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Community Digest

Bellflower : Probe of Schools Trustee Recommends No Censure

June 13, 1985

A investigation by the California School Board Assn. into alleged misconduct by schools trustee Peggy Turner has ended with the association recommending that Turner not be censured and that the district "find ways to heal" its problems.

A fact-finding team appointed by the association "was not recommending censuring anyone," said Maryanne Brooks, one of the two team members. "It's a lose-lose situation. It's not constructive and will not lead to a resolution."

The team did not find conclusive evidence or corroboration of the allegations, Brooks said Tuesday in a report to the Bellflower Unified School District board.

Turner "had good intentions" when she asked a secretary to open the locked office of pep squad adviser Cindy Aimerito April 11, and was seen reading the contents of a folder from a drawer that also contained confidential information on students.

Turner denied looking at confidential files. She said she had been on campus as a concerned parent and entered the office to read the pep squad constitution. Turner said students, including her two daughters, had asked her to get a copy of the constitution.

"We have all done things we are ashamed of," said Brooks, a member of the Santa Ana Unified School District board. "Everyone we have talked to" during two days of fact-finding "had good intentions."

Board members should try and remain objective in their dealings with the district in all matters, said Owens Griffith, one of the investigating team members and a member of the Torrance Unified School District board.

Board members had to recognize that were always seen as "board members first" even though they might be parents, Griffith said.

Some board members were not satisfied with the report. Board member Jay Gendreau said it is "a joke," and fellow trustee Larry Ward called it "horrible." Said Ward: "If you couldn't get to the bottom of this thing to find answers, why do it?"

Gendreau and Ward had asked to have Turner censured at a May 16 meeting, but the motion failed. The board then voted to have an investigation conducted by the association, which represents 96% of the state's school boards.

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