Posted by steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2012 at 8:46 am
Wow, did she use the same attorney and publicist as Mary Hayashi?
I guess the treatment of criminal offenses has changed, depending on who you are and who you know. It seems like pretty light treatment considering this person was supposed to be teaching our kids. Hopefully, she learned something in this process, along with the administrators that hired her in the first place.
Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2012 at 10:29 am
Teachers are held to a higher standard, I agree. BUT-teachers are people too who also have problems--very similar problems to many parents in our district who will be very hypocritical when judging her. I just hope she gets the help she needs. If she does over come this and learns from her experience, she may turn out to be a great role model--especially for our students who struggle with dependancy themselves.
There's a reason why we are considering using drug canines at the high school. Drugs are a problem in this community & it would be good to know there are people out there who can beat this problem and come out okay. I'm rooting for her!!
Posted by Over It, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2012 at 10:41 am
I'm done with all of the drug use--whether it's teachers or the students in my classes. I'm tired of seeing kids using & selling drugs in the parking lot every day! I think teachers AND students should all be drug tested. If you want to take advatage of the public school system (and work in it) you should be willing to do it drug free!
Parents will yell about teacher's being tested, but they WILL NEVER allow their students to be tested because they are scared to death they'll have to face the reality that their son or daughter is a drug user & someone will find out they are not the perfect parents they pretend to be! (But all this will be hidden behind "saving their 4th amendment rights"!) What about my right to go to a drug free school!!
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm
"The Pleasanton school board placed an unnamed teacher on an extended leave of absence in December, according to Bill Faraghan, the school district's Human Resources Director. That action, taken in a closed session of the board meeting, was believed to involve Deffner although Faraghan and board members were not allowed to discuss a personnel matter nor could they identify the individual."
Posted by Kristen, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm
I'm rooting for her too. She made a mistake, and is doing everything she can to make things better. She's extremely apologetic, and sorry for her actions. Hopefully, she can make good out of a bad situation.
Posted by Marcia, a resident of another community, on Jan 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm
To "Over It".....I feel your pain. Stick to your guns; you're on the right track in voicing truths that few want to accept. Who knows better than the students themselves? Fight for the right and need to "take your school back".... to the past when drugs were not (such) an issue. Demand sanity (and safety) to return!
Posted by taxpayer, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2012 at 8:12 pm
"over it" has it right -- if you want to be a student in the school that MY taxes pay for or a teacher whose salary MY taxes pay for, submit to drug tests. If you fail, you are fired/expelled permanently. I am done with my taxes paying for abusers and losers like this.
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jan 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm
As the former head librarian at Foothill High (2003-2011), I had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Deffner on several occasions. I never saw any indication that Mrs. Deffner's performance as a teacher was not up to standard, so Stephanie's addiction did not affect her teaching. Certainly none of my colleagues who worked with her ever gave any indication that Mrs. Deffner did not perform ably in the classroom.
Shame on all of you anonymous (emphasis on ANONYMOUS) posters who judge Stephanie Deffner so harshly. People do make mistakes, and Stephanie has definitely made one. I applaud the judge for having the common sense and compassion to give Stephanie a second chance to turn her life around. Do you know how many tens of thousands of dollars a year it costs to incarcerate someone in a state penitentiary? The anonymous commentators on the Pleasanton Weekly are always complaining about how the State of California wastes money. Well, incarcerating a nonviolent first-time drug addict to state prison IS a waste of funds.
I wish Stephanie all the best in her life and I am confident that she will seize this second chance the judge has given her. A struggle with any sort of addiction is a rough ride, but Stephanie can make it.
If you're going to call people names like "loser", maybe you ought to have the guts to attach your own name to it? Anonymity is apparently taken by some Pleasantonians as a license for unbridled nastiness, and kicking someone while he (or she) is down.
I would like to thank those who posted messages of compassion in this thread: Cholo, Concerned Parent, None of the Above, Joan, Kristen, Former student, and Meagan. I wish you had given your full names, of course, but it's nice to see that the majority of people who posted comments sympathize with Mrs. Deffner's plight and are willing to let her make the most of her second chance.
Posted by Kevin Heller, a resident of the Civic Square neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 6:59 am
I'm not condoning it, but there is good that can come out of this without making people suffer unnecessarily. Think of the kids in our schools who do have alcohol and drug problems. What is more real and more convincing: an adult preaching at them that these things are bad, bad, bad? Or someone who can tell their own story of their fall from grace and subsequent recovery? I'm not saying that this is what WILL happen, but it is something that could happen.
Posted by taxpayer, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 7:39 am
Get off your soapbox Daniel. I never asked that anyone be locked up. Merely fired, permanently. If a cop steals and uses drug evidence and gets caught, should the cop get a slap on the wrist and go back to carrying a gun? If a pilot is arrested for using drugs, should that pilot get a drug diversion class and be put back in the plane with you and your family riding in it?
Some jobs ARE held to a higher standard because a large part of the job requires judgment. Using illegal drugs in a parking lot shows just what kind of judgment that teacher has. She needs to be removed from the school system for life. Period. Her crime needs to remain on her record for the protection of any future employer. How would you like to hire someone without knowing that her use of drugs so completely overruled her judgment that she finally got caught?
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 7:44 am
I have to say that I'm a bit surprised by all of the posts that appear to be arguing for Ms. Deffner's redemption and return to the classroom. I think that it is far too early to be seriously considering the return of Ms Deffner to the classroom. As a teacher, Ms. Deffner was entrusted with great responsibility over the education and care of her students. She violated the trust that we all had in her by her conscious and deliberate act of engaging in illegal drug use. Would you so readily rehire a babysitter who was arrested for illegal drug use by saying she deserves a second chance? Do you think that an airline would readily reinstate a pilot who was arrested for illegal drug use by saying he deserves a second chance? I'm not saying that redemption is impossible for Ms. Deffner and others who have fallen from grace. But after betraying the public's trust in this manner, the road back to regaining trust is a very long one. And that's the way it should be.
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Siena neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 8:27 am
To "Over it"---I agree with you 100%.
Unfortunately, I can't say why I know certain things, but I can say that you parents out there would be SHOCKED if you knew the truth about your kids and drug use. I know---your son or daughter "would never use drugs". And I also know that, "If he/she was on drugs, I would know!". Well, I've got news for you--no you wouldn't. You have this notion in your mind that it's the other kid, but certainly not yours. I'm here to tell you that you are wrong. You NEED to use "tough love" on your kids, and you NEED to invade their personal space to make sure they are not using or selling drugs. You NEED to read their text messages, their emails, and look at their internet browser history. And yes, you NEED to buy an over-the-counter at-home drug testing kit, and you NEED to do random tests on your son or daughter every now and then.
I wish I could knock on every door and give parents the facts about drug use in the high schools. I KNOW that you have in image in your head of what a troubled teen is who uses drugs. You have this image of a kid with poor grades, he or she probably smokes, he or she probably gets in trouble with the police. But you need to know that this is simply not the case. It *is* the bright student with the good grades who is involved in after school sports who comes from a good home. But you still don't believe me, do you? You won't believe me until it's too late. I know---I have seen it happen hundreds of times.
Please, be nosy and be a pain----randomly drug test your kid, and read their text messages! You're paying the bill for it, right?
Posted by steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 8:44 am
Good posts, Sam and Taxpayer. There has to be some accountability for an intentional lapse in judgement such as this.
OK, so she gets off without jail time, for which she should be grateful, as it repesents an opportunity to turn her life around outside of the prison system. But, to send someone with a very serious weakness to avoid controlled substances, back into the same environment is more than just questionable, it's irresponsible.
While a librarian may not perceive the impact of constant use of a strong painkiller being smoked as a habit, I'm sure the addict's bosses are aware of the risk of continued employment of someone who would potentially do just about anything to support their habit.
Posted by other, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 8:44 am
LOL.... If I was a teacher in PUSD with all these entitled kids and had to deal with all their 'Not my child' parents, I might have to consider drugs, too.
In all serious though... I wish the best for Ms. Deffner and I hope that she can make a recovery. I tend to agree that she should not return to FHS as a teacher but maybe she can serve youth in another role as an addiction counselor/mentor.
It is an interesting paradox on these boards. In some columns...teachers are 'held to higher standards' and are 'important role models for our kids' which I agree with.
Bur on the next day, run an article about taxes or budget cuts and all you see are comments about how teachers are overpaid mooches who are milking our tax payer dollars and want top dollar to get paid a full time salary for 9 months of work.
Posted by No Excuses, a resident of the Castlewood Heights neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 9:10 am
Daniel, we remain anonymous because we don't want our child to suffer the consequences from other parents, students or teachers that happen to disagree with our opinion. Kids aren't the only ones pampered in this town either. Unions also protect their 'young' so don't play the entitlement card either posters. Maybe Ms. Deffner doesn't deserve jail time but I don't want her back in PUSD schools either. I hope she gets the help she needs and finds gainful employment again. I remember the DARE police officer saying in 5th grade that the first words out of most parent's mouth when their kid has been caught is, "Not my kid." Most of us just can't imagine our child would do it because we've worked so hard to raise them right. Be vigilant, be involved, listen to your kids, and most importantly, pray for them and their safety in this crazy world! Also be the parent, not their friend! It may not make you 'cool' but it may keep your kid clean and sober.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 10:41 am
My student had Mrs. Deffner for Economics, and during the semester she assigned an extremely lengthy Budget Project that taught my daughter so much about expenses, insurance, loans, interest, etc. She walked my child through every step of it, and helped her immensely. I am very grateful for all she taught my daughter while in the classroom. In the meantime, Mrs. Deffner's situation has opened up doors of communication between my child and myself about drug use and the dangers of addiction. We ran into Mrs. Deffner in Safeway, and she has a persevering and positive outlook on her situation. Now she is teaching my daughter how to pick yourself up when you are down, and that life will always bring you challenges, it's how you deal with them, that show what type of person you really are. Good Luck Mrs. Deffner and we were happy to see you smiling and healthy.
Posted by DR, a resident of another community, on Jan 19, 2012 at 10:51 am
As a doctor in the addiction field, it worries me to see that people view addiction as criminal. It is a disease. A disease that can be treated so that people can go on to live productive, meaningful, and happy lives. I am pleased to hear she sought out treatment immediately, and will be continuing her treatment as per the judge. Addiction does not discriminate- even for teachers.
Posted by college student, a resident of another community, on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:18 am
I had Ms. Deff last year in APHG and I scored a 5 out of 5 on the AP test with a lot of help from her. She also let me borrow her AP flashcards and Barons test book for the whole year because I couldn't afford them. People keep trying to knock her down, and put her down on this site, but I hope she doesn't listen to them, and keeps working on getting better. My dad suffers from alcoholism (which affects MANY families in Pleasanton), and I couldn't imagine people making the same mean comments about him, as have been said about Deff. She is a great teacher, and if shes not teaching at FHS, she would be a great drug counselor for kids because kids listen to her.
Posted by Kathy, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:46 am
Taxpayer, you seem to have an ignorant attitude that teachers and police are perfect people and don't make any mistakes. Who are you fooling? Everyone no matter what their occupation is can make a mistake.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:50 am
Depending on the substance, relapse from drug or alcohol abuse is between 70 to 90 percent.
I would think that free basing puts your odds closer to 90 percent chance that you will relapse into old habits.
Strongly disagree with the notion that because one recovers from drug addition or alcoholism that they would make a better substance abuse counselor. Whatever happened to strong mind, strong body that educators are suppose to espouse?
Educators are not actors hired to be props for the classroom. They have to be living, lead by example persons, not only on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday as well...... as the saying goes.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of San Ramon, on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:58 am
Thank you Daniel for your post. I too, have worked with Stephanie, and know first hand the passion she has for teaching. Her teaching was always up to standard, and whether this was a long or short term drug problem, we do not know. What I do know, is Stephanie put her whole heart into her job, she is an active member on staff, and has meaningful and professional connections with her students. She is most certainly missed by many on campus. We wish her well and hope she seizes the moment to pick herself back up.
Posted by Phil Mcpharson, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 12:12 pm
Bill, your stats are inaccurate. Although chance of relapse is high, the numbers are more like 50% can and will succeed if they are working a strong treatment program. There are many factors that play into relapse, such as intensive treatment, involvement in AA/NA, family support, having a sponsor, etc. As a former addict with 27 years of sobriety, I know personally that relapse does not have to be part of addiction. I have sponsored many individuals who have been successful. Unfortunately, there are some that do relapse, but the most important factor is HOW BAD THE PERSON WANTS SOBRIETY.
Posted by Pete , a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm
Being in the classroom should not be an alternative... for a very long time. To spend much time debating this issue within our school district offices, is a waste of taxpayer money. The PUSD owes her nothing. "for a very long time" is a compassionate statement with common sense attached.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of San Ramon, on Jan 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm
To Fingerpointing- to answer your questions, yes I have been in her classroom, many times in fact. I have also been part of her observations- and all were good. Over the past 3 years her AP scores averaged a 95% passing rate. Her World History scores in the years past are also very high. She must be doing something right. I would not rely solely on a teacher rate site, in which a student whom is angry about a test score can rate the teacher low 10 times in 1 minute if they want to. Mrs. Deffner's test scores are excellent, and she has certainly added to API scores at both FH and AV, which in turn helps with funding for our school system.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm
Phil - would you rather take flying lessons from a flight instructor that has crashed a plane 5 times and lived to teach again, or from a flight instructor that has never crashed an airplane.
I am sure the instructor with 5 crashes could empathise with someone that has been in a airplane crash, but if you want to live, I would suggest the instructor that knows how to fly and land safely 100% of the time.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Teacher said: " Over the past 3 years her AP scores averaged a 95% passing rate. Her World History scores in the years past are also very high."
I think that most of us here are willing to accept the fact that Ms. Deffner performed excellently in educating her students. What surprised me was seeing several posts which seemed to suggest that she should be allowed to return to teaching at Foothill soon. I disagree with that, and I think that that's a problem with adopting the "addiction is a disease" viewpoint. If addiction is a disease, then it would seem to follow that she should be allowed to return to the classroom immediately after treatment, just as a teacher might return to the classroom after recovering from the flu or a bad cold. But that doesn't seem to be right at all.
It is sad to lose someone who was apparently otherwise a very good teacher, but this isn't something that just happens to someone by chance. She made certain bad decisions. Redemption is possible, but it should be a long time before she is allowed back into the classroom.
Posted by another taxpayer, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm
To Daniel and all the others "rooting for Stephanie," how about rooting for a qualified, currently UNEMPLOYED teacher to replace her instead (and I'm neither a teacher, related to a teacher, nor a cheerleader for the CTA, either, btw).
Compassion is one thing. Rehiring or reinstating a known drug user who's susceptible to recidivism when there are probably HUNDREDS of qualified replacements out there who would enthusiastically jump at the chance to get hired by PUSD to teach at Foothill is another, and probably, wiser choice.
Why is it that people who've seriously erred are always propped up and put on a pedestal, while others who've tried to live clean, (i.e., drug-free, felony-free) lives are equally ignored/not acknowledged?
Yes, I forgive her, but I don't want a convicted drug addict teaching my kids, either (see Bill's post above--great analogy).
Maybe PUSD can re-hire her part-time as a drug prevention counselor. "Don't let what happened to me happen to you."
Posted by Fact Check, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm
Proposition 36...more commonly referred to as "Prop. 36"...is a criminal sentencing initiative that was passed by California voters on November 7, 2000. Prop. 36 requires that eligible non-violent drug offenders serve their time in a drug treatment program instead of in jail or prison.
Posted by Fact Check, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm
"Deferred entry of judgment"defined in Penal Code 1000 PC allows eligible defendants the opportunity to have their criminal proceedings suspended while they attempt to complete a drug treatment program.
Generally speaking, the defendant enters a guilty plea to the charge(s). If the judge determines that the defendant is a good candidate for drug diversion, he/she will suspend the criminal proceedings typically for a period of 18 months, although it may be as long as three years, while the defendant participates in a drug rehabilitation program
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 8:37 pm
Daniel: You no longer work for PUSD (as you indicated) [Portion removed] No one cares what you have to say ---no offense to Deff---she is wished only the best and at least she knew how to treat her students well. [Removed]
Posted by Fingerpointing, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jan 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm
I wish the Pleasanton Weekly had let the libelous statement by "Resident" stand (if you're going to use a pseudonym, could you at least use a more imaginative one?). I could use the money I'd get from the lawsuit! Oh well, better luck next time.
FYI, during my tenure as the Foothill High Library:
*Daily library usage increased from 283 students per day to 1,100 students per day
*Book circulation increased 40%
*The number of classes visiting the library for research increased from 36 my first to 184 in my last year (that's an average of 1 class per day, for those of you who are bad at math)
*I founded a Friends of the Library, which raises $4,000-$6,000 annually for book purchases
*I replaced all of the outdated computers with a modern lab
*I introduced the first wireless network on campus, providing a model for the entire campus to go wireless
*Fundraising through the Friends of the Library and the wonderful parents-teachers association (the AABC) increased our budget sixfold
*Kevin Johnson and I successfully lobbied our Board to expand and remodel the library, with a floorplan that I designed that can accommodate three classes simultaneously and which provides private study rooms for the students and a teaching lab in the center of the library
I didn't do any of these things alone. Nobody ever succeeds alone. I had help from wonderful administrators, teachers, and parents. I had three wonderful library assistants--Brenda Williams, Brenda DuCharme, and Julie Minor-Schimek--without whom much of that would not have been possible.
Sorry to get off track in this thread, but if there's any question about whether or not I "cared" about the kids at Foothill...I let my record speak for itself. I moved on to become a college professor when that rare opportunity presented itself, otherwise I'd have never left Foothill.
And if we're talking about "not caring what someone thinks"--I don't care what some person hiding behind an anonymous tag says or "thinks" about me.
Posted by None of the Above, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2012 at 8:40 am
Interesting that the comments this time from students and parents are all positive. I seem to recall a number of bad experiences that were told about Ms. Deffner in an earlier thread.
As things stand when she's done with the diversion program, she won't have a record and won't have to indicate on a job application that she'd ever been arrested.
FYI: the statistics are about 1 in 40 that a person will get clean and sober the first try at it. Relapse rates for some drug abusers (heroin and Oxy for example -- check out Rush Limbaugh's six? eight? rehabs for Oxy abuse) are higher.
I wish Ms. Deffner the best of luck and hope the judge keeps her on a tight leash for the first year, when her likelihood of relapsing is the greatest.
Posted by Foothill parent, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:04 am
As a parent of a student currently in her JOKE of an AP class, I am finally so disgusted by Foothill High School and its administration. Not only is Foothill a filthy, dirty facility, the drug and alcohol use is so widespread I have to wonder what the administration is doing. Guess now we know. I understand people have problems, however, there are certain jobs these people shouldn't be doing because of these issues. My kids have been in this district since kindergarten. They are all A students and I was extremely happy until FOOTHILL... Drugs, alcohol and freak dancing.
Posted by Another foothill parent, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:16 am
She may have been a good teacher at one point. However, drug use has changed that. Afterall, wonder what the district thinks about her Human Geography AP students playing mini-golf in class to raise their grades. And, we remain anonymous to protect our current children at the school. Duh.
Posted by another Foothill parent, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:16 am
As a parents of three successful college graduates, I'm wondering if all of you with seniors this year are planning on going to college with your kids so you can protect them from teachers YOU don't like or approve of???? GOOD LUCK!
Posted by Parent of Foothill Sr, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:53 am
In response to above, no..... Not going to college with my kid. Already done that. However, my kid is a CURRENT SR., and I shouldn't have to deal with this while he's still a minor. THAT [removed] me off. He'll be a legal adult in college. New ballgame.
Posted by Casey, a resident of the Foothill Knolls neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm
Ms deff is a great teacher. To the person who talked about mini golf she uses mini golf as a review game to help with tests and team building. She does a full review with her classes before unit tests- and it really helps us. It also helps her students come together as a team since there's so many cliques in high school.
Posted by Haley, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm
A joke of a class doesn't score 95% passing averages on ap college board tests. Numbers don't lie. Mrs deff also used basketball and magnetic darts during Review games. Her creativity made learning fun for us.