First let us stipulate that we believe in the premise that allegations alone don’t automatically translate to guilt. In criminal court, the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty, and in civil claims, a preponderance of the evidence must be established before someone is held liable for an illegal or damaging action.
That said, it’s already quite clear that Robertson High School has seen better times. The school’s reputation has been deeply soiled by alleged sexual assaults and allegations of sexual misconduct by the principal and a teacher. These cases won’t go away anytime soon, nor should they — both the criminal and civil charges are disturbingly serious and must be investigated as thoroughly as possible.
Now, we know enough students and faculty at Robertson to be confident that sexual misconduct is the exception, not the rule, but the allegations that have surfaced this school year give rise to questions about just how deep these problems run. The fact that the school’s principal since 2001 is alleged to have sexually harassed a job applicant certainly raises questions about how much misbehavior is tolerated at the school. It certainly makes the charge against science teacher Jay Quintana, who is accused of having sex with a student from 2001 to 2007, all the more believable.
Moreover, these allegations make the MITOTE about what else goes on at the school — the talk about students’ sexual initiations, other teachers’ misconduct, and more — all the more sobering. We want to believe that these alleged incidents are isolated, but it’s getting harder to convince ourselves of that. Instead, we must wonder if these charges are just the tip of the iceberg.
Superintendent Rick Romero has been baptized by fire this school year —with the alleged football camp assaults just weeks after he started, then with this unsavory allegation against Principal Richard Lopez and the horrendous charges against Quintana. Romero will have to act decisively to stem the rising tide of suspicion and innuendo in the wake of these latest charges.
And if he finds that the problems run deeper than these isolated charges, we hope he’ll do all in his power to clean up RHS, as quickly and thoroughly as he possibly can.