|By Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
KHSD is doubling down on its position that a severely mentally disabled girl wasn't harmed when she was possibly sexually assaulted in a bathroom at
Self-Insured Schools of
The girl and a similarly disabled teen boy were found in the bathroom naked from the waist down with the boy pressing up against the girl from behind.
There were a number of troubling aspects to how the attorney for SISC/KHSD,
Among them was his apparent refusal of a settlement offer for
There is some confusion now as to whether KHSD trustees were told about the settlement proposal.
Despite the fact that SISC hires and pays for the attorney,
That may not have been the case, however.
"I am deeply grieved that the taxpayers have lost millions of dollars that SISC chose not to settle for
I asked for clarification but Kretzmer declined further comment.
At Monday's meeting, Vegas also apologized to the father of the girl for, among other things, Herr having her followed and videotaped in 2013 to supposedly show that she wasn't emotionally damaged.
"I am sickened and angry, I about jumped out of my own skin yesterday when I read that in the paper and found out it was true," Vegas said.
Someone in KHSD obviously had to give SISC or Herr information about the girl's schedule for the investigators to follow her, Vegas said. If he knew who it was (and they didn't have tenure protection), he'd fire them, he said.
I asked Kretzmer who gave up that info, but, again, he declined to comment.
Though Vegas spoke about his personal disgust for how this case was handled, he was careful to put the mess at arm's length, saying SISC hires the attorney, not KHSD, and SISC is overseen by the
"You might want to address them," he told the girl's father.
Wow, way to buck up and take responsibility.
If KHSD really doesn't like how SISC handled this case, fire it. Lots of other insurance companies are out there.
Either way, the girl's father and his attorney,
While I'm somewhat heartened to know trustees are as appalled as I am about how this case was handled, I believe the public deserves more.
"These children are still not being protected," the father said. "They're still being discriminated against."
The larger issue here is whether KHSD is willing to invest the time, effort, training, communication and outreach it will need to make sure something like this never happens again and that disabled children are valued as much as regular kids.