The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is defending its actions surrounding an alleged sexual relationship between a Pioneer Valley High School teacher and coach and a 16 year old female student.
A SMJUHSD Assistant Superintendent says the District and PVHS administration acted swiftly and immediately once the alleged relationship was revealed to them, including notifying the Santa Maria Police Department as required by law.
The arrest of veteran Pioneer Valley High School teacher and girls basketball coach Brian Hook on felony charges involving allegations of him having sex with a 16 year old female student remains a shock for the school and the district.
“Whenever you have an incident like this happen, your read about them all the time, across the nation, you just hope it never happens in your district”, says SMJUHSD Asst. Superintendent Tracy March who is in charge of human resources for the school district.
“We expect all of our staff, when they get hired and perform the duties that they are required to do, that simply, we expect that they know what to do and how to conduct themselves properly”, Marsh says, “we don't know what causes people's actions to shift from, whether you are a veteran teacher, what prompts things like this to take place, you would expect that a veteran teacher would be someone who would know to act appropriately, and again in this situation, its alleged accusations until the final piece comes through.”
Court documents obtained by Central Coast News reveal an alleged five-month-long sexual relationship between the 53 year old Hook and the 16 year old student identified only as Jane Doe #1.
According to the documents, Jane Doe 1 told her friend, identified as Jane Doe 2, that she was allegedly having sex with Hook on and off campus.
Jane Doe 2 then told her father about the alleged relationship who then notified PVHS administation.
Brian Hook is a social science teacher at PVHS and also coaches the girls varsity basketball team.
He is married with five children, his wife also works at Pioneer Valley High School.
“Its not just a teacher, its not just a custodian, its all staff members”, Marsh says of the District’s strictly enforced code of conduct, “for whatever reason why someone will take that knowledge of what could happen, and put that aside, and then potentially or allegedly pursue something like this, so that is a concern, but we had no indications that was taking place.”
The court documents reveal the student told Santa Maria Police detectives she initiated the sexual relationship with Hook, with Jane Doe 1 telling police their alleged sexual encounters took place on and off campus during the five month period, including at Hook’s home, at a local motel and inside Hook's classroom on the Pioneer Valley High School Campus.
“We do an awful lot to protect our kids from people getting inside of the campus, with the security that we have, the fences that we have and the points of entry that we have”, Marsh says, “in this case when its alleged something happened within our campus it is concerning.”
Marsh says PVHS students need to let their parents know if they have concerns about their safety on campus or in the classroom and convey those concerns to either the SMJUHSD Office or at the PVHS front office.
Marsh says social media and the digital age have changed the workplace for teachers, coaches and staff when it comes to acceptable and appropriate interaction with students.
“Don't text”, Marsh says he tells all District employees about engaging with students on social media, “Facebook, Twitter those types of things, has narrowed the line of what is appropriate and what is not.”
Brian Hook has pleaded no guilty to the charges against him and is being held in Santa Barbara County jail on $100,000 bail.
He is expected to return to Santa Maria Court on Thursday.