Making A Difference At The Charter School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Imagine you arrive at your high-achieving child’s charter school in the morning and learn the school, without warning, closed. A sudden and unexpected closure happened this week to a local charter school in my area. Financial hardship is typically the reason for a charter school closure.

What leads to the financial hardship can take a few different paths. In my opinion, all paths lead to mishandling funds in one way or another. Bankruptcy can be the result of overpaying salaries, excessive expenditures, or both, as well as embezzlement.

The hardest failure to swallow is because of the type of financial hardship in the research I’m sharing this week.

BLOG POST #147: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving the founder and principal of a kindergarten – 12th-grade charter school.

Detour

He didn’t plan to become the leader of a charter school for high-achieving students. After receiving a political science degree, he had aspirations of law school.

While at MIT for his MBA he was featured in a Back to School news piece and learned authorities expect children who don’t read well by fourth grade will at some point end up in prison. Because he wanted to make a difference, he shifted his focus to education.

A Promising Future

He founded three charter schools in his career. And he embezzled from all three.

After the founder had moved on to fulfill other aspirations, one of the new principals noticed large sums of money missing from the budget.

You Can Run—But You Can’t Hide

As a result of the investigation, the former founder and principal was arrested and charged with theft.

The investigation found he had taken more than $1.3 million from the three schools he’d founded. He borrowed money in the name of the school without school board authorization. He also withdrew cash from ATMs and transferred money to a nonprofit he’d created.

WHY?

What did he do with the money? To name a few, there was non-work related—entertainment, dinners out and travel. Employee bonuses. Night clubs. Strip clubs. Two BMW vehicles.

Action Through Reaction

After his arrest, [State] lawmakers moved to toughen charter school financial rules that include preventing school leaders from also handling finances.

To avoid a trial, the former founder and principal pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Theft By Taking By Fiduciary, Theft By Deception, and First Degree Forgery.

Forever Changed

The judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison, with ten years served and ten years of probation. He was also ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution.

As part of the sentence, he cannot work with children, non-profit organizations, school districts nor have any direct or indirect contact with anyone associated with the schools he’d founded.

Worth Mentioning: The charter school with the biggest loss never recovered. As the school board discussed closing the school, an anonymous person pledged more than $1 million to save the school. But there was one condition—the entire school board had to resign. The school board did not resign, and the school closed. A sad ending for the 200-plus students affected.

Here’s a similar post you may have missed: Fleecing of America

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

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Cyber Crime At The Middle School

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

When I was in middle school, I was caught red-handed passing a note to a friend. On the note I’d written, I thought the teacher sounded like he had dentures because he kept whistling as he spoke. Not my finest moment.

The teacher read the note aloud and told me he, in fact, did not have dentures and I needed to pay attention.

I mention this because kids haven’t changed. However, their method of delivery has changed. Kids don’t pass notes. They text or SnapChat or use another preferred application. Kids today grew up using the internet.

BLOG POST #146: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a middle school student.

Easy To Access

The 14-year-old middle school student, in this case, had previously received a three-day suspension for inappropriately accessing the school’s computer system.

Then one day when his regular teacher was out he decided to play a trick on the absent teacher who he found irritating. As other students had also done, he logged into the teacher’s computer using the teacher’s password, his last name. He changed the computer background to two men kissing.

The substitute teacher reported the inappropriate background, and it was learned the graphic had been changed when the teacher was absent.

The student confessed to his crime of playing a prank on his teacher.

Baby Boomers meet Generation Z

Old-school ways handicapped law enforcement and the judicial system in this case because cyber crime laws created in the 1980s when technology took off had not been updated.

Because the computer system the boy logged into held encrypted [state] Comprehensive Assessment Tests the student was arrested and charged with a third degree felony, “Offenses Against a Computer System and Unauthorized Access.”

Hard Line

It was argued the boy didn’t know the standardized tests were accessible and he did not access them. The sheriff’s position centered on the boy could have accessed the tests.

The sheriff held firm and said the case should be a warning to other students. And if there were evidence other kids had logged into the system, they’d face the same consequences.

Was The School Partly To Blame?

As with all juvenile cases, the files are sealed, so we don’t know if there was any time served sentencing. However, it was reported the boy received a 10-day school suspension.

It seems to me the school staff was also behind the times that the password was the teacher’s last name. That’s almost as bad as making “password” your password. If multiple students were logging into the system, then I doubt the absent teacher was the only one with a super easy password.

What do you think about this case? Do you think it’s time to bring cyber crime laws into the twenty-first century? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what Mac MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join Robin’s Reader Club

Love Sick Teacher

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

It’s troubling when you see headline news stories like this: “Roseville instructional aide accused of having sex with student.” …detectives charged the 21-year-old with suspicion of three felony charges relating to unlawful sex with a minor under the age of 18….

That’s what aired last night on the local ABC network in Sacramento. I’ll watch for updates to see where this case goes. *Innocent until proven guilty*

This week the topic isn’t exactly a sex crime, more like a fatal attraction. I felt it was important to share yesterday’s news because it plays into the big picture of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Sadly, these types of crimes occur more frequently than my weekly blog posts.

BLOG POST #145: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a young high school math teacher.

Love Sick

It was autumn and her first semester as a teacher when she became uncontrollably infatuated with one of her 17-year-old students.

She began writing him love letters.

At first, the high school senior ignored her attempts to connect with him. When she didn’t stop, he gave the letters to a school counselor in hopes the unwanted attention would end.

When the letters didn’t stop and grew more intense with her proclaiming her love for the student, he contacted the state department of education. The DOE began an investigation.

Relentless Harassment

By spring, the school district had placed the first-year teacher on suspension. Even with the likelihood she’d lose her job, she didn’t stop pursuing the student. She opened email accounts and Facebook accounts in the student’s name.

The student went to the local authorities who issued a ‘No Contact Court Order’ to the suspended teacher.

Suicide Threat

Into the next school year when he was in college, the harassment continued to plague the young man. She created a blog and wrote about her love for the teen. When she wrote about ending her life, the authorities were able to elevate the danger level.

Her suicide plan was to take her life at an indoor shooting range.

Taken into custody, she was charged with felony stalking to which she pleaded guilty.

Mentally Unstable

The court sentenced her to three years in jail, and she was required to relinquish her teaching license. Because she had already served 98 days, the balance of her sentence was suspended with conditions.

She had to undergo mental health treatment and serve 546 days of monitored probation. And she was prohibited from contacting the victim or going near him. A violation of any of the terms would send her to jail to serve the duration of her sentence.

If she followed the terms of her probation, she would be able to apply to have her felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about children!

-Robin

 

Link to AmazonFind out what Mac MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join the School News Reader Club

A Wasted Teaching Career

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

 

There is no way to measure the level of wrongdoing to determine ‘the worst’ when comparing one school crime against another. They’re all deplorable and heartbreaking.

Sexual crimes, including child pornography, seem to be the most prevalent. When you read about the case referenced in this post, you may learn something new about how law enforcement agencies are catching people who use the internet to distribute and exchange child pornography.

BLOG POST #144: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a kindergarten teacher.

Big Brother Is Watching

At the time this case was investigated, the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force had the capability to remotely identified a computer being used to share child pornography files. And then they were able to download the files from the computer to support their request for a search warrant.

The ICAC did not know the offender was a kindergarten teacher until the search and subsequent arrest.

ICAC Task Force agents found the offender in possession of a computer containing 40 files of child pornography.

Once A Teacher

He voluntarily surrendered his teaching license.

The former teacher was arrested and remained in custody until his arraignment. Prior to sentencing, the court released him with the condition he resided at a halfway house under pretrial supervision pending trial.

The Attorney General said, “Child pornography is not just pictures or videos, it is horrific violence and assault that children are subject to in order to make those images and videos.”

In federal court, the former teacher pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography charges.

Do The Crime: Serve The Time

The court sentenced the former teacher to 78 months in prison and 15 years supervised release. And pay $1,000 restitution to three victims. Upon release, he’s required to register as a sex offender.

When released from federal prison, where there is no early parole, the former kindergarten teacher who once had a great career and lifetime of promise will be a 46-year-old sex offender.

Worth mentioning: The sentence could have been much longer had it not been for a loophole in the law in the state where the former teacher resided. The law at that time limited the prosecutors to charge defendants who possess images of children being exploited to one count of child exploitation irrespective of the number of images they possessed.

What do you think about this case? Did you know the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force had the ability to download files from your computer remotely? Join the conversation on the website. We mostly talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading and caring about kids!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what Mac MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join the School News Reader Club

Don’t Like Mondays

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

With every school shooting, you can expect long lasting heartache. And the tentacles of pain can be far reaching, beyond the families directly affected by the cruel act.

BLOG POST #143: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a 16-year-old female.

Not Your Typical California Day

On what appeared to be a typical California day in January, shots rang out as an elementary school principal was opening the gates to the school.

A 16-year-old girl used a 22 long rifle with little to no recoil, a Christmas gift from her father, to shoot toward the elementary school from her home across the street.

Infamous Intention

A few days before the shooting she had told another teen something big was going to happen on Monday, it would be on TV and radio.

Monday morning she told her father she didn’t feel well. He went to work and she stayed home.

The school principal attempted to rush children away from the gunshots when he was hit and killed. A school custodian ran to help the principal when he too was shot and killed. Eight children and a police officer sustained nonlife-threatening injuries.

A Standoff Ensued

A quick-thinking police officer risked his life to drive a trash truck in front of the teen’s home to block her field of fire.

She barricaded herself inside her home.

During the standoff, while on the phone with negotiators, she was asked why she had committed the shootings to which she indicated, “for the fun of it” and “I don’t like Mondays.” She also had said, she had no reason for it, and in regards to the children, “it was just like shooting ducks in a pond.”

After a seven-hour standoff, she laid her gun down and surrendered.

The Aftermath

Test results showed there were no drugs or alcohol found in her system the day of the shooting.

The court charged her as an adult. She pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Thirty-eight years ago she was sentenced to 25 years to life.

Life After 25 Years

She’s been before the parole board four times but remains incarcerated. As to why she committed the shooting, she now states, at the time, she no longer wanted to live and hoped for death by cop. She knew if she shot at a school the police would show up and shoot her. Her next parole hearing will be in 2019.

Were there warning signs? You decide. Her parents divorced when she was young, and custody was awarded to her father. Because of truancy, she had been transferred to a facility for troubled youths. The facility informed her parents she was suicidal. She had a prior arrest for using a bb gun to shoot out windows at the elementary school and for burglary. The month before the deadly shooting she was given a psychiatric evaluation. It was recommended she be admitted to a mental hospital for depression, but her father didn’t give permission.

Worth mentioning: Due to declining enrollment, the school was closed four years after the shooting. The teen’s father continues to reside in the house across the street from the school.

If you’re interested, here’s a documentary on the event.

I Don’t Like Mondays

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to Amazon

Find out what Mac MacKenna is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

MAC is FREE when you join the School News Reader Club