Current and former Yuba City High School students are accusing a physical education teacher and current county supervisor of sexual and physical assault. The allegations span 20 years.
Several students and family members addressed the Yuba City Unified School District board Tuesday night to call for the teacher’s firing. After a closed-session hearing, the board voted to begin termination proceedings against him.
The teacher was identified by multiple speakers during last night’s meeting as Jim Whiteaker, a long-time educator, coach, and current Sutter County supervisor.
Gabe Foster spoke before the board last night and accused Whiteaker of sexually assaulting his wife more than once when she was a high school student in 1998. Foster told the board that whatever discipline occurred at that time was not enough.
"If appropriate action would have been taken place in 1998, I would like to think that none of us would be here tonight,” Foster said. “Unfortunately that is not the case. Because we are here with more allegations against Mr. Whiteaker and it is tragic.”
A former student, Shaneiko Cummins, submitted a statement that was read to the board. It accused Whiteaker of injuring her during a physical education class in 2013, to the point that she needed surgery. The statement did not provide any details on her injury.
Cummins said she sought legal counsel at the time, but that none of the lawyers she contacted would take her case.
She said she tried to avoid Whiteaker, “He got away with hurting me before. I was terrified he would get away with doing it again.”
Rafa Jimenez-Perez recounted during the meeting a recent allegation by his 14-year-old niece that Whiteaker grabbed her buttocks earlier this year.
A total of four individuals made allegations against Whiteaker during Tuesday night’s meeting.
Whiteaker did not answer a call seeking comment.
The school board declined to name Whiteaker, but announced it was "recommending a statement of charges against a teacher" after last night’s public testimony.
According to the district, state law requires staff to serve the teacher with the list of charges.
A teacher has 30 days to request a hearing before a three-person panel. It consists of an administrative law judge and two people that meet specific legal requirements, including teaching experience in the same subject as the teacher.
If a hearing is requested, the panel will decide if the teacher should be dismissed.
The board is scheduled to announce an outcome February 13.
Whiteaker will be given an option to appeal if the board votes to terminate him.
Sutter County board of supervisors issued a statement that says it is aware of the school board's decision but had no comment.