An effort to censure two Delhi Unified School District Board of Trustees members for allegations that they leaked confidential information and sexually harassed district employees fell short of passing at the district’s special Board meeting on Tuesday.
Both censures failed to pass, with the Board reaching a 3-3 tie regarding the allegation against Trustee Jesus Rodriguez and a 4-2 majority voting against censuring Trustee Eric Castillo.
The vote was raised in light of allegations claiming that Castillo leaked confidential information and that Rodriguez engaged in actions characterized as sexual harassment.
The allegation that Castillo leaked information came to light after an encounter at a Turlock hair salon.
In March, a former Delhi teacher was getting a hair cut at a Turlock hair salon at the same time that Trustee Castillo’s wife was getting her hair colored. While at the salon together, Castillo’s wife overheard a conversation that the teacher had with a stylist regarding the possibility of buying a new home. Once the teacher in question left, Castillo’s wife approached the stylist and emphatically stated, “If it was me, I would just hold off!”
Castillo’s wife’s comment allegedly comes from information she received from Castillo, who had either intentionally shared or inadvertently communicated to his wife that the teacher was not going to be re-hired in the district. Castillo received this information prior to the incident in a letter stamped “Confidential” from Superintendent Brian Stephens.
Former President of the Delhi Teachers’ Association Liz Rojas filed a complaint on May 28 against Castillo, alleging that the trustee breached his duty of confidentiality in regards to employment information pertaining to a former teacher within the district.
“The teacher had told me the thing that hurt him the most about not being rehired was that he heard it from someone else two weeks prior,” said Rojas. “Without receiving official notice, others had already known. It really upset him as it should have upset him.”
This conduct violates Board Bylaw 9005, which states that all Board members must “keep confidential matters confidential.” This incident demonstrates why the Board maintains a strict code of confidentiality, as it causes distress for the individuals involved.
Rojas also filed a complaint against Trustee Rodriguez, alleging that Rodriguez had engaged in a number of inappropriate behaviors, including making several allegations that teachers and administrators were having affairs with one another, which Rojas violates District policies that prohibit sexual harassment.
“I filed a complaint because of people telling me that they were being harassed or intimidated,” said Rojas. “This was really unbecoming of a Board member.”
Beginning in May of last year, Rodriguez called Superintendent Stephens and demanded to know why he recommended that a teacher, referred to in the resolution as Teacher E, be placed in a management position. When the superintendent asked why he was opposed, Rodriguez responded, “Because she is having an affair with you!”
Rodriguez admitted to making this statement, as well as relaying the rumor to two other board members.
Rodriguez’s allegations continued into the year as he called the superintendent again to tell him that an administrator and a teacher, referred to in the resolution as Teacher A, were “sleeping together.” Rodriguez also informed Delhi High School Principal Anthony Arista of the alleged affair between the administration member and Teacher A, as well as another trustee and administrator.
Rodriguez further communicated with Superintendent Stephens about Teacher A in an email sent out in October. In the email Rodriguez included the line, “Furthermore, she has had sexual relationships with different individuals including Administrator 1, Mr. B, Mr. C, Mr. D, etc. etc. and yet you continue to claim she’s a wonderful teacher.”
In December of the same year, the trustee called Arista a second time to ask why he was covering up for Teacher A, since she “was spreading her legs for everyone at their campus,” according to Rodriguez.
Sufficient evidence was used to conclude that Rodriguez engaged in communicating to other district members about alleged sexual affairs, which violates Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 4119.11, which prohibits the sexual harassment of employees. This includes the “spreading of sexual rumors” and “sexually degrading descriptions” of employees that facilitate an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Evidence was also found to support that Rodriguez threatened Arista’s job security in December when he called the principal and said words to the effect of “Brian is looking for a new job. What are you going to do when he is no longer there to protect you?”
That same month, Rodriguez called Arista again to spread a false rumor that El Capitan School Principal Heather Contreras had told individuals that Arista had left the El Capitan School in debt when he became the high school principal.
In April, Rodriguez also unveiled information to a former trustee and his spouse about Contreras’s resignation from her position at the end of the school year. Rodriguez had received this information from a confidential briefing with Superintendent Stephens. The information had not yet been made public at the time.
Within the same month, Superintendent Stephens announced his intent to resign from the district in order to become the Superintendent of Tracy Unified School District. Upon learning this information, Rodriguez called Superintendent Stephens and threatened to tell Tracy Unified Board members about the alleged affair between Superintendent Stephens and Teacher E.
Since then, Stephens has accepted his new position as superintendent at Tracy Unified School District.
Rodriguez’s comments with other district members disobey protocol, including making disrespectful comments, threatening employees’ job security, and spreading false rumors. Rodriguez was also found to have violated Board Bylaw 9005 by revealing confidential information to other individuals.
Evidence further revealed that Rodriguez contacted a classified employee in March in order to obtain benchmark assessment results relating to students, without first getting permission from the Superintendent’s office. Rodriguez’s actions violate the protocol that all requests for information must first go through the superintendent or designee.
In May, Rodgriguez called Vice Principal Rob Pecot and asked him to “encourage people not to attend” the May 13th Board meeting to not “focus on the negative.” This violates the principle that all Board members “want to ensure that all and multiple voices of the community are heard.”
“From the resolution you can find that there is a preponderance of evidence that these things did occur, whether they are denied or not,” concluded Rojas.
Both Rodriguez and Castillo are up for reelection in November, as well as two other Board members.