Posted by Channing, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm
I have a question. I know a teacher in another school district who, prior to being hired as a teacher, was in jail for buying and selling methamphetamines. I found this out by googling the teacher's name. I googled it because the teacher's behavior in the classroom seemed odd to me.
My question is, can a person in California be hired as a public school teacher if they are an ex-convict?
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Long ago though it was, I remember the school district I applied to wanting to know if I had ever been convicted of a felony offense. This makes my think that a felony conviction would be an impediment to employment by the district.
Posted by no more teacher raises, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm
Ah yes. But never forget that Pleasanton teachers all deserve their S & C raises no matter what. Another fine example of what we get for a median salary of $81,000 per year for a virtual part time job.
Posted by Sam, a resident of the Oak Hill neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm
"no more" said: "Ah yes. But never forget that Pleasanton teachers all deserve their S & C raises no matter what. Another fine example of what we get for a median salary of $81,000 per year for a virtual part time job."
A bit off-topic, no? Just goes to show that some people are a bit nutty even without drugs.
Posted by Some answers, a resident of the Apperson Ridge neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm
1. No, you cannot be hired as a teacher if you've been convicted (they fingerprint everybody who works for the district).
2. Lame comment about a student saying they knew someone who did drugs with her. That's high school gossip, yet some ignorant parent will believe it.
3. I'm betting several "outstanding" citizens in Pleasanton have been arrested, yet their name and story weren't plastered all over Pleasanton Weekly. It's so easy for people in this community to cast stones. In fact, I've heard several stories of parents in one particular community who swap partners (o.k., I'll say it - Ruby Hills). We all make stupid mistakes.
Posted by Foothill Mother, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm
Live by example; but, please not in this case. I am sorry for the teacher, but I am concerned for our community and school. With all of the recent articles about the drug problems in our schools, I was certainly in hopes it was not prevalent in the teaching community. I read the article in the Tri-Valley on Sunday about the problems of trying to report or make the school district aware of poor teachers. I am not quoting the article, just repeating what I remember from it, but I came away thinking it was a waste of time to try to report a problem teacher. It seems the complaint was often not responded to and that the teacher's union provided such a shield for the teachers that it was easy to cover up a teacher problem. Even the Journal stated that as journalist that could not provide full disclosure of the issues for the article and they refused to use the real name of the teacher and the pupil. From my personal experience, I have submitted emails twice to Foothill regarding a concern with a staff member. One email was to a Vice Principal and another was to the Director of Athletics. Neither email was reponded too. For all you concerned about the confidentialy of this women, please remember that some of us have children in that school and I believe full disclosure is necessary for the protection of the students. I hope we are all able to understand the law and that she has not been convicted, but what if she is guilty of wrong doing. What if the situation is even worse than what has been reported. I feel the school should make a statement to the population of the school about this incident. I do not feel a teacher should be able to hide behind tenure and the teacher's union just because the situation might be embaressing. We need to solve the problem of the protection a teacher has through tenure and the union. We need for our schools to be better and our teaching staff to be called to a better level of performance. Let's solve the tenure and union protection issues and some of theseother problems would go away naturally.
Posted by no to pusd, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 6:49 am
This is just one more example why my wife and I feel that yanking our child out of PUSD after elementary school and opting for private school was an extremely wise decision. Yes we are digging deeper into our savings to do so. But our child is worth it.
Posted by All the facts, a resident of the Happy Valley neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:37 am
Hey don't we need all the facts before we assume this teacher is bad? How do we know she wasn't holding your kids pills or something worse?
Let's not condemn her before we have all the facts. When we know for sure then we cheer on her being fired.
Also let's not be hypocrites. Remember before you call her out that you go home and drink that rum and coke or smoke that joint or pop that sleeping pill or whatever it is that you do to unwind and destress!
Posted by Chemist, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:46 am
"AP Human Geography" - the name says it all. Our "education" system no longer educates; the focus is on teaching a politically correct point of view. No wonder our voters can't figure out who to vote for in California.
Posted by Get a Clue, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:58 am
To "no to pusd" - Private school does not guarantee your child will not experience drugs, alcohol or having sex at an early age or experiencing teachers that make bad judgements as in this case. I know from experience. I was a kid who went to a private school! I did my share of drugs (using and selling), alcohol consumption, but did avoid the sex. And what about the parents that supplied alcohol because it was safer to have kids and their friends drink at home then go to parties. What about the kids that got kicked out of public schools so their parents put them in our private school. Get a clue - things happen everywhere. It doesn't matter if you are in a PRIVATE or public school. I had a very good and well respected family and finally decided for myself I couldn't disappoint them and straightened myself out. I have my own wonderful family now and used my experiences to my advantage to help keep my kids out of trouble. Thank god it worked!!!
Posted by Foothill Mom, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:09 am
Going back to the first comment by Mike, I too was curious why the Pleasanton Weekly pulled the story. I also wonder why I haven't seen this reported in the Valley Times. Does anyone know? I agree we need more facts before we judge this teacher.
Posted by Parent of student in her class, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:33 am
As the parent of a student currently in her class, now being taught by a month to month sub, I was made aware of her strange behavior and comments to students from the first day of school on. I know for a fact that FOOTHILL STAFF was aware of issues and did nothing. My children have been in PUSD from K-12 and all I can say is FOOTHILL HIGH SCHOOL is a joke. Thank you MR. DWYER.
Posted by disgusted parent, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 9:55 am
Hey PUSD administrators, get a clue!! Look what happens when you ignore transgressions-- they come back to bite, just like at Penn State!! I have friends whose kids have been cussed out by teachers at Amador-- this is appropriate too, I guess. Nothing ever happens, despite complaints to the adminstration.
Teachers like these are a liability to the district, not to mention sorry examples of role models for our students.
Posted by Don't Judge, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:30 am
Not knowing the teacher or all the circumstances, and focusing on the "presumed innocent until proven guilty", it would seem to me people wouldn't rush to judgement here; especially when the article stated: "Controlled substances include cocaine, heroin and PRESCRIPTION drugs such as CODEINE or hydrocodone, according to California state law." (emphasis mine). Maybe there's another side to this. Let it play out in judicial court rather than the court of public opinion....your lives might not survive that either.
Posted by no to pusd, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:46 am
Dear Get a Clue,
I am well-aware drug use by teachers can happen anywhere...including private school.
However, at least the private school admin. can FIRE the offending teachers...vs. the public schools having to retain them because of the socialist UNIONS and their contracts protecting and rewarding bad teachers.
My strong sense is that probability of drug use in private schools is lower than in public schools, tho I don't have empirical evidence. I don't need it because I am happy with our current school choice.
Posted by Parent of student currently in her class, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 10:58 am
One is presumed innocent IN A COURT OF LAW. When not on a jury we are allowed to use our common sense and experiences to make a judgement about those teaching our students. FOOTHILL STAFF closes its eyes to what goes on because I could write a book about what goes on there.
Posted by Student of hers, a resident of the Laguna Vista neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 11:44 am
She was a horrible teacher that I don't remember a thing that I learned in here class. Also she was constantly be inpatient with a student that she knew was suffering from PTSD after a life threatening surgery and this student on many occasions walked out of class because she always seemed to be in a bad mood. I personally was a Ffraid to go into the class because of not knowing which teacher that I would get, I guess this explains it, whether I got the cool teacher or the crazy one that got mad at everything. I personally think that PUSD is better off without her.
Posted by student, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm
I believe a lot of postings on here are making incorrect assumptions about this teacher. I will be the first to say that her "extracurricular activities" were evident to many of her students (coming to class with hangovers and smelling like cigarettes), but i don't think any students thought it was to this extent. Her teaching skills are obviously lacking in her Economics classes, where she spends more time complaining on students misbehavior rather than teaching. In her AP Human Geography class, she seems to be able to get the job done as 90% of the kids pass the AP test. Overall, this shouldn't be a reflection on our public school system. In my experience, private school kids who transfer to public schools later on can not handle the transition, leading to drug abuse and misbehavior in classes. Please don't over react to this situation, it's an isolated incidence
Posted by Da Narc, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm
You posted: "I know a friend who's brothers cousins aunt said that her dog owner did drugs with this teacher."
Since your brother's cousins are also your cousins, and your mother is your cousin's aunt, it sounds as though you are saying that your mother's dog (which might also be your dog) did drugs with this teacher. That's interesting, but it also begas a question, which is:
Posted by Mike, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm
The presumption of innocence is an important legal right that places the burden of proof on the state, and it's best socially to reserve judgment until all the facts are in. Indeed, with the recent story about the private dick and the San Ramon police officer working together to ruin innocent people's lives serves as a timely reminder that all is not necessarily what it seems when an arrest is made.
That being said, some arrests are less surprising than others.
Posted by Member, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm
I think this teacher was at Amador a few years ago. I didn't know she had gone to Foothill.
It is interesting that at the bottom of the web page where I am writing this comment, the Pleasanton Weekly web site has a spot where an ad from a third party appears, and the ad right now says: "Charged w/ Drug Offense?" and gives a phone number for "Top Drug Defense Attorneys."
Is that a coincidence that this story relates to a drug arrest and that ad is there? Or do the drug defense attorneys get their ad on web pages that involve drug offenses?
Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:37 pm
If you would like to know more about your child's teacher, look at www.ratemyteacher.com. Generally I have found the reviews to be accurate reflections of what my three have thought. Clearly this teacher from Foothill was not popular based on reviews - but there are many other teachers that students love and admire. Pleasanton is home to some great teachers, but like any large company, there are others that don't do the job the way the should. For those that chose private schools, I'm glad you have that option - but I will say honestly that my three children have had some tremendous teachers. I'm sorry that Foothill had what appears to be a bad apple, but I would like to say thanks to the many great teachers we have in this district!
Posted by Amador Mom, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm
My kids both had this teacher and liked her very much. I think it's terrible what has happened and even more terrible the judgement taking place on this forum. Luckily for the students in her class, there's now a long term sub who seems to be really connecting with the kids-He has very quickly assimilated and is very well liked. Hopefully they'll make up the time lost and get to keep this new teacher. Good luck to Ms. Deffner, I'm sure she's going to need all the help she can get.
Posted by Annoymous, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm
As a former student of this teacher I can adequately say that she was a poor teacher. Instead of teaching she preferred to play board games with the students, gossip, and leave class to smoke. Although 90% of her students passed the AP test, she herself would not be able to even though Human Geography is a well-known easy AP test (i took and passed the test). She came unprepared and unknowledgable to class as it was obvious that she did not know the subject matter. While it is a shame that her decisions had to come to this situation, hopefully this will lead to better accountability of poor teachers in our district.
By the way Scott, your comment "Their grammar and spelling is atrocious" is grammatically incorrect.
Posted by student, a resident of the Laguna Oaks neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 6:01 pm
Regarding to the AP class I think it is probable that the school gave her that class because they knew about her lack of teaching skills. At the same time, your comment is very accurate, but you still seem to be too harsh. Many times I would look forward to that class because her free spirit was refreshing compared to other teachers at this school
Posted by Brittany, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm
Both me and my sister had this teacher and really learned a lot in her class, in fact she was one of our favorite teachers. The kids that frustrated her were the disrespectful ones that were trouble in all their classes. Whoever said the AP test is easy is crazy. 90% of us passed because she taught us right. Most of her students really like her. This could happen to many of our friends who drink.
Posted by My Word, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm
To: "Some answers": Shame on you for damning an entire community with comments that have no evidence. Do you want to come forward with evidence? Go for it. Otherwise don't slander thousands of people. There are 800 homes you slandered - hundreds of nice families. It's wrong for you to do that.
And "no to pusd": We put 3 kids through Amador and they had a great experience. Now they are in good jobs, went to highly selective colleges. I am the product of private schools - a lot of money goes into that for sure but, knowing what I know, I think good parents will have a very, very good experience in either of our out high schools - and then you will still have the funds to send them to a selective college. Private school is just that - "private". And that is not always a good thing.
Out high schools are very good. Private schools have problems with teachers too...only no one wants to use a bullhorn to spread the news.
Posted by mike, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 2:10 am
I had Ms Barks for history back in 07 at Amador. Her teaching was effective, and she was very personal with her students. It is a shame that this event put her in the spotlight and will probably ruin her career. I don't know all the circumstances, but I do know that she is human, and we all make mistakes. She is not a bad person.
Posted by Ptown PJ, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 8:05 am
This woman wouldn't return emails and calls to discuss HER bad behavior in class. My child and a couple of others told of snottiness, eating, eye-rolling during presentations, and other crap. When I decided to meet her before school she got in my face - literally inches from my face - I turned her in. Very unbalanced. Very hyper. I'm less than surprised.
Posted by Random Thoughts, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm
Some random thoughts on this issue:
1) She will likely plea bargain this case. The DA will drop the possession charge, if she pleas to the 11550 charge. She will not see jail time but will be placed on probation and be forced to complete a court ordered drug program (just like Lindsey Lohan). Hopefully she will complete her sentence.
2) Due to the plea bargain and union agreements, she will not be fired from her job. She will be transferred to a different school, since she will be ineffective if she returned to Foothill.
3) Like every other job in this country, can anyone explain why teachers are not subject to random drug tests? Heck, even Home Depot does this to their employees, and Home Depot employees do not teach our kids. I hope one of you teacher union types, comments on this and explains why you feel this would be wrong (should be good for some laughs).
Posted by lazzboy, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm
"As the parent of a student currently in her class, now being taught by a month to month sub, I was made aware of her strange behavior and comments to students from the first day of school on."
To this parent and others who have said similar, I assume that you made a police report. In light of the Joe Paterno situation, he is being demonized because he did not go above the minimum reporting. If you are truly concerned about your student or the student in the class than you should stop at nothing (report to Pincipal, Superintendent, police, newspaper, TV, and any other means to get your message heard). At the minimum, get you student out of the class. Amx1q
And Norm (and whoever else believes this), tenure does not mean they can't be fired. It just means they can't be fired without cause. Drug conviction falls under cause as was earlier posted.
Posted by Susan, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm
How quickly this community judges and condemns. You have none of the facts and yet you have her convicted. Love how you have used this as another attack against the school system.
I am currently taking Vicodin for my back- that would put me in the same position since it fits the description of the drug offense. Interesting that so many assume and post such spiteful comments- it really makes Swankville look like a work of nonfiction. Amazing how so many of you feel so superior and take what you post as facts.
Posted by Random Thoughts, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 11:04 pm
I hate to break it to you, but being under the influence of a narcotic (11550 H&S) is rather obvious. It falls in the same arena as someone who is drunk in public (I am sure anyone can identify a person who is drunk in public). I am sure you have never taken Vicodin to the point where it has been obvious you are under the influence. Obviously Mrs. Deffner was under the influence to the point where it was obvious to the public and arresting officers.
Posted by FHS Grad, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Nov 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm
Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. My FHS education taught me more. You all should be ashamed. Is it the anonymous nature of this medium that has turned you all into the cyber bullies that you have become. Shame on you.
Posted by Former student, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 12, 2011 at 2:09 am
If you don't have the facts, why the he'll are you judging her? As a former student, mrs deffner was one of my favorite teachers, I speak for myself and most of my friends when I say she was a pretty great teacher. She was the only teacher whom understood what I was going through my senior year and pushed me to actually graduate high school. She is NOT a bad person, she is actually a pretty wonderful lady. Obviously she has made a big mistake but you all should not jump to any conclusions, you don't know anything. Your all a joke for judging her without knowing the facts? We all make mistakes, she has been a big help to a lot of us out here.
Posted by A former FHS student, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Nov 12, 2011 at 9:51 am
You're all like the "Pleasanton Housewives." Gossip, drama and believe everything you hear. How can you cast judgement when you don't have all the facts? She may have mad a bad mistake, but she really is a good person. She was a great teacher to me.
Posted by Think about the students, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Nov 14, 2011 at 10:17 am
I think at this point the best thing to do is focus on making sure her students are being given the proper tools to get through this very interesting situation. Her actions should not affect their learning and development and I believe they are the true victims in this situation. I have heard from students in her classes and from around the school that they have a found a very qualified substitute and Iím happy that they now have someone who WANTS to teach and make a good impression on their young minds in the classroom!
Posted by Tim, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Nov 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm
All you "concerned moms" need to join the real world. I'm posting here in between classes at UCD because I have nothing better to do. You people, on the other hand, should really find some way to occupy your time other than arguing behind the anonymity afforded to you by the internet. It's actually pretty immature. Take up video games or something...
That being said, I don't see why anyone is surprised by this. For the sake of civility, they will remain nameless, but I can think of numerous teachers at Foothill who seemed like they were total tweakers. Furthermore, I felt that the majority of teachers at Foothill were either unqualified or just didn't care about teaching (there were a few good ones). Why are we surprised? As long as the teacher doesn't screw up for the first two years, they get tenure (What do high schools teachers need tenure for anyways?!) in the cushiest job ever and they become untouchable. And you all want to give them raises?
I attended Foothill very recently and now attend a very good university, so all you "Anonymous" and "Concerned Parents" best not pretend that you understand the situation better than the people who actually have to endure these loony teachers.
Posted by John, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Nov 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm
It's amazing to me how many people think they know all the facts and believe everything they read. Unless you were there, you DON'T know the facts. What is obvious is, you need to worry about your own lives. OR do you have a life???? Probably not!!!!!
Posted by Old Man Shoe, a resident of another community, on Nov 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm
It takes real courage to lambaste and smear someone when writing anonymously. If you want to write something disparaging, at least have the decency to list your name. Also, it takes someone with a truly narrow mind to condemn the public school system for this mess. I am not sure why someone would point their finger solely at the public schools when the entire country is teeting toward total devastation - cultural, social, and financial. Our nation has become amoral, self-serving, and completely over-spent. This event (and its details) should not be a shock to anyone living in the United States (especially the Bay Area). If it is a shock, where have you been for the last 10 years and is there any space available where you are from?
Posted by Former Falcon, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 23, 2011 at 11:49 am
This disappoints me. I was also in Ms. Deffner's AP Human Geo class and I can say with confidence that although 90% of the class probably did pass the test, most of that number only did so because of self-studying. Students who generally take lots of APs take that class, so they don't find it difficult. I didn't either. While I didn't mind Mr. Deffner, she was a poor teacher and had exhibited unprofessional attitude towards certain members of my class. While I may not have seen this coming, I don't think this behavior is excusable, even if she did have prescription drugs in her car. If the police noticed something was wrong, something probably was.
Regarding the comments about the greater Pleasanton community, I think there are some incorrect statements being thrown from both sides. I'm very thankful for the resources that Pleasanton has been able to offer me - safe neighborhoods, relatively good public schools (I attended Pleasanton schools K-12 & now attend a top-tier university). But the attitudes of several Pleasantonians on this thread has left a sour taste in my mouth. Although teachers' unions might be facilitating the retention of bad teachers, I believe it's more important that we foster a culture where teachers are told that their profession is noble, and where learning and being studious are celebrated.
This is certainly not the case at FHS right now. Many of the students in my classes were not interested in learning and preferred to spend their high school years striving for "popularity" - often treading on other students in the process. Although I was never bullied, these students did express opinions to me (especially in middle school) that made me feel "unpopular" or "strange" because I enjoyed school... only to have this turn around at the end when these same people "congratulated" me for being accepted to Ivy League schools. Why not encourage learning and high achievement from the start? I've always felt that my public school education was enough for me, but at the school I'm currently studying at, many of my peers came from private schools, and they've mentioned that the culture at their school is focused on learning and knowledge as a passion, not something that's "uncool." So before we start pointing fingers at teacher quality, let's start there. We're blessed to have several good schools at Pleasanton, we should appreciate them and their mission.
And a quick point - while some of the teachers at Foothill are lackluster, I did get the privilege of being taught by some real gems. Shout out to Richey, Detamore, Lipman, and Dagen! They were spectacular, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for them.