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Teacher resigns from Del Oro after sexual harassment investigation

Report will be filed with credentialing commission, superintendent says
By: Joyia Emard and Bridget Jones, Gold Country News Service
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A Del Oro High School teacher has resigned after a three-month investigation by the Placer Union High School District, according to Dave Horsey, superintendent of the district. Horsey said Del Oro English and drama teacher Dylan Holcomb gave his official resignation on Jan. 5. He said Holcomb is on paid administrative leave until his resignation goes into effect on June 3, 2011, at which time he will “get the entitlement benefits” of his contract. Horsey declined to give any details of Holcomb’s resignation and said, “It’s a personnel matter.” Horsey did say “allegations” were made against Holcomb and the district has completed its investigation, which has been ongoing since September 2010. Horsey said he was not allowed to divulge information on the nature of the allegations or whether they came from a student or parent. Horsey confirmed Monday to the Auburn Journal there was a sexual harassment investigation at Del Oro High that started in September. “We did have two claims of sexual harassment by prior students, and we did an investigation on that,” Horsey said. “We took action to appropriately resolve it.” Horsey said the investigation is not something that is required to be reported to the community. “Not to the community now, because we do consider it fully investigated and (we) came to a resolution we felt addressed the concerns.” Horsey could not comment on whether or not the students who made the sexual harassment complaints were Holcomb’s students. Horsey said he is required to file a report on Holcomb with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing within 30 days of the date the board took action. Anne Evans, Horsey’s administrative assistant, said the board took action on Friday. The district held a special board meeting Friday afternoon. The meeting involved a closed session conference with legal counsel and public employee discipline/dismissal/release. Horsey said he couldn’t comment on whether or not Holcomb was the teacher in question. The Auburn Journal has requested a copy of the resignation agreement of Employee No. 1130. The employee submitted a resignation that was acted on at Friday’s meeting. Del Oro Principal Dan Gayaldo said he could not comment on Holcomb’s resignation, other than to say that the resignation was official. Multiple attempts to reach Holcomb were unsuccessful as of press time. Gayaldo said Levi Oates, who served as a long-term substitute teacher during the fall semester, is teaching Holcomb’s classes for the spring semester. Oates taught classes while English teacher Morgan Zerwas was on maternity leave. Oates is currently teaching English 9, English 12 and Media Literacy. Horsey said Holcomb taught a variety of English and drama classes at Del Oro since August 2002. In 2007, Holcomb received a Crystal Apple award from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Crystal Apples are a nationally recognized award given to teachers who have made significant efforts in the classroom. According to Rosemarie Groth, a representative from the church, a group of about 120 Del Oro students who participated in Bible study at the church at the time selected Holcomb. In a 2007 Loomis News article on Holcomb’s receipt of the award, Holcomb said he attended Penryn School and graduated from Del Oro in 1994, where he performed with the marching and jazz bands. Prior to teaching at Del Oro, Holcomb said he worked for two years at Foothill High School in the Grant district. He was a band and jazz band member throughout his college years at Sacramento State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1999. In addition to teaching English at Del Oro, Holcomb wrote and directed at least three student plays for the school. He was also a member of the research and development team and the quality schools forum for the district. Lt. Mark Reed, spokesman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, said Monday there is currently no investigation regarding Holcomb. Horsey said because Holcomb resigned from the district, he wouldn’t be returning, and the district did not push him to resign. “This was his decision,” Horsey said. Reach Joyia Emard at joyiae@goldcountrymedia.com and Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com