Editor’s Note: This is a public statement by SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon regarding the physical altercation between a teacher and student at Santa Monica High School on Friday, April 4.
I regret that my statements issued on Friday have been misconstrued by many people reacting through social media and the press.
As Superintendent, I have always placed a high priority on maintaining a learning environment that is safe for our staff and students.
The District did not rush to judgment in this case, but others certainly have based on only YouTube postings that show a small portion of what actually happened at the school.
Placing an employee on paid administrative leave following an incident is a standard procedure used by public schools and most other public employers. In no way was our action to place the teacher on paid leave a determination of wrongful conduct or a decision to suspend or discipline him.
The teacher involved is a respected coach and educator.
We owe him due process protections as we further investigate this incident.
The district has launched an independent investigation into the events last Friday at Santa Monica High School.
That thorough, objective analysis will be done prior to the end of Spring Break.
We urge everyone in our community to resist letting rumors and inflammatory statements shape their opinions.
Only when all of the evidence and witness statements have been reviewed we will have a true and accurate accounting of what actually happened.
We urge our community and those outside of the District to let the investigative process work and reserve judgment until all of the facts are in.
Until then, we will continue to work with local law enforcement while we respect the due process and privacy rights of everyone involved.