Education

Sutter County supervisor could lose his teaching job after inappropriate conduct allegation

A Yuba City High School teacher placed on leave earlier this month after being accused of inappropriate conduct now faces termination.

Jim Whiteaker, a physical education teacher at the high school, also represents District 4 on the Sutter County Board of Supervisors.

whiteaker
Jim Whiteaker Sutter County Board of Board of Supervisors

“The board gave direction to staff to bring a statement of charges for the termination of a certificated employee at the next regular board meeting on Feb. 13,” said Jonathon Brunson, assistant superintendent of human resources for the Yuba City Unified School District, in an email following a closed session of district board of trustees Tuesday night.

The school district, which has still not identified Whiteaker as the teacher, released a statement Jan. 22 saying that a Yuba City High School teacher had been placed on leave following an allegation of inappropriate conduct “when intervening in an interaction between two students on campus.” It said the district would investigate the matter and had referred it to other local law enforcement agencies.

The statement said laws governing employee privacy precluded the district from providing additional information or discussing the case in detail.

Whiteaker referred questions from The Sacramento Bee to his attorney Roberto Marquez in Marysville, who confirmed that Whiteaker is on administrative leave pending action by the school board that could potentially end in his termination from Yuba City Unified School District.

The school board held special meetings over two days last week that included a closed session item on employee discipline or termination and public comment. At least three people stepped up to the podium to accuse the teacher of inappropriate sexual behavior with students or to ask the board to terminate him.

The next school board meeting is scheduled Feb. 13, although an agenda is not yet available.

“His position is that he did nothing that would justify any kind of termination, Marquez said. “He would be looking forward to vindication when he gets to exercise his due process.”

Marquez would not expand on the allegations against Whiteaker, saying that they are so new that attorneys for the county supervisor haven’t seen the investigative report.

The case was forwarded to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office which, citing a potential conflict of interest, reported that it had sent investigative reports in the case to the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office for review.

A spokeswoman for the Yuba County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that the office would review the documents, but said any decision to file a complaint would still be up to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office.

According to Whiteaker’s profile on the Sutter County government website, he is a lifelong resident of Sutter County and a 1983 graduate of Yuba City High School. It states that he is a teacher and former varsity basketball coach at the high school.

Whiteaker was elected to the county Board of Supervisors in November 2002. Calls to the board’s spokesman went unanswered Wednesday.

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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