|San Diego Education Report
|Richard Werlin, with the approval of the cabinet (including Libia Gil and Lowell Billings), had triggered
an all-out hysteria at my school. Two staff members told me that many teachers were afraid that I was
"going to come to school and shoot everybody.”
The district took no action on its threats, however, until I filed a lawsuit on March 12, 2002. On May 7, 2002
Patrick Judd, Cheryl Cox, Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez and Larry Cunningham voted to dismiss me, thus
violating California Labor Code section 1102.5 which prohibits retaliation against employees for reporting
wrongdoing. This was also a violation of the constitutional right to petition for redress of grievances.
AN IMPENDING ELECTION CAUSED THE TEACHERS UNION TO ABANDON ITS OBLIGATIONS
I did not know it at the time, but the teachers union, Chula Vista Educators, was working with my
accusers. CVE President Gina Boyd had worked at my school until 1995, and although she did not share
the motivations of her friends at Castle Park Elementary, she had her own motivations. She was
running for reelection and felt she needed to keep powerful teachers happy in order to win. This effort was
supported by California Teachers Association Board of Directors member Jim Groth and executive
director Tim O'Neill.
The court reporter and all the rest of us sat at attention during the ten minutes the panel was in the little
room, but the judge's words were not included in the transcript because the reporter couldn't hear them.
The school district spent many tax dollars, and the California Teachers Association spent plenty of
teachers' dues, to get my lawsuit thrown out. Alteration of documents was required, as well as perjury
by employees and even the Sheriff of Santa Barbara, but the effort seemed to pay off for the district
and CTA when my lawsuit was dismissed in 2005.
DISTRICT LAWYERS BRING THE CASE BACK TO COURT IN 2007
As fate would have it, however, my case is back in court. Ray Artiano, the managing director of CVESD’s
law firm, Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz, decided to bring this case back to San Diego Superior Court in
2007 by filing a defamation suit against me for publishing this website. So it’s still possible that justice and
sanity will find their way back to Chula Vista Elementary School District. See blog updates about this
BIZARRE NEW ALLEGATIONS
A week after I returned, Linda Watson, one of the teachers who had called Richard Werlin on February
10, and a new accuser, Alan Smith, came forward with bizarre new allegations.
Allegations of guns
at CVESD were
by the district or
Mark Bresee. Mr.
Werlin never put
his March 27 story
on the record until
after Mrs. Larkins
Maura Larkins was
asked back without
investigation after each
Did the district
(1) know the
false? or (2) put
the lives of school
personnel in danger?
was told she
would not be
allowed to teach
in any classroom
year. This turned
out to be a trick.
August 13, 2001
District, through the
OAH judge, boldly
violated Labor Code
section 1102.5 in
Feb. 2003, openly
stating that Maura
Larkins was being
dismissed for filing
grievances and a
lawsuit. The real
reason the district
voted to dismiss in
May 2002 was to
cover up criminal
violations of Labor
May 7, 2002-Feb.
The work environment was too hostile for Mrs. Larkins to dare set foot in the district.
Werlin had total personal, arbitrary control over Mrs. Larkins, including the ability to make
absolutely any allegation about her and act on it, with NO OVERSIGHT by THE
Superintendent or protection from the teachers union.
March 27, 2001--May 7, 2002
|The commission's legal
each other. The
conclusion that Mrs.
“unforgiving” implies a
finding that there was
something to forgive,
yet the commission
found that there was no
and no violation of
Larkins filed suit in
order to get her job
back, not because she
|District lawyers turned
case law on its head by
comparing Mrs. Larkins
to the profoundly
“it was too cold and
nasty and foggy up
here” in Richmond, so
she had “gone south to
VIOLATED THE RULES
Did Richard Werlin discuss all decisions with Libby Gil and
Lowell Billings, as he claims, or did he simply do as he
pleased, without any oversight?
*Nikki Perez, who pretended that she didn't know Shelley
Rudd. She contradicted her sworn testimony when she was
deposed in the related Superior Court case.
Part 2: Regarding legality of OAH decision
Only one* of the teachers listed at
right (Nikki Perez) appeared at
Larkins' OAH hearing, and Ms. Perez
claimed ignorance. Why?
Most likely the district didn't want teachers to testify
because those teachers who had been deposed had
contradicted themselves and Richard Werlin.
But why didn't Maura Larkins' own attorney Elizabeth
Schulman have them testify? Shulman refused to point out
to the Professional Competence Commission that the
district's witnesses contradicted themselves and each other.
Instead, she and Mark Bresee agreed to have letters
written by these teachers accepted into evidence as if the
writers had been sworn in.
Legal Question #1:
Are these teachers therefore guilty of perjury?
Legal Question #2:
Did the lawyers violate the law?
Serious problems in school culture were causing children to fail
at Castle Park Elementary
Destructive politics in schools is one of the
contributing factors to the failure of schools.
My case was the result of an odd confluence
of circumstances, and at the same time it was
a typical event in the system that prevails at
many schools across the United States.
This system values politics and personal loyalty
among adults over the duty to educate and protect children.
Teacher culture is surprisingly similar to high school girl culture. Adults in the school
hierarchy value each other above taxpayers and students. Administrators, of course,
are usually former teachers, and masters of school politics.
The following sounds like a script for a cable comedy series, but this bizarre story is
the result of typical school district behavior intersecting with some unusual
Maura Larkins' Petition for Writ regarding OAH hearing
January 6-10, 2003
Maura Larkins OAH hearing and case summary
I had been at Chula Vista Elementary School District FOR 27 YEARS WHEN THE HYSTERIA BEGAN
It started with a family problem: I was co-administrator of my father's estate, and one of my brothers was
secretly unhappy about it. Also, his ex-wife wanted to be manager of my father's apartments. The two of
them decided to use the police to remove me from my position.
MY TROUBLED EX-SISTER-IN-LAW WAS TAKEN SERIOUSLY BY THE DISTRICT
I was removed from my classroom on February 12, 2001 due to a false police report (see "A False
Police Report" on this page) made by my mentally-ill and substance-abusing ex-sister-in-law. However,
the district didn't want to admit this, since using the illegally-obtained police report (no charges were filed
against me) was a misdemeanor.
THE DISTRICT DECIDED TO COVER-UP ITS MISTAKE
There is no chance that the district would have been charged with a crime for its silly little misdemeanor
(Labor Code section 432.7), but the district decided it would rather spend $100,000s
of tax dollars to pay its lawyers to cover up the mistake than to simply admit it made a mistake.
THE DISTRICT CAME UP WITH A STORY
The reason given by the district for my removal was that two teachers had called assistant superintendent
Richard Werlin at home on a Saturday evening and said they believed
I might kill them. Oddly, the district created NO DOCUMENT at this time to explain the reason I was
removed from my classroom, nor did it investigate the alarming report.
I WENT BACK TO WORK
I went back to teach in April 2001 because it seemed clear that my accusers had
been deemed unreliable (either crazy or dishonest or some combination of the two), and I assumed that
the fabricated excuse in Richard Werlin's document , was merely an effort by an embarrassed human
resources director to cover up his mistake.
But I was wrong. It was more than a cover-up; it was, in fact, a set-up.
CVESD DID NOT BOTHER TO INVESTIGATE THE MASS MURDER RUMOR THAT CAUSES HYSTERIA
Without making any effort to establish that a Columbine-type event was not in the offing, the district
demanded that I come back to work in September of 2001. This time I refused.
My lawyer demanded an investigation to clear my name and cool down the crucible that Castle Park
Elementary had become, but the district refused. It was clear that anyone could make any accusation
against me, and it would be believed and acted on: I was not safe at work.
SCHOOL ATTORNEY MARK BRESEE GETS HELP FROM DANIEL SHINOFF
Attorney Mark Bresee, who was then working with Parham & Rajcic and was recently chosen as chief
counsel for Terry Grier at SDUSD, had been giving legal advice to CVESD up to this point.
When I filed a tort claim on October 4, 2001, attorney Diane Crosier and claims adjuster Rodger Hartnett
of San Diego County Office of Education Joint Powers Authority, along with their favorite attorney, Daniel
Shinoff of Stutz, Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, became involved.
THE FAX THAT CAUSED CVESD TO DO AN ABRUPT ABOUT-FACE
On April 3, 2001 I sent a fax to the district. The next day I was abruptly asked to return to work, and
at the same time the district belatedly prepared a document to explain why I had been removed from
my classroom in the first place. The document contained a new, completely false accusation by Richard
Werlin and never mentioned the teacher reports.
THE DISTRICT CHANGED ITS STORY
Within a month, the district changed its story, saying that only one teacher, Jo Ellen Hamilton, had called
Richard Werlin about me.
by Maura Larkins
Larkins finally refused to go back until allegations against her were investigated and
retracted. No investigation was ever done by the district. The district and teachers union
tried to intimidate their victim into staying home and staying silent.
Feb. 12, 2001-Sept. 2001
THE OAH SEEMS TO HAVE A GIFT FOR COMEDY
My dismissal was upheld by the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Judge H. James Ahler conducted a hearing that was almost as comical as it was illegal. At one point
Judge Ahler jumped up and ordered the panelists to join him in a side room, where he told them to
disregard my testimony. I heard what he said because I was sitting on the witness stand a few feet from
him. The court reporter sat motionless while the panel was out of the courtroom.
"People mistake the calm, serene person for
one who is weak or confused, while the one
who blusters about looks like he's in charge
but may be fatally deluded. When people
are projecting, they have a strong wish not to
Sept. 19, 2011
Jim Groth's actions
in this case have
been supported by
CTA, including past
president of Chula
In 2012 Frank and his
wife Susan Luzzaro
are both working for
the San Diego
Reader, which has
discussing this case,
even when Maura
Larkins won a free
speech decision in
the California Court of
Appeal in August 2011.
It's unlikely that
Frank or Susan or
reporter will show
up at the Stutz v.
trial on September
7, 2012 in San Diego
|San Diego Education Report
When teachers refuse to testify
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the
things that matter."
--Martin Luther King
Only one teacher--Maura Larkins-- actually wanted to
be deposed, but the district failed to depose her.
CVESD didn't want to know the full story.
Why not? The full story included the fact that several teachers and administrators
were guilty of criminal conduct.
|News, information and ideas about our
by Maura Larkins