Things got heated during last Tuesday evening’s Anderson Union High School District board meeting, as board trustees took offense to a statement made by district teacher Randy French.
During public comment time, French addressed board trustees, starting his statement with a brief recap that he asked Richard Urban, Ron Brown and Al Davis to step down because the perception in the community was that they had done something wrong at the September 18 board meeting.
“I got a phone call at home after that, from a board member suggesting they had saved my job,” stated French. “I had had that same visit, except in 2008, when I made a comment for not allowing a non-tenured teacher to become permanent because they didn’t coach basketball the way they were supposed to.”
According to French, the perception of all the staff in the district was that Jim Holcomb let go because of the way he coached.
“I made a comment to the new coach (Larry Newman) and the next day I got a visit from a board member saying he had saved my job,” French explained.
He continued by saying he felt this board member was saying I saved your job and I can do away with your job.
“With Jim Holcomb losing his job, with Scott Booth being (demoted) for no reason,” stated French. “Lance Gosch was pushed out... And if I loose my job, I have witnesses here that know I have said things that the board doesn’t like.”
French closed by saying the social gatherings at Becca’s Café and then Jack’s Donuts after the September meeting were damaging to the district.
“When that phone call happened, I was told yeah, it was a good thing they got together,” said French. “From before Jim Holcomb got fired to now, everyone has been afraid to speak out because of retaliation.”
After French finished his statement and sat back down, board trustee Urban stated he would like to make a comment.
“Randy, if you have any proof of any of this stuff, you ought to take it to the Grand Jury or something,” suggested Urban. “I’m tired of sitting here listening to you say those things. I can say some things too, just stand up and say them like you do. You don’t have any proof, why don’t you just be quiet.”
Urban continued stating French was hurting the district more than the three board members who meet, by making his accusations. He then said the Shasta County Grand Jury has applications to investigate and that he should’ve brought one for French, so he could fill it out if he felt they were doing something wring by meeting at Becca’s Café.
“I’m tired of hearing it! You’re doing more damage than anybody,” finished Urban.
French left shortly after public comment time was closed. In a follow up interview he said he had only planned on going to the board meeting to make a statement during public comment time, because he wanted to spend time with his family. He added he works a few nights a week teaching adult classes, so he values any extra time with his family.
During board trustee comment time, Davis talked about the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open meetings law.
“This is what the Brown Act states that three or more board members can be in attendance at a public forum or a social gathering and not be in violation of the Brown Act as long as they do not discuss board agenda items,” stated Davis.
Before Board President Joe Gibson spoke, Davis asked if he could address one more item and Gibson agreed.
“Randy referred to him receiving a phone call from a board member about his job and I just want to make this statement. If a board member did that, he was out of line,” stated Davis.
In a follow up interview with French, he said Brown called him the Sunday after the September 18 board meeting.
“He called twice,” said French. “I have caller ID on my phone through Dish Network, so I took pictures of my TV both times he called.”
According to French, the second phone call was made by Brown’s wife who said in a recorded message that Brown was just trying to remind him that he had saved French’s job once.
French said he felt threatened by both phone calls and per Urban’s suggestion will be filling out a form and submitting it to the Grand Jury.
French has also written a letter to the California Teacher’s Association and submitted it to the Redding office.
“My letter details what has happened to me,” French explained. He added he is not sure what action will come of his letter to the teacher’s association because the lawyers are currently reviewing it now.