School board to rule on alleged abuse in '73

August 17, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

A Northeast High School gym teacher accused of having sex with a student will be told by the school board tonight whether he will be allowed to keep his job.

Brandt Charles Schanberger, 44, of Pasadena has been on administrative leave with pay since December, when allegations surfaced that he engaged in a sex act with a middle school student more than two decades ago. After a school board investigation, Superintendent Carol S. Parham recommended that he be fired.

Mr. Schanberger appealed that decision and requested a hearing before the school board.

In an unusual move, Mr. Schanberger's lawyers asked that the disciplinary hearing -- traditionally a closed proceeding at the employee's request -- be open to the public. However, school officials, following the state's open meetings law, did not notify the public of the hearing date.

Mr. Schanberger was transferred to Northeast High in 1978 from George Fox Middle School, where the incident allegedly occurred in 1973.

The allegation against him was included in a section of a report released last year that outlined how the school system mishandled child abuse complaints for decades. Mr. Schanberger was not named in the report, but his identity became known when he was removed from the Pasadena school in December after a meeting with Dr. Parham.

According to the report, a student told lawyers who were investigating child abuse complaints in the school system that a teacher forced her to engage in a sex act in a storage room in 1973.

The county state's attorney declined to prosecute Mr. Schanberger because of the time that has elapsed since the alleged incident and because it was a single event, said Alan I. Baron and Eleanor M. Carey, the lawyers who investigated the county school system and filed the report.

Also on the school board agenda tonight is a discussion of the proposed Advanced School Automation Project that would eventually provide all schools with a high-technology computer network.

The project is the result of a report last month from a 62-member task force that was created by Dr. Parham in December.

The group, made up of area business people, educators and experts in technology, released its recommendations that included a wide-area computer network as well as local network.

The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin this fall at Arundel High School and Arundel Middle School, said school spokeswoman Nancy Jane Adams.

A committee will be formed at each school to analyze the available computer equipment and decide what is needed to upgrade and improve it.

The school board is receiving $500,000 for the project from the county.

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