Local

They found he sexually harassed a student but let him keep teaching. Until now

Roseville teacher Doug Mason was placed on administrative leave by the Roseville Joint Union High School District.
Roseville teacher Doug Mason was placed on administrative leave by the Roseville Joint Union High School District.

A Roseville high school teacher who was found to have sexually harassed a student was placed on administrative leave Monday after facing new allegations of “inappropriate or unacceptable behavior,” the school district said.

Doug Mason, 56, a health teacher at Roseville and Oakmont high schools in the Roseville Joint Union High School District, has been banned from any district campus or any interaction with students or staff while his case is being investigated. The district updated Mason’s status in an email Monday to parents and guardians from Brad Basham, the district’s executive director for personnel services.

The Sacramento Bee reported last week that the district transferred Mason from Woodcreek High School to Roseville and Oakmont after a 14-year-old Woodcreek student complained that he often touched her inappropriately and flirted with her. The freshman said that he had massaged her shoulders, pulled an ankle-length skirt up to her knees, winked at her in class and asked her to call him over the summer.

Basham’s email said Mason was disciplined “to the extent allowed” by law and union contract guidelines for his conduct with the 14-year-old girl. He wouldn’t go into detail, and efforts to reach district officials for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

An earlier letter to parents from the district’s assistant superintendent, Steve Williams, said the district’s initial investigation determined that Mason didn’t sexually harass the student. But it found that his conduct violated professional standards and it warned him that “any other incident of similar behavior” could bring his firing, according to Williams’ letter.

After the student’s parents complained to the state Department of Education about Roseville Joint Union’s handling of the matter, the state told the district to investigate the case again. The state said Roseville Joint Union had overlooked or disregarded some of the student’s allegations and added that Mason – identified in state documents as only Teacher A – had a history of inappropriate actions with students.

“Given Teacher A’s extensive history with inappropriate behavior with school staff and students and long history of disciplinary actions as a result, the district failed to provide evidence that the self-imposed corrective action in this case will ensure the behavior will not occur again and that Student A and other students will not be subjected to sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior in the future,” the state agency wrote.

The district took a fresh look at the case and determined that Mason’s conduct with the 14-year-old rose to the level of sexual harassment. But instead of firing him, it transferred him from Woodcreek to the two other high schools to continue teaching.

The Bee’s story prompted outrage on social media, including the circulation of an online petition demanding Mason’s dismissal.

Now that new allegations have arisen in the wake of The Bee’s story, Mason has been placed on administrative leave.

“As a result of this heightened publicity, additional students and families are coming forward with similar allegations of inappropriate or unacceptable behavior by Mr. Mason,” Basham wrote.

Efforts to reach Mason for comment were unsuccessful.

Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments