A Roseville high school teacher repeatedly disciplined for harassing female students and colleagues has resigned and will receive an $80,000 payment on his way out, according to new documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee.
Douglas Mason, 57, will receive the lump-sum payment as part of his separation agreement, and he can no longer seek employment with the district.
Mason had been on leave since January while Roseville Joint Union High School District officials investigated harassment claims levied in fall 2017 while he taught health at Roseville High School, one of the campuses to which he transferred after being disciplined at Woodcreek High School the previous year, documents show.
The district began formal dismissal proceedings against Mason this spring and placed him on unpaid suspension May 9.
District officials confirmed Mason’s resignation in a statement from assistant superintendent Brad Basham dated Tuesday. The district board accepted the former coach’s resignation at its Aug. 30 meeting after charging him with allegations of “immoral conduct,” “unprofessional conduct,” “evident unfitness for service” and “persistent violation of or refusal to obey the school laws of the state,” according to a district list of charges against Mason.
Mason’s resignation and the charges against him were outlined in the new documents that were provided after The Bee legally pressed for more information under the California Public Records Act.
In June 2017, Mason was hit with a 15-day unpaid suspension for engaging in “40 incidents of egregious, inappropriate and unprofessional verbal and physical conduct towards students during the 2016-2017 school year.” He agreed to 11 directives that included not touching students or commenting on their personal lives.
That fall, Mason faced a multitude of new allegations at Roseville High School that the district deemed to be in violation of that agreement, documents show.
Mason formally denied the latest charges in a May request for a hearing. In court documents that sought to block release of the disciplinary records, Mason again denied wrongdoing.
“I emphatically state that I have not engaged in sexual assault or harassment,” Mason said in the documents. “I have never touched a student inappropriately.”
“Unprofessional conduct that does not respect appropriate boundaries between students and employees will not be tolerated in our schools,” Basham said in the memo.
For more than 20 years, documents obtained by The Bee show that district officials repeatedly warned and disciplined – but did not remove – Mason from his duties as teacher at district schools including Woodcreek, where he spent much of his career, as well as at Roseville and Oakmont high schools.
He was banned outright in 2010 from coaching girls’ athletics and documents showed that he left coaching altogether in 2013. But as late as 2016, Mason was disciplined yet again, receiving a letter of reprimand for not ending his involvement with Woodcreek’s wrestling team.
District officials tallied a long list of bad behavior: inappropriate touching, flirting behavior, sexually suggestive comments and “invasion of the personal space of your female students.”
Yet more accusations surfaced after a report by The Bee in January detailing the alleged 2017 harassment of a teenage Woodcreek student, according to the documents. Those dated as far back as 1995 when he was a driver’s education instructor and while coaching girls’ track, including pushing hair out of one girl’s face during one class and, during the 1995-96 school year, sitting between another girl’s legs during her stretching regimen, pressing a leg to her chest while he did so.
Mason went to court to fight the release of documents that laid bare years of inappropriate conduct and discipline received that followed on privacy grounds. But district officials in August complied with a public records request initially filed by The Bee earlier this year.