In light of limited insight from a circumspect district, legal
counsel for ousted athletic director Jack Daley is speaking up
alongside a hefty group of supporters touting the slogan
Bring Jack Back.
In light of limited insight from a guarded district, legal counsel for ousted athletic director Jack Daley is speaking up alongside a hefty group of supporters touting the slogan “Bring Jack Back.”
“We are obviously privy to the same information,” wrote Daley’s lawyer Joseph Cisneros in a statement to the Dispatch, “and we respectfully disagree with the contention that the information justifies the steps that have been taken.”
So do Daley’s advocates, who are planning a peaceful June 2 march around the GUSD offices during the closed session portion of the school board meeting at 7810 Arroyo Circle.
“We are going to remobilize on (Thursday) and make posters. We are going to fill the room again and have public comment,” said parent Margie Hemeon, adding she is looking at creating a task force to review, correct or create policy and procedure.
Reaction continues to ripple in the wake of the board’s decision last week to remove the athletic director of 20 years. The move came at the conclusion of a GUSD investigation stemming from an injury DUI accident involving former GHS track and field coach Alvin Harrison, an incident that cost Daley his athletic director position and will prevent him from coaching in the future.
GUSD Superintendent Debbie Flores said the district is looking to assign Daley in a social studies or government teacher position. She confirmed he is not allowed to have an official role as a coach but can volunteer to support athletic programs.
“He will be in a different role. He won’t be responsible in arranging trips of students,” Flores said, and if he does, the “principal will have oversight for trips like that if they occur.”
Since the accident, two other claims have been filed against GUSD with one on the behalf of Calvin Harrison, twin brother of Alvin Harrison.
The other claim has been filed on behalf of Eriberto Garcia, the injured driver of the other car.
Alvin was terminated April 7 after hitting another vehicle from behind on state Highway 73, causing it to overturn and sending two people to the hospital while wrecking a rental van on a school athletic field trip, according to the California Highway Patrol.
No GHS students were in the van during the time, but Calvin was injured as a passenger, according to authorities.
CHP Officer Devon Boatman said Alvin, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, reached speeds of 80 to 85 mph as he attempted to make a lane change from the center lane into the right lane at 8:59 p.m. Alvin’s blood alcohol content at the time of the accident measured .16, twice the legal limit, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Alvin, who has been in an Orange County jail since his arrest on DUI charges, is due back in court for a June 6 pretrial hearing. A jury trial is scheduled to begin July 11.
The fact Harrison did not have a valid driver’s license was not discovered until after the accident.
This circumstance is highlighted by Cisneros – a lawyer with the Biegel Law Firm in Monterey – who says he does not represent the interests of the Gilroy Teachers Association or GUSD union.
According to Cisneros, Alvin showed the GUSD Human Resources Department a California identification card – something that should have been “a big warning light.”
“A simple rudimentary background search, if it was actually conducted, would have revealed the fact that Mr. Harrison’s license to drive in California was suspended,” he wrote. “Clearly, it was not Mr. Daley’s duty to conduct that background investigation.”
GUSD’s investigation revealed Daley rented the vehicle for Harrison to use, but Daley told the Dispatch he had no knowledge of Harrison’s invalid license.
GUSD Superintendent Debbie Flores said the district rarely rents an outside vehicle. If it does, the transaction is handled by the GUSD transportation department.
The athletic trip involving Alvin, however, took place during spring break when the transportation department was closed, Flores said.
As they attempted to answer questions during a meeting held Tuesday at the Dispatch, Bress and Flores said pending litigation and the issue being personnel-related has placed a gridlock on what they can and cannot comment on.
“This is as frustrating for you as it is for us,” said Bress, who explained the district is adhering to specific legal advice.
They did discuss actions being taken to enhance student safety and improve district operations, which includes getting on a DMV notification system that informs the district if any changes occur related to a staffer’s driving privileges.
Flores added a series of input meetings have been lined up for “a very thorough look at athletic practices and policies,” including how GUSD can improve the process of hiring and training coaches, as well as parents who transport students to sporting events.
As for Daley, “you never say never, but at this point the decision’s been made,” said Bress.
She also pointed out Daley was not “isolated” as there were consequences to other people, but did not specify who.
On Tuesday, about 40 people including parents, colleagues and students met in an open public meeting at South Valley Community Church to brainstorm ways to continue gathering support for Daley.
Attendees at the meeting, hosted by Chuck Ogle, GHS physical education teacher and longtime coach, formulated strategies to keep the pressure on the school district in order have Daley reinstated as athletic director.
Ogle reiterated the idea of using positive action while remaining diligent and proactive, stressing the importance of getting the word out to as many people as possible and going so far as to suggesting people paint the impromptu slogan “Bring Jack Back” on car windows.
“I think that there has been a wrong, or an injustice or a bad decision made,” Hemeon said. “I cannot in my conscience sit back until I right the wrong. He is worth saving.”
WEAVER: Bring Jack Back has the right ring to it
The following is a statement sent to the Dispatch from Joseph Cisneros, a lawyer with The Biegel Law Firm in Monterey representing former Gilroy High School athletic director Jack Daley. The content of this statement was not edited.
Our law firm represents Mr. Daley in this matter. In light of the attention which has been cast on his removal from his position as athletic director, we felt it was important to provide a brief statement.
In the most recent article the board is quoted as stating it has information not available to the public. We are obviously privy to the same “information” and we respectfully disagree with the contention that the information justifies the steps that have been taken. The statement by GHS alumna Brandi Rodriguez that Mr. Daley has been turned into a “scapegoat” is the more accurate statement.
When Mr. Harrison was hired by GHS, the Gilroy Unified School District’s Human Resources Department conducted a background check on him. A simple rudimentary background search, if it was actually conducted, would have revealed the fact that Mr. Harrison’s license to drive in California was suspended. We understand that Mr. Harrison showed the Human Resources Department a California Identification Card. This should have been a big warning light that there was an issue with his driver’s license. Clearly, it was not Mr. Daley’s duty to conduct that background investigation.
Additionally, Mr. Daley was not charged with the responsibility for taking all of his coaches to the transportation department to ensure that every time a vehicle was released, it was released to a teacher or coach with a valid driver’s license.
Mr. Daley learned about what happened to Mr. Harrison while he was at home, with his family, on the weekend. He immediately took steps to address and deal with the situation, focusing on the safety and well being of the students. He personally drove down to Southern California and drove the students back home, after they were done with their track meet.
During the past 20 years, Mr. Daley has served the students of GHS to the best of his ability. He has never had a negative review or any incident that would call his judgment into question. He has been recognized in the past by GHS and the school district for his contributions. Mr. Daley would never do anything to put GHS student athletes in danger. Clearly, Mr. Harrison took some steps to deceive the administration about his suspended license. However, in this case, the facts and information are such that Mr. Daley is not the person or the party who should be blamed for the deception.
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