55
11   school?
12        A.  Am I responsible for that?
13            MS. LEED:  Calls for a legal conclusion based
14   on — objection calls for a legal conclusion.  Are you
15   asking for a legal opinion or a legal conclusion?         09:55
17        Q.  You can answer my question.
18            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, are you asking for a
19   legal —
20            MR. ALFERT:  The question is the question.       09:56
21            Would you, could you please read it back, then
22   we’ll get an answer.
23            THE REPORTER:  “Are you responsible to see
24            the children are in a safe and healthy
25            environment when they’re at school?”             09:55
1            MS. LEED:  You’re not answering a legal opinion
2   or giving a legal opinion, you’re giving, you’re
3   explaining your job duties as the principal, as you
4   understand them.
5            THE WITNESS:  Okay.  To the best of my ability,  09:56
6   I would think that, that the kids feel safe.
8        Q.  Okay.  I asked you whether it’s your
9   responsibility to see that they’re in a safe and healthy
10   environment.                                              09:56
11        A.  I would say —
12            MS. LEED:  Objection; calls for a legal
13   conclusion.  With that, you can still answer the
14   question with that objection in mind.
15            THE WITNESS:  I believe that is part of my       09:56
16   responsibility.
18        Q.  You don’t have any doubt about that, do you, as
19   you’re sitting here today?
20            MS. LEED:  Objection.  It’s argumentative.       09:57
21   It’s argumentative.  Are we going to — Mr. Alfert,
22   excuse me, I just wanted to make sure that the
23   maintaining civility, as we’re required to do, is going
24   to be maintained today in this deposition.
2        Q.  Is there any doubt in your mind that one of
3   your responsibilities is to see that the children at
4   your school are in a safe and healthy environment?
5            MS. LEED:  Objection; it’s asked and answered.   09:57
6            Go ahead and answer the question
7   notwithstanding those objections.
8            THE WITNESS:  It’s part of my responsibility.
10        Q.  Okay.  Who else’s responsibility is it at        09:57
11   school?
12            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, calls for a legal
13   conclusion.
14            You can answer the question.
15            THE WITNESS:  For a safe and healthy             09:57
16   environment?
18        Q.  Yes.
19        A.  Who else is responsible?
20        Q.  Yes.                                             09:57
21        A.  It would be everybody that works there.
22        Q.  Have you ever given any training to people who
23   work at your school about how to provide a safe and
24   healthy environment to children at the school?
25            MS. LEED:  Vague and ambiguous.                  09:58
1            THE WITNESS:  I don’t know — I don’t exactly
2   know what kind of training you’re referring to.  We go
3   over the standard operating procedures every year so
4   that my teachers and my staff know that if there is
5   anything amiss or out of the ordinary or that they feel   09:58
6   uncomfortable with, that they’re directed to come
7   straight to me.
8            MR. ALFERT:  Okay.
9            THE WITNESS:  And training for safe
10   environment, I don’t know how, I don’t even….           09:58
11            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, finish your answer.
12   You’re not to be interrupted by myself.
13            THE WITNESS:  No, I just, I wouldn’t think, I
14   don’t know what kind of training you’re referring to.
15   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            09:58
16        Q.  Okay.  The standard operating procedures you go
17   over every year with the faculty, how is that done, is
18   it done in one meeting?
19        A.  It’s done at the beginning of the school year.
20        Q.  And how is it done?                              09:59
21        A.  I have, it’s on a chart, 11-by-17 is my chart.
22   They have their own.  It might not be that big.  And
23   it’s posted in their rooms, it’s posted around the staff
24   room and the office.  And I refer back to it and read it
25   to them, and then go over exactly what I expect out of    09:59
1   them in reference to that document.
2        Q.  Is one of the standard operating procedures —
3   and you’re referring to the school district standard
4   operating procedures; is that correct?
5        A.  Yes.                                             09:59
6        Q.  All right.  Is one of those procedures concern
7   child abuse reporting requirements?
8        A.  No.
9        Q.  Okay.  Does the district have a policy on child
10   abuse reporting requirements?                             10:00
11        A.  Yes.
12        Q.  Have you ever gone over those requirements with
13   your staff?
14        A.  Have I, I — they know that they are mandated
15   reporters.                                                10:00
16        Q.  My question was, have you ever gone over the
17   requirements with your staff?
18        A.  Just the fact that they are mandated reporters.
19        Q.  Does that mean you’ve said to them “you’re
20   mandated reporters”?                                      10:00
21        A.  I said that you are mandated reporters and you
22   understand what that means.
23        Q.  Did you explain to them what that means?
24        A.  Yes.
25        Q.  Do you do that regularly?                        10:00
1        A.  I would say that I don’t do that every year
2   because my staff has been with me for 12 years.  We
3   would, I wouldn’t go over it in that depth every year.
4   I would just say, you know, just remind you that you are
5   mandated reporters.  And under the SOP, anything that     10:01
6   you see or hear out of the ordinary needs to be reported
7   to me.
8        Q.  Okay.  Now, you’ve referred to an SOP that
9   anything out of the ordinary has to be reported; is that
10   correct?                                                  10:01
11        A.  Yes.
12        Q.  Are you personally familiar with what the child
13   abuse reporting requirements are?
14        A.  I believe so.
15        Q.  Okay.  Would you tell me what your obligation    10:01
16   is as a mandatory reporter if you are aware of child
17   abuse?
18            MS. LEED:  Objection; calls for a legal
19   conclusion.  She can answer based on her experience.
20            THE WITNESS:  What I have done in the past, if   10:02
21   I have a question at all about the safety of a student,
22   I would call CPS, and ask for their advice on the
23   matter.
25        Q.  Do you know whether the child abuse reporting    10:02
1   requirements require the report of incidents of child
2   abuse?
3            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, I —
4            MR. ALFERT:  Of incidents of child abuse.
5            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, I don’t understand the     10:02
6   question.  Can you have it —
7            MR. ALFERT:  I’ll try it again.
8            MS. LEED:  Okay.
10        Q.  The mandatory reporting law, does it require     10:03
11   that mandated reporters report incidents of child abuse?
12            MS. LEED:  Objection.  To the extent it calls
13   for a legal conclusion, I object.
14            THE WITNESS:  I believe it states that if you
15   are in suspicion of any kind of harm, that you are to     10:03
16   call CPS.  Sometimes my staff has felt — they would
17   also come and talk to me about it, so it’s, you know,
18   they shared it with me and then they are supposed to
19   call as well.
20   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:03
21        Q.  Does CPS deal with incidents that do not
22   involve a child’s family or custodian?
23            MS. LEED:  To the extent —
24            THE WITNESS:  I don’t know —
25            THE REPORTER:  Wait, wait.                       10:03
1            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, you have to give me a
2   moment to object.
3            THE WITNESS:  Okay.
4            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry.  Calls for a legal
5   conclusion.                                               10:04
7        Q.  What was your answer?
8        A.  I’m sorry, you have to repeat the question.
9        Q.  Yeah, I asked you whether CPS deals with
10   situations of abuse that does not involve the child’s     10:04
11   family or custodian?
12            MS. LEED:  Same objection.
13            THE WITNESS:  I, I don’t work for CPS so I, I’m
14   not sure.
15   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:04
16        Q.  Have you ever been told that they don’t handle
17   those types of matters?
18        A.  When I called the CPS, yes.
19        Q.  When?  When you called them when?
20        A.  When I called them for this case, they told me   10:04
21   that they don’t deal with something that happened at my
22   school.  That was an internal issue.
23        Q.  Did they tell you to call the police?
24        A.  No.
25        Q.  Have you ever told anybody that they told you    10:04
1   to call the police?
2            MS. LEED:  Objection to the extent to which it
3   calls for the attorney-client-privilege communication.
4            Let me just say that none of Mr. Alfert’s
5   questions require you to disclose anything you’ve spoken  10:04
6   to with your attorney.  So we just have this sort of
7   fiction when you asks you something, just assume he’s
8   not seeking anything that comes from there.  So, so if
9   you spoke to somebody else about that issue, you can
10   tell him that.                                            10:05
11            Do you understand?
12            THE WITNESS:  (Nodding head.)
13            MS. LEED:  Okay.  So you want to re-ask the
14   question.
15            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah.                               10:05
16        Q.  Have you ever told anybody that CPS told you to
17   call the police about the J.P. incident?
18        A.  I, I don’t know that.
19        Q.  When you say “I don’t know that,” does that
20   mean you can’t remember telling them?                     10:05
21        A.  Exactly, because it was two-and-a-half years
22   ago.
23        Q.  Okay.  So if somebody testified that you told
24   them that, you wouldn’t dispute that; is that correct?
25            MS. LEED:  Objection; assumes facts not in       10:05
1   evidence and it’s argumentative.
3        Q.  You can answer.
4            MS. LEED:  And don’t speculate, please.
5            THE WITNESS:  I’m sorry.                         10:05
7        Q.  My question was, if somebody testified under
8   oath that you told them that, you would not dispute
9   that; is that true?
10            MS. LEED:  Objection; assumes facts not in       10:05
11   evidence.  It’s argumentative.  Calls for speculation.
12            Just because Mr. Alfert is saying that doesn’t
13   mean it’s true.  That’s what my objection means.
14            THE WITNESS:  Okay.  I don’t, I don’t know
15   where to go with this.                                    10:06
17        Q.  I’ll say it again.  All the objections are
18   noted.
19            If somebody testified that you told them that
20   CPS told you —                                           10:06
21        A.  Okay.
22        Q.  — to call the police —
23        A.  Right.
24        Q.  — about the J.P. incident, you would not
25   dispute that, would you?                                  10:06
1            MS. LEED:  Objection —
2            THE WITNESS:  I wouldn’t —
3            THE REPORTER:  I’m sorry, could we —
4            (Simultaneous discussion.)
5            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, go ahead.                  10:06
6            THE WITNESS:  I would dispute that.
8        Q.  So that person would be lying if they said —
9            MS. LEED:  Objection; it’s argumentative.
10            THE WITNESS:  I, I don’t know what they would    10:06
11   say.  I had to do a lot of rethinking and going back
12   over my notes and remembering after two-and-a-half years
13   ago, and I’ve tried the best that I can and I took good
14   notes.  And my notes, I have said that I have called CPS
15   and they said it was an internal matter.  And so,         10:07
16   therefore, I went to my superior and then continued as
17   my superior told me to do.
19        Q.  Who did you talk to at CPS?
20        A.  I don’t have her name.  I did not take her name  10:07
21   down because she didn’t give me any information other
22   than you’ll have to deal with it yourself, so that’s
23   when I went to my supervisor.
24        Q.  Okay.  So you did not bother to take the name
25   of the person and —                                      10:07
1        A.  No, I did not.
2        Q.  — and note it; is that correct?
3            MS. LEED:  Objection; that’s argumentative.
4            You need to slow down, please, because we’re
5   talking over each other.  I know Mr. Alfert is —         10:07
6            THE WITNESS:  Sorry.
7            MS. LEED:  — a little aggressive in his
8   questioning.  It’s up to him, but I need to make
9   objections.
10            THE WITNESS:  Okay.                              10:07
11            MS. LEED:  All right.  So I need to tell you
12   that that is argumentative.
14        Q.  You did not bother to take the name of the
15   person who gave you that advice?                          10:07
16        A.  No.
17        Q.  Okay.  When did that call occur?
18        A.  I believe that call was on Friday.
19        Q.  Okay.  Now, did you review notes before coming
20   here to refresh your recollection?                        10:08
21        A.  I’ve been going over my notes a lot.
22        Q.  Okay.  Because of the lawsuit?
23        A.  No, because my day is packed full of events.
24   I’ve — and have 650 students in and out every day.  And
25   from my memory at 55 years old, I needed to go back over  10:08
1   something that happened two-and-a-half years ago.
2        Q.  When did you last go over your notes?
3        A.  Last night.
4        Q.  Okay.  And what about before that, when’s the
5   last time?                                                10:08
6        A.  Whenever I talked to my attorney.
7        Q.  Now, let’s go back to what the mandatory child
8   abuse reporting requirements are.
9        A.  Okay.
10        Q.  Within what time frame is a mandatory reporting  10:09
11   to report an incident of child abuse?
12            MS. LEED:  Objection; calls for a legal
13   conclusion.
14            THE WITNESS:  I have — I do not know the legal
15   time frame.                                               10:09
17        Q.  Are you testifying that you are unaware that
18   there is a required time frame within which to make an
19   oral report concerning an incident of child abuse?
20            MS. LEED:  Objection; it’s argumentative, calls  10:09
21   for a legal conclusion, and it’s been asked and
22   answered.
23            THE WITNESS:  I don’t know the exact amount of
24   hours.  I don’t know that, I can’t give you that.
2        Q.  Okay.  Do you know whether there is a time
3   frame within which one must make a written report
4   concerning child abuse?
5            MS. LEED:  Same objection; calls for a legal     10:10
6   conclusion.
7            THE WITNESS:  What I do is I call CPS, I ask
8   for their advice.  If they tell me they don’t have
9   enough to go on, I do not follow with a written CPS
10   report.  That is not — their advice to me.               10:10
12        Q.  Have there been occasions in the past where you
13   have not made a written report other than in the J.P.
14   incident?
15        A.  A written report, yes.                           10:10
16        Q.  How many?
17        A.  I don’t know.
18        Q.  Give me an approximation, please.
19        A.  How many times I’ve called CPS and they’ve
20   asked, they’ve told me that there is no need for a        10:10
21   written report, or that it didn’t warrant them coming
22   out and doing anything about it, I would say probably
23   three or four times in my career.
24        Q.  And it’s your testimony that there have been
25   occasions when CPS told you you don’t need to make a      10:11
1   written report; is that correct?
2            MS. LEED:  Objection; it’s argumentative in the
3   phrase “And it’s your testimony.”
4            THE WITNESS:  There have been times that they
5   told me that, yeah.                                       10:11
7        Q.  Okay.  Now, they didn’t tell you that in
8   connection with J.P.; is that correct?
9        A.  They told me that it was an internal issue,
10   internal investigation issue, that they would not come    10:11
11   out.  They would not investigate.  It had nothing to do
12   with them.
13        Q.  That’s correct, and they told you that they
14   only investigate matters between parents and child or
15   custodians and children, correct?                         10:11
16        A.  I believe so.
17        Q.  Okay.  Well, this incident didn’t involve an
18   incident between a parent and a child, correct?
19        A.  This incident did not, correct.
20        Q.  It involved an incident of abuse between a       10:12
21   teacher and a child, correct?
22        A.  Yes.
23        Q.  And did you make an oral report to the police
24   within 24 hours of that incident?
25        A.  No, I did not.                                   10:12
1        Q.  Did you make an oral report to CPS within
2   24 hours of that incident?
3        A.  Of the incident?
4        Q.  Yes.
5        A.  No, I did not.                                   10:12
6        Q.  Did you make an oral report to the police
7   within 24 hours of learning about the incident?
8        A.  No, I did not.
9        Q.  Did you make a written report to CPS within
10   36 hours of learning of the incident?                     10:12
11        A.  Okay.  You just changed your questioning.  You
12   said of learning of the incident instead of when the
13   incident actually occurred, because I learned about the
14   incident a couple days later.  So if you’re — that’s
15   why I asked to clarify.  You said when the incident       10:13
16   actually occurred, which was on a Tuesday, and I didn’t
17   hear about it until Wednesday late afternoon.  So I
18   called the CPS on Friday, and they told me it was none
19   of their concern.
20        Q.  Did you think it was anybody’s concern?          10:13
21        A.  I called my superior —
22        Q.  Who was —
23        A.  — right away.
24        Q.  Who was that?
25        A.  Margaret Kruse.                                  10:13
1        Q.  Okay.  Now, did you understand, did you believe
2   that a child had been physically assaulted by a teacher
3   in that incident?
4            MS. LEED:  Vague and ambiguous as to time.
5            MR. ALFERT:  Good point.                         10:13
6        Q.  When you learned of the incident, was it
7   reported that somebody had witnessed the physical
8   assault of a student by a teacher?
9        A.  Say that again.  Sorry.
10        Q.  Yeah.  When you were advised of the J.P.         10:13
11   incident, were you told that a teacher had physically
12   assaulted a child?
13        A.  I was told by a person who was told by a person
14   who was told by a person that that happened.  So that’s
15   why I had to get and do some investigation because it,    10:14
16   at that point, it was thirdhand.
17        Q.  Well, how long did it take for you to talk to
18   somebody that witnessed the event?
19            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, it’s vague and ambiguous.
20   Do you mean when Ms. James personally spoke to someone    10:14
21   who was actually a witness to the incident?
22            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah.
23        Q.  How long —
24            MS. LEED:  Okay.  When that happened?
25            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah.                               10:14
1        Q.  How long did that take?
2        A.  I was told late Wednesday, and then I was in
3   the district office all day Thursday as a panel member,
4   a panel trying to pick an, a new principal for another
5   school, so I was not at my site all day Thursday, but I   10:15
6   had another — the person who told me, I said I need to
7   get statements from all the people that were there,
8   private statements, confidential statements, written in
9   their own handwriting; not together, by themselves.
10            And I need for you to ask them to please write   10:15
11   those statements while it’s fresh in their minds what
12   exactly happened.  And so then that’s what occurred on
13   that Thursday that I was not at Loma Vista School.
14            So then after I got those, then I —
15   eyewitnesses that are saying that they saw this action    10:15
16   occur.  And so for part of my investigation, I sat down
17   and talked to each one of those people about their
18   statements, and I also called in Dina Holder on Friday
19   morning, which was a non-workday.
20            But my advisor Margaret Kruse, who I was         10:16
21   working with since Thursday, she advised me that I need
22   to get Dina in, and right away, even though it was a
23   non-workday and ask her to come in.  So, so that’s what
24   I did.
25            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, we just need to take a     10:16
1   very quick break.  Thank you.  There’s no question
2   pending.
3            Can you unhook yourself.
4            THE WITNESS:  Oh.
5            THE VIDEOGRAPHER:  The time is 10:16.  We’re     10:16
6   off the record.
7            (Recess.)
8            THE VIDEOGRAPHER:  Time is 10:20.  We’re back
9   on the record.
10   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:20
11        Q.  What time of the day was it that you had your
12   first notice that something happened with J.P.?
13        A.  The time of the day I believe was 3:30.
14        Q.  Okay.
15        A.  On Wednesday.                                    10:20
16        Q.  Okay.  And you did not make any telephone calls
17   or e-mails or try to communicate with the people who
18   were said to be witnesses to the event?
19            MS. LEED:  Objection.  I’m sorry.  It’s vague
20   and ambiguous as to time.                                 10:21
22        Q.  I’m talking about on that Wednesday.  On
23   Wednesday, did you make any attempt to communicate with
24   any of the people that were witnesses to the event?
25        A.  No.                                              10:21
1        Q.  On Thursday, did you attempt to make any
2   communication personally with any of the people who were
3   witnesses to the event?
4        A.  No.
5        Q.  On Friday, did you personally make any attempt   10:21
6   to communicate with the witnesses to the event?
7            MS. LEED:  You mean aside from Ms. James, you
8   mean independent witnesses?  It’s vague and ambiguous.
10        Q.  Well, yeah, anybody — when’s the first time     10:21
11   you personally communicated with someone who was present
12   when this incident occurred?
13        A.  Gosh, I’m not sure of the exact time.
14        Q.  What day?
15        A.  I couldn’t tell you the exact day.  Sorry.       10:22
16        Q.  From reading your very accurate notes, you were
17   not able to determine on what day you first communicated
18   with any of the people who were present when this
19   incident occurred?
20        A.  I do not recall when, after their written        10:22
21   statements when I talked to them.
22        Q.  When did you get their written statements?
23        A.  I believe that was Thursday, late after I got
24   back.
25        Q.  Did you attempt to personally communicate with   10:23
1   any of those people on Thursday after getting their
2   written statements?
3            MS. LEED:  Objection; asked and answered.
4            Go ahead, please.  Go ahead.
5            THE WITNESS:  They were not at work.             10:23
7        Q.  Okay.  Now, when you got the written
8   statements — well, by “They were not at work” means
9   that you did not attempt to communicate with them on
10   Thursday; is that true?                                   10:23
11        A.  They were not available at my site at work for
12   me to communicate with them.
13        Q.  Okay.  You have their home phone numbers, do
14   you not?
15        A.  Yes, I do.                                       10:23
16        Q.  Okay.  So you could have called them, correct?
17        A.  I guess I could have.
18        Q.  And you could have e-mailed them at home?
19            MS. LEED:  Objection —
20            THE WITNESS:  No.                                10:23
21            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry.  It’s argumentative.
23        Q.  Do you typically communicate with staff off
24   site by phone rather than e-mail?
25        A.  I usually don’t call my staff on nonworking      10:24
1   hours.
2        Q.  You sometimes call them on nonworking hours?
3        A.  Yes.
4        Q.  Under what circumstances?
5        A.  If they’re, if they broke their leg, check on    10:24
6   their health.
7        Q.  Matters of importance, do you call them
8   sometimes?
9            MS. LEED:  It’s vague and ambiguous.
10   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:24
11        Q.  Matters that you think are important, do you
12   sometimes call them?
13            MS. LEED:  It’s vague and ambiguous.
14            THE WITNESS:  I call them just like the
15   examples that I gave you, if somebody broke their leg,    10:24
16   you know.  If they have a cold, no.  If they broke their
17   leg, I might call them at home.
19        Q.  Now, on Thursday, you received some written
20   statements; is that correct?                              10:24
21        A.  I believe it was Thursday.
22        Q.  Okay.  At some point you received some written
23   statements, correct?
24        A.  Yes, I did.
25        Q.  And when is the first time then you spoke to     10:25
1   these people that gave the written statements?
2            MS. LEED:  It’s been asked and answered.
3            THE WITNESS:  You already asked me that.  I’m
4   not going to give you an answer.  I didn’t remember.
5   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:25
6        Q.  Okay.  At some point you had written statements
7   and at some point you talked to them, correct?
8        A.  Yes.
9        Q.  And you received a description of what occurred
10   in the classroom, correct?                                10:25
11        A.  Yes.
12        Q.  And the description you received, did that
13   include a teacher pushing a child onto the floor,
14   kicking them several times and calling them a son of a
15   bitch or a stupid son of a bitch?                         10:25
16            MS. LEED:  Object — go ahead.
17            MR. BENGSTON:  Objection; compound.
18            MS. LEED:  Compound, and it’s argumentative,
19   and it’s vague and ambiguous as to time.  Although, I’m
20   sorry, the last objection was withdrawn because you did   10:26
21   start it with “at some point,” so I apologize.
22            Can you, because it is compound —
23            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah, sure —
24            (Simultaneous discussion.)
25            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah, sure.  Well, let’s just take  10:26
1   them one at a time.
2        Q.  The information you received from the people
3   that were present was that the teacher had thrown a
4   child to the floor, correct?
5        A.  No.                                              10:26
6            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, let — it’s vague and
7   ambiguous and lacks foundation.  Why don’t we just say
8   again, because I’m trying to just move things along for
9   everybody’s benefit, what information you’re referring
10   to in the written statements.                             10:26
11            MR. ALFERT:  No, no.  I’m going to ask the
12   questions and she, the witness needs to answer them.
13        Q.  You collected a lot of information, and I want
14   know what you were thinking about after you reviewed it.
15   So I am asking you whether you received — did you have   10:26
16   information that a teacher had thrown a child onto the
17   floor?
18            MS. LEED:  Misstates testimony as to “a lot of
19   information.”  And it, it’s vague and ambiguous as to
20   time.                                                     10:27
21            Go ahead, though.  If you understand it, answer
22   the question, please.
23            THE WITNESS:  No.
25        Q.  Okay.  Did you receive testimony that somehow a  10:27
1   student that a teacher was handling ended up on the
2   floor?
3        A.  Yes.
4        Q.  Did you receive information that a teacher had
5   kicked that child twice in the back?                      10:27
6            MS. LEED:  Compound.
7            Go ahead.
8            THE WITNESS:  Yes.
10        Q.  Did you receive information that the teacher     10:27
11   had called the child a stupid son of a bitch?
12        A.  One statement said “son of a bitch,” not the
13   “stupid” part.  So I just got a report on the “son of a
14   bitch.”
15        Q.  Okay.  Did you receive a report that the child   10:28
16   was crying after this incident?
17        A.  Yes.
18        Q.  Now, after you had received the written reports
19   and after you had spoken to everyone in the room,
20   including the perpetrator, Ms. Holder, did you believe    10:28
21   that a crime had occurred in your classroom?
22            MS. LEED:  Mr. Alfert, I would appreciate it if
23   you would not lean into my client.  Okay.  We’re just
24   in, in a conference room here.  Do not raise your voice.
25   Okay.  Remain with a, maintaining a civil tone.  That’s   10:28
1   the first thing.  And you have asked a hopelessly
2   compound question.
4        Q.  You can answer my question.
5        A.  Can you repeat it, please.                       10:29
6        Q.  Sure.
7            Based on all the information you collected, did
8   you believe a crime occurred in your classroom?
9            MS. LEED:  Objection; vague and ambiguous as to
10   time and calls for a legal conclusion.                    10:29
11            THE WITNESS:  I believe that Dina Holder kicked
12   the student.
14        Q.  And as principal of the school, did you believe
15   that that is a crime?                                     10:29
16            MS. LEED:  Objection, same objection; it’s been
17   asked and answered.  It’s the same question, Mr. Alfert.
18            THE WITNESS:  I’m not a police officer, so I
19   don’t know what is legal about what constitutes a crime
20   or not.  All I know is that Dina Holder kicked my         10:29
21   student.
23        Q.  Okay.  My question is about what you believed.
24   And my question is, after you collected all of the
25   information about this incident, did you believe a crime  10:29
1   had occurred on your campus in your classroom?
2            MS. LEED:  The same objection; it calls for a
3   legal conclusion, it’s been asked and answered.  I mean
4   it’s been asked three times, it’s been answered twice.
5   We’re not here to get my client’s expert opinions or      10:30
6   legal opinions.  It’s been asked and answered.
8        Q.  You can answer.
9            MS. LEED:  You already answered it.  Go ahead,
10   do it again.                                              10:30
11            THE WITNESS:  Dina Holder kicked a student and,
12   and, at Loma Vista.
14        Q.  And I’m asking you did you —
15        A.  I do not know if it’s a crime.  I do not know.   10:30
16        Q.  Okay.  I’m, I appreciate you saying you don’t
17   know if it’s a crime, but my question’s a little
18   different.  My question is, did you believe that a crime
19   occurred on your campus?
20            MS. LEED:  Objection.  Now you’ve asked it, I    10:30
21   don’t know, four or five times; I’m losing track.  I
22   can’t instruct my client not to answer, but, Mr. Alfert,
23   I can suspend a deposition if you continue to harass my
24   client.  So I really don’t want to get into that kind of
25   Donnybrook stuff with you.  I appreciate that you want    10:31
1   to get a lot of information today, and I want you to get
2   it, but not at the cost of berating my client.  She’s
3   answered the questioned three times.
4            MR. ALFERT:  She hasn’t answered it yet.
5            MS. LEED:  Well —                               10:31
6            MR. ALFERT:  She’s answering the question she
7   wants to answer, which is whether or not she knew it was
8   a crime.  That is not my question, Counsel.  My question
9   is, did she believe that a crime occurred on her campus.
10        Q.  And you can answer that yes, no, or I didn’t     10:31
11   have any belief at all or any other answer you’d like to
12   give, but I would like to know, and I’m going to try it
13   one more time.
14            After reviewing all of the information
15   concerning this incident, did you personally believe a    10:31
16   crime had occurred in your classroom?
17            MS. LEED:  Objection; it’s been asked and
18   answered many times.  We’re not here to get opinions,
19   legal opinions.  And if you yell at people and point at
20   them, it’s not going to change their answer, Mr. Alfert.  10:32
21            THE WITNESS:  Dina Holder kicked a student at
22   my school.  It’s terrible that she did that.  But that’s
23   what all the evidence pointed to, is that’s what
24   happened.
2        Q.  And did you believe that was a crime that
3   occurred in your classroom?
4            MS. LEED:  Mr. Alfert, I think I’m going to, at
5   some point you’re going to have to decide, you can ask    10:32
6   this question 50 times, and that you’re not allowed to
7   abuse a witness, and that’s where you’re at.  So I don’t
8   want to have to stop and call the judge because it seems
9   silly to me that you’ve asked this question six times
10   now.  It’s been answered.                                 10:32
11            Why don’t we just go on, and if you feel that
12   you want to make a motion about it, then go ahead, you
13   know, because I’m not instructing her not to answer.
14            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah, I am entitled to the
15   witness’s state of mind, and she has not yet told me      10:33
16   what her state of mind was.  She just keeps answering
17   that the teacher kicked the student.  But that’s not the
18   question.
19        Q.  We all know the teacher kicked the student.  My
20   question has to do with what you thought about that       10:33
21   incident.  Do you understand the difference?
22            MS. LEED:  Mr. Alfert, it has been asked and
23   answered.  May I suggest, okay, because I really don’t
24   want to waste valuable time since it’s, you only get
25   seven hours with this witness.  Why don’t we move on,     10:33
1   okay, and maybe we can revisit it on Friday if we’re, if
2   you still are running around in circles, but I don’t see
3   the point.  We’re just going to keep doing this.
4            MR. ALFERT:  Let’s try it one more time and
5   then we can see if we’ll call the judge at the break.     10:33
6        Q.  But just so you understand my question, we know
7   what happened.  I’d like to know what you thought about
8   that incident.  Do, do you understand the difference
9   between telling me what happened and describing what you
10   thought about the incident?                               10:34
11            MS. LEED:  Objection.  Mr. Alfert, it’s been
12   asked and answered.  If you look at the transcript —
13   and I encourage you to do that — the witness said that
14   she did not know if it was a crime.  That reflects state
15   of mind sufficient to answer your question.  So….       10:34
16            MR. ALFERT:  That wasn’t the question, whether
17   she knew it was a crime.
18            THE WITNESS:  That was your question, though.
20        Q.  I’m going to try it again.  Did you believe it   10:34
21   was a crime?
22        A.  If you use the word “crime,” then I can’t, I
23   don’t know that part.  If you say what do you — you
24   know, you have to rephrase your question because crime
25   is not in my, in my realm of knowledge.                   10:34
1        Q.  Did you consider whether it was a crime?
2            MS. LEED:  Vague and ambiguous as to time.
3            THE WITNESS:  Did I consider?
4            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, would you give us a time
5   frame on that, Mr. Alfert.                                10:35
7        Q.  After reviewing all of the material, the
8   written information and the interviews you received, did
9   you consider whether those acts were a crime or not?
10            MS. LEED:  Okay.  I’m sorry, we’re talking       10:35
11   about until last night?
12            MR. ALFERT:  No.
13        Q.  We’re talking about, we’re talking about around
14   the time of the event, you got statements from
15   everybody, you talked to everybody, back then after       10:35
16   completing your investigation, did you consider whether
17   or not what happened was a crime?
18            MS. LEED:  Okay.  That, first of all, that
19   assumes facts not in evidence, grossly misstates the
20   testimony.  Because you have not elicited foundation      10:35
21   that, the extent to which Ms. James conducted an
22   investigation or other people conducted an
23   investigation.  So you — the record is now, you’re
24   misstating the record, Mr. Alfert, and misstating
25   testimony.                                                10:36
2        Q.  You can answer my question.
3            MS. LEED:  If you understand the question,
4   please go ahead.
5            THE WITNESS:  I don’t know about crime because   10:36
6   I’m not a legal, I’m not a police officer, so I don’t
7   know about crime.  Do I like the fact she kicked the
8   kid, no.
10        Q.  Did you consider asking anybody whether it was   10:36
11   a crime?
12        A.  I talked to my superior.
13        Q.  Okay.  Did you ask her if it was a crime?
14        A.  No.
15        Q.  Did you ask her whether you needed to get the    10:36
16   police involved?
17        A.  I took direction from Margaret Kruse.
18        Q.  Did you ask her whether you needed to get the
19   police involved?
20        A.  No.                                              10:36
21        Q.  Okay.  You say you took direction from Margaret
22   Kruse.  What direction did she give you?
23        A.  She told me to get Dina in on Friday, so that I
24   could get her statement and talk to her face-to-face
25   directly even, and that she was not to work that day.     10:37
1        Q.  Did you call Dina at home?
2        A.  Yes.  That was my directive.
3        Q.  When did you do that?
4        A.  Friday morning.
5        Q.  Was she the first person that you spoke to       10:37
6   directly about the incident?
7            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, do you mean — I
8   apologize.  It’s vague and ambiguous.  Do you mean the
9   first witness or —
10            MR. ALFERT:  I’ll try it again.                  10:38
11        Q.  Is Dina Holder the first person that was in the
12   room at the time of the incident that you spoke to?
13        A.  I’m sorry, can you repeat that.
14        Q.  Sure.  Was Dina Holder the first person you
15   spoke to that was a person that was in the room at the    10:38
16   time of the incident?
17        A.  Yes.
18        Q.  Was there school on Friday?
19        A.  No, it was a non-school day.
20        Q.  Okay.  Did you speak to the other people who     10:38
21   were in the room on Friday?
22        A.  No.
23        Q.  When did you speak to them?
24        A.  I believe it was on Tuesday morning.
25        Q.  When did you speak to the parents?               10:38
1        A.  Tuesday afternoon.
2        Q.  That was a week after the incident; is that
3   correct?
4        A.  That is correct.
5        Q.  Now, let me show you Exhibit 3 to the            10:39
6   deposition today.
7            MS. LEED:  Do you have — I’m sorry, do you
8   have another copy?  Okay.  We’re fine.  All right.
9   Thank you.
10            Mr. Alfert, just on, I think you were going to   10:40
11   identify things by Bates stamp number.
12            MR. ALFERT:  Well, in this particular case,
13   this document’s marked.  It happens to be BUSD No. 98,
14   but it is also marked Exhibit 3 to this deposition.
15            MS. LEED:  Yeah, just as a, it’s just            10:40
16   housekeeping, I figured that, I think you mentioned
17   before that when you were going to be talking about an
18   exhibit that you would give the Bates stamp number.
19            MR. ALFERT:  I’ll be happy to do that.
20            MS. LEED:  Yeah.  It’s just helpful for people.  10:40
21            MR. ALFERT:  Yeah.
22            MS. LEED:  Thank you so much.
24        Q.  Have you ever seen Exhibit 3 before?
25        A.  I can’t tell you.  I’ve gone through many of     10:40
1   the board policies.  There are five or six books that
2   are that thick (indicating) each one, but I do know
3   about basic, about what my responsibilities are.
4        Q.  Okay.  Well, my question is, have you ever seen
5   this document before.  You’re unsure?                     10:41
6        A.  Yes.
7        Q.  Okay.  Are you familiar with the verbatim
8   language in Paragraph 1 of Exhibit 3?
9        A.  Yes.
10        Q.  All right.  And did you know at the time of      10:41
11   this incident that you were to notify a child protective
12   agency immediately upon learning of an incident of child
13   abuse?
14        A.  I’m sorry, say, ask your question again.
15        Q.  Yeah.  At the time this incident occurred, were  10:42
16   you aware that you were required to report incidents of
17   child abuse immediately upon learning of them?
18            MS. LEED:  It calls for a legal conclusion.
19   Are you asking — I’m sorry, lacks foundation.  Are you
20   asking what this says or what, or what the witness —     10:42
22        Q.  Do you understand —
23            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry, I just was, I
24   was just about done with my sentence.  I’m sorry,
25   Mr. Alfert, I lost my train of thought.  I just, my       10:42
1   question is are you asking a legal opinion or just what
2   Ms. James understands this document says?
3            MR. ALFERT:  I’m never going to ask her a legal
4   opinion, so you’re not going to have to keep making
5   those objections.  You’re making an objection to almost   10:42
6   every question, which is slowing this deposition down
7   dramatically.  These questions are not improper and the
8   witness should answer them.
9        Q.  I’m going to ask you again:  Were you aware at
10   the time of the J.P. incident that you, as a mandated     10:43
11   reporter, were required to report incidents of child
12   abuse within 24 hours of knowing about them?
13            MS. LEED:  Calls for a legal opinion.
14            THE WITNESS:  I did — in a timely manner I
15   gathered those reports, talked to Dina; she told me what  10:43
16   she did.  I called CPS.
18        Q.  Did you do that within 24 hours of being
19   notified that a teacher had kicked a student in your
20   classroom twice?                                          10:43
21            MS. LEED:  Objection; it misstates the
22   parameters of Section 11166 of the Penal Code, and calls
23   for a legal conclusion.
24            But go ahead and answer the question.
25            THE WITNESS:  I did my investigation.  I — it   10:43
1   was — as soon as I knew that she kicked a kid, I called
2   CPS.  I don’t — I couldn’t tell you if that was
3   24 hours.  As soon as I knew she kicked a kid, I called
4   CPS.
5   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:44
6        Q.  Have you had any training whatsoever about
7   whose responsibility it is to investigate suspected
8   incidents of child abuse?
9        A.  I’ve had training on investigating things that
10   happen at my site.                                        10:44
11        Q.  Okay.  Have you had any training about what
12   entities are charged with the responsibility for
13   investigating reports of child abuse?
14        A.  I don’t understand your question.
15        Q.  Yeah.  What entities, have you had any training  10:44
16   about who should investigate reported incidents of child
17   abuse, any training at all?
18        A.  It’s, it’s my job to report incidents of child
19   abuse.
20        Q.  Who’s supposed to investigate incidents of       10:44
21   child abuse?
22        A.  I would think CPS would be the ones that would
23   investigate from their standpoint of any incidents of
24   child abuse.
25        Q.  How about the police, do you think they          10:45
1   investigate incidents of child abuse?
2        A.  I don’t — I’m — I could guess.
3        Q.  You don’t know whether the police investigate
4   incidents of child abuse?
5            MS. LEED:  It’s argumentative.  It’s             10:45
6   argumentative and calls for speculation.
7            But whatever you understand, go ahead, please.
8            THE WITNESS:  I’m sure that the police have
9   been called, I would guess, but my first, my first
10   response is to call CPS.  And then when they told me      10:45
11   it’s an internal, internal issue, then I went to my
12   superior.  If she told me and directed me to call the
13   police, then that’s what I would have done.
15        Q.  Okay.  So you let your supervisor determine      10:45
16   whether the police would be called?
17        A.  That’s what I did, yes.
18        Q.  Okay.  And in this incident, that was Janice
19   Kruse, correct?
20        A.  No, it’s not Janice Kruse.                       10:46
21        Q.  I’m sorry, Margaret Kruse?
22        A.  That’s correct.
23        Q.  I misspoke.
24        A.  That’s okay.
25        Q.  Okay.  Now, let me show you Exhibit 4.  It’s     10:46
1   Bates No. 99.  It’s produced by the school district.
2   Have you ever seen this document before?
3            MS. LEED:  Oh, I’m sorry, you handed me the
4   actual exhibit, so there we go.  Thank you.
5            THE WITNESS:  I believe I have seen it before.   10:46
7        Q.  Okay.  Have you signed it?
8        A.  I believe so.
9        Q.  Okay.  Where, where is that?
10        A.  I have no idea.                                  10:46
11        Q.  As a principal, is it kept on your school?
12        A.  No.
13        Q.  The district keeps that document?
14        A.  I would think that that’s where they would be.
15        Q.  Would you expect it to be in your personnel      10:47
16   file?
17        A.  I don’t know.
18        Q.  Okay.  Speaking of files, let’s just change
19   topic for a minute.  Did you keep any files personally
20   relating to Dina Holder at any time while she’s been a    10:47
21   teacher at your school?
22        A.  I have files on all my staff.
23        Q.  What’s inside those files?
24        A.  Well, it could be great things they’ve done,
25   samples of their, things that they’ve gone above and      10:47
1   beyond what’s required of them.  It could be a sample of
2   their Back To School Night packets.  It could be notes
3   that I got from parent, either great letters of
4   accolades about them or letters of concerns.  And their
5   observ-, copy of, my own copy of their observations and   10:48
6   drop-in notes.
7        Q.  Do you ever make your own notes and put them in
8   the teacher’s file?
9        A.  Yes, I do.  That’s when we — we like to drop
10   in notes.                                                 10:48
11        Q.  Okay.  So you have, you had a file of Dina
12   Holder when she was at your school?
13        A.  Yes, I did.
14        Q.  Did that file include incidents that came to
15   your attention that raised concern to you as a            10:48
16   principal?
17        A.  No.
18        Q.  Where would you keep that type of information?
19        A.  The file?
20        Q.  No, no.  The, where would you keep information   10:48
21   that came to your attention about a teacher that was a
22   concern to you?
23        A.  I would have, I would have those notes in their
24   file.
25        Q.  That’s what I’m asking you.  Okay.               10:48
1            And with respect to Dina Holder, did you
2   have —
3        A.  Right.
4        Q.  — in her file notes relating to various
5   incidents that she was engaged in that were a potential   10:49
6   concern to you as a principal?
7        A.  I had some notes that I took relating from when
8   she was at my site.  She came to me from another site,
9   and that file comes with her.
10        Q.  Okay.  But once it got to your school, did you   10:49
11   also make notes?
12        A.  There are, there are some notes in there from
13   me, yes.
14        Q.  And those predate the J.P. incident?
15        A.  I think two do and one is after.                 10:49
16        Q.  Okay.
17        A.  That was not my note.  So all of my notes were
18   pre, mm-hmm.
19        Q.  And what did your notes concern?  Don’t name
20   any children.  I just want to know generally what your    10:49
21   notes about Dina Holder were about.
22        A.  The notes that I have in there were parent
23   complaints and then investigating the parent complaints.
24        Q.  And there were two of those?
25        A.  Two.                                             10:50
1        Q.  Okay.  Incidentally, well, let’s start with
2   you.  Did you give any reprimands to anybody at your
3   school that related to the J.P. incident?
4        A.  Written?
5        Q.  No.                                              10:50
6        A.  Oral?
7        Q.  Any, any kind of reprimand.  Did you give any
8   type of reprimand to any persons at your school that
9   related to the J.P. incident?
10        A.  Yes.                                             10:50
11        Q.  Who, who did you reprimand?
12        A.  This is verbal —
13        Q.  Okay.
14        A.  — reprimand.
15        Q.  Uh-huh.                                          10:50
16        A.  Connie Forest.
17        Q.  Yes.
18        A.  Dina Holder.
19        Q.  Yes.
20        A.  The, all the other aides that were there,        10:51
21   Stacy Carbonetti, Kelly Knapp, Heidi.  Was there
22   somebody else?  Connie Forest… I think that’s it.
23        Q.  Okay.  Did any —
24        A.  Oh, I’m sorry.  Janice Lopez.
25        Q.  Okay.  Did any of these people receive more      10:51
1   than a verbal reprimand?
2        A.  No.  Well —
3        Q.  Other than, other than Dina, did any employees
4   receive other than a verbal reprimand?
5        A.  No.                                              10:51
6        Q.  Was there record made of the verbal reprimands
7   to the other employees?
8        A.  No.
9        Q.  Okay.  You verbally reprimanded, you told me
10   Forest, Carbonetti, Knapp, Vincent, correct, and Lopez?   10:52
11        A.  Right.
12        Q.  And you made no notes concerning those
13   reprimands?
14            MS. LEED:  Asked and answered.
15            Go ahead.                                        10:52
16            THE WITNESS:  Did I make notes about that in
17   their files?
19        Q.  Yes.
20        A.  Yes.                                             10:52
21        Q.  Okay.  And why did you reprimand Connie Forest?
22        A.  Because she was the director of special
23   education.  She has the most — she ran the whole show.
24   And for someone to come in to her and say what they just
25   witnessed and for her to turn them back around and say    10:52
1   go back, it’s, it’s, your own problem with Dina, you
2   have to go back and solve it yourself instead of sending
3   her to me and following the SOP was beyond me.
4        Q.  And that —
5        A.  And she refers that — to that herself, making   10:53
6   that mistake.
7        Q.  Okay.  And that only warranted a verbal
8   reprimand?
9        A.  Yes, at that time I gave her a verbal
10   reprimand.  She was retiring.                             10:53
11        Q.  Did she retire after the school year?
12        A.  I believe so.
13        Q.  And Carbonetti, why did you reprimand her?
14        A.  For not following the SOP.
15        Q.  What was she supposed to do?                     10:53
16        A.  She was supposed to come directly to me.
17        Q.  And Knapp, why did you reprimand her?
18        A.  For not following the SOP.
19        Q.  And what was she supposed to do?
20        A.  Come to me, with any knowledge.                  10:53
21        Q.  And Heidi Vincent, why was she reprimanded?
22        A.  The same, not following the SOP.
23        Q.  Well, who brought this matter to your
24   attention?
25        A.  Samantha Sheldon.                                10:53
1        Q.  Now, can you tell me what you would have done
2   differently if one of these people had brought the
3   matter to your attention on the day it occurred?
4            MS. LEED:  Calls for speculation.  It’s
5   improper hypothetical.                                    10:54
6            You can go ahead, though, if you understand the
7   question.
8            Oh, it lacks foundation.
9            Sorry.  Go ahead.
10            THE WITNESS:  I would have called CPS.  I would  10:54
11   not have done anything differently.  I would have called
12   CPS and followed their directive, whatever they told me
13   to do, and then I would have called my superior, and get
14   direction from, from someone who knows more than I do.
15   BY MR. ALFERT:                                            10:54
16        Q.  And that, you said that’s what you did in this
17   incident, you let Margaret Kruse make the decisions
18   about the incident, correct?
19        A.  She gave me direction.
20        Q.  When Dina Holder left Loma Vista, what happened  10:55
21   to her file that you kept?
22        A.  I have the original file that I received from
23   Brentwood Elementary School, and then I’m sure they
24   have — I don’t know what, you know, again once — it’s
25   Margaret’s move and Margaret’s decision.  I don’t know    10:55
1   what else came with her after the incident.  I don’t
2   know that.
3        Q.  No, I just want to know, you described to me
4   that you had a file on Dina Holder previously.
5        A.  Mm-hmm.                                          10:56
6        Q.  Right?
7        A.  Right.
8        Q.  And you had it from the time she first came to
9   work at your elementary school?
10        A.  I got it from the previous school.               10:56
11        Q.  Yes.
12        A.  Yes.
13        Q.  And you added to it during the time that she
14   worked at your school?
15        A.  Right.                                           10:56
16        Q.  You still have that file?
17        A.  I do.
18        Q.  Okay.  And so that file includes information
19   from her previous assignments within the district as
20   well as from your school, correct?                        10:56
21        A.  It has some things in it from the things that
22   she did at Brentwood Elementary, correct.
23        Q.  In connection with the litigation here today,
24   do you know whether that information has been produced,
25   all of it, the entire file?                               10:56
1        A.  Has been produced?
2        Q.  To us.
3        A.  To you?
4        Q.  Yes.
5            MS. LEED:  I’ll represent to you what has been   10:56
6   produced because she doesn’t, she doesn’t know, but I
7   can tell you what has been produced and you can see
8   whether or not it’s verified.  Do you want to —
10        Q.  Let’s do it this way:  Did you give that file    10:57
11   to the lawyers that represent the district?
12        A.  From, her accolades from back at Brentwood El?
13        Q.  Yes.
14        A.  No, I did not.
15        Q.  So that’s still in the file?                     10:57
16        A.  Yeah.
17        Q.  All right.  And what’s the name of that file?
18        A.  Dina Holder.
19        Q.  Okay.  Is it kind of a personnel file that’s
20   kept at the, at the school where a person teaches?        10:57
21            MR. BENGSTON:  Objection; vague and ambiguous.
22            MS. LEED:  Objection; calls for a legal
23   conclusion.
25        Q.  You can answer.                                  10:57
1        A.  I have my own files, like I previously stated,
2   on all my employees.
3        Q.  Okay.  And so you just call it the file of the
4   person?
5        A.  It’s my, it’s my own personnel files.            10:57
6        Q.  Okay.  Own personnel files.  All right.
7        A.  Not —
8        Q.  And —
9            MS. LEED:  I’m sorry, you interrupted the
10   witness.                                                  10:57
12        Q.  I’m sorry.
13        A.  Not what, you know, the district has their own
14   set of personnel files.
15        Q.  Right.  But your file includes information from  10:57
16   other sites before she came to your site?
17        A.  That, yes, it does.
18        Q.  Now, in addition to the material you have in
19   your file on Dina Holder, what information is kept in
20   the district’s file on Dina Holder?                       10:58
21            MS. LEED:  Lack of foundation as to personal
22   knowledge.  If the witness knows.
24        Q.  Of course.  If you don’t know you can tell me.
25            MS. LEED:  I’ll say calls for speculation.       10:58
1            I’m sorry.  Go ahead.
2            THE WITNESS:  I don’t know, I never even
3   checked my own personnel file there, but I do send over
4   all the observations and the end-of-the-year evaluation
5   sheets that I believe are put in their files there.       10:58
7        Q.  Okay.  So you think teacher evaluation sheets
8   go in a teacher’s district personnel file?
9        A.  That’s what I believe.
10        Q.  Okay.                                            10:58
11        A.  I’m not sure what else is in there.  So all
12   other observations and the end-of-the-year evaluations.
13        Q.  And things like child abuse reporting
14   requirements statements?
15        A.  I do not know that.                              10:59
16            MS. LEED:  Calls for speculation.
18        Q.  All right.  Now, prior to the incident with
19   J.P., did you personally have any concerns about Dina
20   Holder’s behavior with students?                          10:59
21            MS. LEED:  It’s vague and ambiguous.
22            THE WITNESS:  I had the concerns after
23   receiving the two different parent complaints.  I had
24   concerns that she was late at times to work.  That’s, I
25   think, my concerns.                                       11:00
2        Q.  Okay.  Somebody brought to your attention that
3   she was late to work before the J.P. incident?
4        A.  Yes.
5        Q.  Who did that?                                    11:00
6        A.  I believe it was one of her aides, but I’ve
7   also been out front, I’m, I’m very visible, so I’m out
8   front, and I’ve seen Dina come late, and have questioned
9   her about it and said, you know, please get better.
10        Q.  Ever discuss your concerns relating to Dina      11:00
11   Holder with Jean Anthony?
12        A.  No.
13        Q.  Ever discuss your concerns about Dina Holder
14   with Connie Forest?
15        A.  No.                                              11:01
16        Q.  Ever discuss your concerns about Dina Holder
17   with Margo Olson?
18        A.  No.
19        Q.  Ever discuss your concerns about Dina Holder
20   with Margaret Kruse prior to the J.P. incident?           11:01
21        A.  No.
22        Q.  Who was Dina Holder’s supervisor — or let me
23   ask it differently.
24            Did you have any authority over Dina Holder
25   when she taught at your school?                           11:01
1        A.  She was not under my evaluation observation
2   watch until, gosh, ’08, ’09, I believe, and then I
3   started to take over, I kind of took over personally
4   because I felt that there was a lack of, you know, who,
5   who she is really responding to as her superior, was it   11:02
6   district office staff or was it me, as the site
7   principal.  And so I took over that job.  I really
8   thought that, since she was on my site, that I should be
9   the one.
10            And then the district also chimed in behind me   11:02
11   and said yes, you will be the direct supervisor of this
12   program and the people teaching in it, because when they
13   first landed on my site, I was not, I was just a house
14   for them to operate out of, I wasn’t, it was not under
15   my jurisdiction in any way.                               11:02
16        Q.  Okay.  So in the ’08/’09 school year, the
17   program and the people in it came under your
18   supervision?
19        A.  That’s correct.
20            (Whereupon, Pages 65 to 116 were designated      11:03
21            confidential and bound separately.)

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Tom Feb 8, 2013 - 3:08 pm

This person should never be allowed on school grounds again! She clearly did not want to answer a majority of the questions. Time for the Board to do something starting with a pink slip!

Sharon Feb 8, 2013 - 5:13 pm

Gosh, I would think a principal would be a little more authoritative. She didn’t take much responsibility or initiative over this incident. More timid then I would expect for a principal. Interesting to read the testimony.

Barbara DuMont Feb 8, 2013 - 5:28 pm

I haven’t been following this very closely but after reading both of these depositions, I would not trust the BUSD with my children. Something seems to be very very wrong here. I see more CYA instead of concern for the kids.

rita rebello Feb 8, 2013 - 10:36 pm

After dealing with the BUSD at our Due Process Hearing I am not surprised one bit by this deposition. This district only knows how to lie, play dumb, evade the questions and place blame else where. This is a copy of our case for those interested. We were the prevailing party, fighting for full inclusion at the preschool level.


burkforoakley Feb 8, 2013 - 10:53 pm

Just wow is all I have to say!

Petition: Keep Lauri James to Loma Vista Elementary School | East County Today Jun 13, 2013 - 10:51 am

[…] the District was sued and proper training occurred after the law suit.  In the incident last year, she took very little responsibility during her deposition which  also resulted in the firing of then Superintendent Merrill Grant. Here is a timeline we […]

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