Every day, kids in many schools are sacrificed to petty politics.
"I have loved Castle Park Elementary since I was six years old.  The school board sent it into
a tailspin.
To some extent, what happened at Castle Park Elementary was a fluke.  
But it would not have happened if the teachers and administrators involved
had possessed a belief in, and understanding of, the principles of American
justice, and a culture of open communication and respect for people who
are different from them.
Questions for the future:
If problems were actually fixed, school attorneys wouldn't have as
many billable hours, would they?
Is something more serious than a crime being covered up?

Such as incompetence?
If this is how they treat adults, how safe are the kids in the
classrooms controlled by these teachers?
J. H. screamed over and over  (in front
of children playing at recess)  as Maura
Larkins walked away, repeating:  

"I did not do anything inappropriate to
J. H. admitted UNDER OATH that she
confronted Maura Larkins on February
6, 2001 because she feared that she
might get in trouble for harassing
Maura Larkins.  

She admitted that this was the reason
she contacted Asst Superintendent
Richard Werlin.  
Maura Larkins' complaint was never
investigated, making it easier for Jo
Ellen Hamilton and Linda Watson to
pull off their hoax.

The complaint in this Jan 23, 2001
letter by Maura Larkins was NEVER
Rick Werlin or
Chula Vista Elementary School District.
This type of behavior is surprisingly common among administrators.  Maura Larkins did not belong to
a protected class, but many administrators do not bother to protect victims of racial or sexual
harassment, either.
February 10, 2001
Some lazy administrators prefer to let bullies, both adults and students,
run schools while those administrators look the other way.  If victims
complain, the administrators solve the problem simply by silencing
them, using smear tactics and intimidation, rather than fixing the
Two teachers, J. H.
and L. W., called Asst
Superintendent Rick
Werlin's home within
minutes of each other
on a Saturday night.  

Rick Werlin
that this
alarmed him
deeply because it
was so unusual for
a teacher to
contact him at
home.  This was a
false statement

Teacher J. H.
testified that
that she call him at
his home!
In her deposition, L. W. said she never feared for her life, nor called Asst
Superintendent Rick Werlin on February 10, 2001.

But she changed her story when Maura Larkins asked her if she would
mind if her telephone records were subpoenaed.  She said she had called
Mr. Werlin, but she couldn't remember when or why.
It's not too late to
CVESD's and
Saturday Night Phone Calls
Teacher J. H. told Richard Werlin that she feared for her life.  Or did she?  
She swore under oath that she didn't.  Richard Werlin swore that she did.
Who is lying?


Either way, it is clear that her allegations should never have caused Maura
Larkins to be removed from her classroom AND DISMISSED.  

Did Chula Vista Elementary School District apologize to Maura Larkins or
her students?  No.
What if L. W.'s claim
that she feared Maura
Larkins might kill her

The district never

The district did not
make sure to prevent

1)  a tragedy;
2) the descent of an
entire school into a
frenzy of hysteria.

To this day, the district
has never investigated
this case.

Maura Larkins was
dismissed for NOT
because she eventually
stopped returning to
work  after the district
demanded on three
separate occasions that
she leave without ever
documenting or
investigating the
allegations against her!

Maura Larkins
demanded an
investigation before she
would return to work a
fourth time.  The district
refused to investigate.

But the district did not
take action to dismiss
Maura Larkins until a
year later, AFTER Maura
Larkins sued the

Dismissing someone for
filing a lawsuit is a
violation of Labor Code

School attorneys
advised the district to
violate two separate
sections of the labor

SDCOE JPA lawyers
also advised the district
to obstruct justice and
commit perjury, each of
which is a felony.

A lawsuit for
subornation of perjury
has been filed.
The claims of these
teachers were never
investigated by the

They were simply acted
upon in an extreme and
irresponsible fashion by
lazy administrator Rick
Exhibit R-25
from Maura Larkins
Administrative Hearing
Text of note
at right:

"Maura and I were both in the
lounge doorway and I said,
"Gretchen told me that you
submitted a written complaint
about me."

"Maura said,
"Gretchen lied.  Would you like
to see the letter that I wrote?"

"I've already seen it."

"You saw the letter that I gave
to Gretchen?"
she asked.

"Yes, I saw the letter."

"Then she said, "You are part
of the problem."

[Side insert]  
I said,
"What is the problem?" and
"That's your perspective."

"You have done many
inappropriate things."      

"When I started to respond,
she turned and walked away."
Note to reader
from Maura Larkins:

Yes, this is a story
about small-minded
people and petty
Unfortunately, this
happens to be the
situation out of which
felony obstruction of
justice and other
violations of law arose
in San Diego County.  
Anyone who wants to
address the problem of
the felonies needs to
deal with the situation
from which they arose.
Why on earth would she think that?  
A guilty conscience?
The principal NEVER scheduled a
meeting with Maura Larkins about
this problem.  Instead, she picked
up the letter Maura Larkins placed
on her desk, and went straight to
J.H.'s classroom
during instruction
, to get instructions on how to
deal with the complaint!
Did lawyer Mark Bresee advise CVESD to keep lying so that the
Four days after the above incident,
according to Asst. Superintendent Richard Werlin, Jo Ellen Hamilton called
him at his home and said she feared for her life
because Maura Larkins
walked away from her.  

(At first Werlin also said that another teacher also called him that night,
but a month later he changed the story, saying that only Mrs. Hamilton

The following Monday, Mr. Werlin placed Maura Larkins on administrative
leave, but did not tell her that this incident was the reason.   

The district NEVER MADE ANY  written  record of the reasons Maura
Larkins was placed on leave on February 12, 2001 until November 21,

Barbara Abeyta, Terry Olson, and James Ahler at the Office of
Administrative Hearings found that the district was right to place Maura
Larkins on administrative leave because of the above-described  incident.  
Teacher union
president Gina Boyd
said to Maura
Larkins, when
Larkins was placed
on  administrative
leave on Feb 12,
2001, "He (Werlin)
has no choice."

Later Larkins
learned that
Boyd wanted the
truth hidden to
protect her close
friend Robin
Why did CVESD put Maura
Larkins on administrative
leave?  It was because the
district believed Robin
Donlan's false allegations that
Maura Larkins was violent and
had a gun.

Robin Donlan reported (as
fact) the
allegations that a
substance-abusing woman
had made to police  in an
effort to deprive Maura
Larkins of her inheritance
from her father.  (Yes, it
sounds like a soap opera.  
Truth is just as strange as
fiction.)  Donlan was guilty of
a crime for illegally obtaining
that allegation from police
files with the help of her
Michael Carlson.  

The district and CTA violated a
different subsection of the
same statute that Donlan
This problem doesn't just concern Castle Park Elementary.  The entire California education
establishment is involved.
I am happy to be out of Castle Park Elementary's sick culture.  
If you worked at
Castle Park Elementary, with people like these,  and these, once you got over the initial
shock, you wouldn't really be sad to be out of there!  But I want this school, which I loved since I was a
first-grade student there, to become a law-abiding and education-centered place again.
People who probably would not have been hired as teachers in the old days.
These candidates can take teacher education classes while they are on the job.
Many readers might not care about Maura Larkins personally, but they care about their kids.   Her
students were treated with shocking disregard by the principal and the school district.  They fared so
poorly that a very large number of them were urged to opt out of state-wide standardized testing at the
end of the 2000-2001 school year.  The following fall, the district tested them off the record.  What were
the results?
Castle Park Elementary School culture was dysfunctional
and lawless, and the last thing powerful teachers and their
allied administrators wanted was to allow it to be fixed.
Many people believe it is important that people who are successful in other fields should be allowed to go
into teaching without FIRST  going through a teaching program.
Every school that I know of has some excellent teachers, and some who need more education to help
them understand what their job is and how to do it.
Student test scores have gone down.
But is the drop in teacher ability even more precipitous?
Many women, who in the old days would have become dedicated teachers, today become doctors,
CPA's and CEO's.  Who has replaced them?
I suggest better evaluation of teachers, including non-subjective testing, and using master teachers to
guide beginning teachers until they have mastered their job.
Letter in San Diego
Union Tribune about
payments to Daniel
(6th letter 3/25/04)
A Few Bad Apples--
Or Normal Human Behavior?

Concluded Massachusetts therapist and author Lauren Slater: "We have
to judge the individuals who committed the horrible deeds, but we
judge them through the lens of saying, 'I would never have done that,' ...
because the Millgram experiments show that under orders, most of us will
do that."
The deposition of the Castle Park principal
was kept under wraps by Elizabeth Schulman,
the lawyer Maura Larkins had the bad fortune to hire.  It is, however, a
exhibit in a
current subornation of perjury case.  
*"Everything I said was totally appropriate...[and] totally
legal."  Enron founder Ken Lay, regarding the $66 million in
profits he made by selling stocks secretly as his company
collapsed.  He was convicted of fraud.
Apr 3 01  to Werlin
Apr 4 01  from Werlin
Teacher JoEllen Hamilton waited
outside the teacher work room at
Castle Park Elementary for Maura
Larkins on February 6, 2001.  When
Maura Larkins tried to leave the
Hamilton blocked her exit,
and verbally confronted
Maura Larkins about the
letter at the top of this page.
Richard Werlin, Asst.
Supt. Human Resources
Yes, some people
get a kick out of
Balloon saga parents
emotional during [hoax]
911 calls

Dispatchers were calm while
Heenes explained son, 6, was
‘in the air’

Sheriff calls balloon saga a

Oct. 18: Larimer County Sheriff
Jim Alderden tells reporters that
the ordeal was staged to
generate publicity for a reality TV
show and that the parents could
face multiple charges. NBC’s
Lee Cowan reports.

By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor
Oct . 21, 2009

The voices on the 911 tapes
sound distressed, and sincere.
First a man, then a woman, in
near hysteria telling a dispatcher
about their 6-year-old son, who
has taken flight on a homemade
helium balloon shaped like a
flying saucer.

The tapes, released by the
Larimer County (Colo.) Sheriff’s
Office, show that the boy’s
parents, Richard and Mayumi
Heene, repeatedly mentioned
the age of their son, Falcon, and
are heavily larded with emotional
and dramatic pauses and

If it sounds like an act, law
enforcement officials say that
should come as no surprise.
They believe the whole incident
was a staged publicity stunt...
How hard is it for a group of teachers to pull off a hoax?
In OAH testimony, principal Gretchen Donndelinger explained
the Jo Ellen Hamilton theory of perception and "perspective."  
(Donndelinger was very much under Hamilton's sway.)

Perhaps Hamilton has reasons for not trusting her own
perceptions, but it is worrisome that a school could be held in
thrall to someone who seems to believe that there is no
empirical reality.
February 6, 2001
Clearly, this letter > > >
does not mention any names,
but teacher J. H. stated in her
deposition that she was afraid
it might go into her personnel
Why did teacher Jo Ellen Hamilton
plan a hoax at Chula Vista Elementary
School District?  

She wanted Maura Larkins to be fired
for writing the letter below.  And she
got her wish.
A. S. Report
L.W. Report
J.H. Report
PTA Embezzlement
Embezzlement cover-up
Castle Park Elem. PTA
Principal Ollie Matos
Principal Carlos Ulloa
Castle Park Elementary
Jim Groth
Castle Park Five
M. S. Report
Nikki Perez
OAH hearing
Castle Park news coverage
San Diego Education
Report Blog
Why This Website

Stutz Artiano Shinoff
& Holtz v. Maura
Larkins defamation


School Districts
discussed on this site



Castle Park Elem

Law Enforcement



Stutz Artiano Shinoff
& Holtz

Silence is Golden

Schools and Violence

Office Admin Hearings

Larkins OAH Hearing
After months of severe harassment in 2001 by a clique of powerful teachers at her school, Maura Larkins refused to
return to work.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District
demanded that Maura Larkins come back to work, but
she refused to come back without an investigation of events at Castle Park Elementary.  The district dropped its
investigation in its very early stages, and never revealed what it had learned.  The district made the decision to protect
teachers who had friends in high places.  

Maura Larkins was fired
because she refused to return to work and because she filed grievances and a lawsuit against
the district.
 It is, of course, illegal to fire someone for filing a grievance or a lawsuit.  To this day the district has kept
secret many Bate-stamped documents it collected, and the courts have allowed the district to conceal this evidence.  
Perhaps someday the case will be reopened and the documents will be revealed.

In 2004, the district realized that it had made a big mistake.
Castle Park Elementary was spiraling out of control;
the teachers had become ungovernable.   

The staff chewed up and spit out one principal after another,
for a total of 11 principals in 11 years.  

The PTA became politicized and emboldened;
two PTA embezzlements totaling over $22,000

By refusing to investigate and take appropriate action when Maura Larkins brought
serious problems to the attention of the district, CVESD created a monster of sorts.   

Finally the district tried to fix the mess by
transferring five teachers out of
the school during the summer of 2004.

The school now operates under strict secrecy.
It's time to end the culture
of secrecy at
Castle Park
Elementary, CVESD and
SDCOE.  Nothing good can
come of it.  (UPDATE Jan
2007: Rick Werlin caused
similar problems in
Richmond, California, where
a teacher was handcuffed in
front of her second graders
and led away by police for
demanding that the school
put an end to bullying.  Rick
Werlin, I'm afraid, has no
appreciation for the perfect
irony of the situation.
Report from Castle Park Elementary teacher
JoEllen Hamilton
After Maura Larkins left Castle Park Elementary, the district realized that the teachers who had harassed Larkins
were still causing severe problems at the school.  The district finally took action, but it was too little, too late.
Maura Larkins note:  I believe that none of this would have happened if
there had been an
effective system in place for evaluating teachers.  
Good teachers will continue to leave, and good candidates will continue
to avoid the profession, as long as there is inadequate accountability
and inadequate compensation for effective teachers.
2013 San Diego County
Grand Jury addressed
bullying by adults in

The 2013 report talked about
adults who bully students, but there
is also a problem in schools of
teachers and administrators who
bully other adults.


The 2012-2013 San Diego County
Grand Jury recommends the San
Diego Unified School District Board,
no later than the beginning of the
2013-2014 school year:

Develop a policy to
address adult-to-student
bullying, harassment or
intimidation, whether
physical or emotional, by
school district employees or
The policy should be
added to the Administrative
Procedures and School Site Safety

13-71: Revise the adult-to-student
bullying, harassment or intimidation
employee appeal and review
procedures to
forbid Area
Superintendents or other
administrators from reviewing
their own original findings and

13-72: Provide all complainants
timely and continuing feedback as
to the status of their complaints.

In a different district the
superintendent of Chula Vista
Elementary School District
appointed Assistant Supt Richard
Werlin to
investigate himself.
CVESD sent a series of letters demanding that
Maura Larkins return to work

Larkins refused to come back to work due to harassment by supporters of the
Castle Park Family". The following year Larkins served a lawsuit on CVESD,
and was
illegally fired immediately after she served the district with the lawsuit.

This retaliation was a violation of labor code section 1102.5.  San Diego County Office of Education-JPA
defended illegal retaliation by a school district in the
Allyn case in Fallbrook
OF 2004 2698-2699.5
San Diego Education Report
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
News, information and ideas about our
education system
by Maura Larkins
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
News, information and ideas about our
education system
by Maura Larkins
CVESD isn't the only
employer that fires people
for complaining about

Megyn Kelly staffer fired after reporting ‘toxic
and demeaning’ work culture
By Emily Smith
Page Six
January 18, 2018

A top staffer on Megyn Kelly’s show has been
after claiming there is a “toxic and
demeaning” environment on set, rife
with bullying and “abusive treatment.”

Kevin Bleyer was fired as a writer from “Megyn Kelly Today”
this week after complaining that Kelly’s two top execs,
Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi, were bullying lower-level
members of staff.

He was fired even though Kelly has made fighting abuse
her personal crusade. Plus, in the wake of Matt Lauer’s
NBC ordered all staff to report
workplace bad behavior, supposedly
without fear or reprisal...
Chula Vista Elementary School District

January 23, 2001

Dr. Donndelinger:

One year ago I first tried to report to you a
problem with inappropriate behavior toward me on
the part of a staff member.  You dismissed the
matter as insignificant. I have endured in
silence.  During the past few weeks, the problem
has escalated into constant harassment.  Please set
up a meeting time to discuss the problem.


Maura Larkins
Castle Park Elementary was NOT
controlled by its principal.  It was
controlled by J. H. and other
powerful teachers.
(Exhibit R-25 is below)
Exhibit R-19
from Maura Larkins Administrative Hearing
Letter from Maura Larkins to her principal reporting
Teacher Jo Ellen Hamilton believed that this letter referred to
her, and so she embarked on a campaign of retaliation
Another interesting case

A long-term wooing most rude
Chula Vista pays $400K in sexual harassment case
By Dorian Hargrove
March 8, 2018

The City of Chula Vista has agreed to pay a former employee
$400,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim against a current

According to court documents, Mariana Garcia filed to dismiss the
case due to a settlement having been reached on February 16. Garcia
filed her lawsuit on March 2 of last year.

According to the complaint, Garcia began as an intern in the city's
Economic Development Department in September 2013. She was
hired on full-time in January of the following year.

Not long after starting at the city, Garcia met Alejandro Ruiz Velasco, a
conservation specialist. In November 2013, Velasco began asking
Garcia out to lunch. Garcia repeatedly refused the invitations. Velasco
allegedly began telling Garcia that he wanted to wake up next to her
and that she was beautiful.

In January 2015 the emails began. Velasco reportedly would ask her
about her personal life. He wanted to know the type of men she liked.
He later referenced how he craved a woman's genitalia.

The following year, Garcia told Velasco that she was not interested
and would never be interested in dating him. One month later
Velasco's supervisor Lynn France wanted to meet with Garcia. At the
meeting she told Garcia that other employees had accused her of
sexually harassing them.

Garcia then began compiling emails and other evidence of Velasco's
harassment. She went to the city's human resources department to file
a complaint and show them the emails.

The city responded by transferring her to another department
temporarily. Velasco was not disciplined. Garcia has since quit her job.

Garcia's attorney, Dan Gilleon, confirmed the settlement as well as the
See more

The city also confirmed that Velasco is still employed as a
conservation specialist for the city.