Dad and mom in Castro Valley are sharply criticizing faculty directors for delaying an investigation amid early indicators of improper habits by a highschool music trainer who was charged this week with sexually abusing a scholar.
Visible and performing arts trainer Keita Hasegawa, 31, was booked Thursday at Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled for arraignment Monday, in keeping with on-line jail information. He remained in custody Friday.
Months earlier, at a public board assembly April 26 of the Castro Valley Unified Faculty District, mum or dad John O’Hara instructed board members that his household acquired an electronic mail informing them that Hasegawa — who had been placed on depart in March instantly following allegations of attainable inappropriate teacher-student habits — was scheduled to return to the classroom.
“My spouse and I had been gravely involved,” O’Hara instructed the board. “Once we went on to legislation enforcement, we discovered that there’s nonetheless an lively investigation underway. Not one of the proof shared by college students to open the investigation was turned over by faculty administration. Orders to not cooperate with legislation enforcement got here from — within the phrases of the sergeant I spoke to — got here from increased up (within the district). Because of this, I’ve no confidence within the faculty district to appropriately deal with this matter.”
O’Hara didn’t disclose who despatched the e-mail, and Hasegawa didn’t return to courses. O’Hara declined to remark additional when contacted by this newspaper this week. District officers say they acted promptly once they discovered of Hasegawa’s alleged improprieties.
The Alameda County District Lawyer’s Workplace on Tuesday charged Hasegawa with seven felony counts, together with two counts of oral copulation of an individual beneath 16; two counts of sexual penetration by international object; two counts of lewd act upon a toddler; and a single rely of contacting a minor to commit a intercourse crime, in keeping with a felony grievance.
The charged offenses concerned a woman in one in every of Hasegawa’s courses and occurred from 2021 to 2023, in keeping with prosecutors. However Hasegawa didn’t come beneath official suspicion till March of this yr, when the highschool’s principal, Chris Fortenberry, reported to police that Hasegawa admitted to being on the woman’s dwelling whereas she was going via a psychological well being disaster, ostensibly to offer “ethical help,” in keeping with authorities.
Hasegawa allegedly communicated with the woman utilizing the chat app Discord, in keeping with authorities. Additionally in March, college students in Hasegawa’s classroom photographed his laptop display that allegedly confirmed he despatched such messages to the woman as, “I really like you babe,” and “Candy goals attractive,” in keeping with authorities. The scholars alerted faculty workers to the incident.
It remained unclear Friday whether or not Hasegawa had retained an lawyer.
On the April 26 faculty board assembly, one of many college students who took footage of Hasegawa’s laptop in March instructed the board she introduced the images to highschool administration and was instructed to be discreet and never unfold rumors. She didn’t specify to whom she introduced the images.
“I remained discreet for 4 weeks, hardly telling anybody something concerning the scenario,” the scholar mentioned. “On April 20, I used to be referred to as into one other assembly with administration and fellow college students the place they instructed us that Hasegawa can be returning to highschool the next week. On the time, it was actually unthinkable that this might occur.”
The coed mentioned the college a few week later introduced the music trainer wouldn’t return for the rest of the college yr.
That scholar’s mom instructed the board that their household beforehand contacted the Sheriff’s Workplace, which collected a press release from her daughter and photographic proof.
“They acknowledged that they had not acquired this proof previous to receiving it that evening,” the mom mentioned. “This was additionally later confirmed by one other consultant within the sheriff’s division. So it seems that in making their mandated report, the administration withheld essentially the most concrete proof that that they had in opposition to this trainer.”
Hasegawa taught band at Creekside Center Faculty earlier than transferring to Castro Valley Excessive Faculty in 2021.
Different college students who spoke on the April 26 board assembly alleged Hasegawa was unprofessional, displaying favoritism within the classroom and making demoralizing feedback.
“I’ve seen firsthand a number of situations of the place Mr. Hasegawa has crossed traces,” one scholar mentioned. “He’s violent within the classroom, generally throwing and slamming objects, yelling at college students and kicking college students out. He will get very personally upset with college students, generally calling them names and being what I see as extremely immature.”
The principal’s workplace this week directed inquiries to the college district. In a ready assertion Thursday, Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi argued that the district had dealt with the case correctly. She mentioned Hasegawa was positioned on depart when faculty officers first discovered of his attainable inappropriate habits with a minor and had not been allowed on campus since then.
“Moreover, we contacted native legislation enforcement so they may examine the scenario; we now have and can proceed to cooperate with legislation enforcement in order that information and the legislation might information a simply end result for this case,” Ahmadi mentioned. “As a result of this case entails personnel and labor legal guidelines, we’re not in a position to supply extra particulars apart from to reaffirm to our full faculty neighborhood, together with college students, workers and households, that we’re dedicated to make sure scholar security and well-being and can work in earnest to take allegations of inappropriate conduct critically on behalf of our college students.”
Ahmadi didn’t reply to questions asking to substantiate Hasegawa’s employment standing or whether or not the district will evaluate the way it dealt with stories of Hasegawa’s alleged inappropriate habits.
However one other scholar — who mentioned Hasegawa gave particular consideration to sure feminine college students, “shopping for them boba and meals and giving them rides in his personal automobile” — acknowledged the trainer’s alleged actions went unchecked.
“As a result of youngsters are naturally naive and trusting of adults, Keita Hasegawa was in a position to get away with these behaviors,” the scholar mentioned. The coed added: “Remember that this man is 31 and all of who he was (speaking) to had been minors. Remember that this man was our trainer that we appeared within the face each single day and handled with respect when within the background he consciously had these extraordinarily inappropriate relationships with college students.”
Employees author Nate Gartrell contributed to this report.